There was the fundamental belief that Africans were inferior to their white counterparts. Many saw the slave population as a labor force that ‘had it made’ as it were. The institution had also become so ingrained into the southern way of life that most had come to think of their human property as part of the family. The southern cotton empire was not limited to the south. Cotton was farmed and harvested by the plantation slaves. It was bundled and load onto trains and ships by slaves and white laborer’s alike. Then it was sent north, west or east to Europe.
Demand was so great that even farmers with small land plots and a handful of slaves could turn a profit with cotton or the second most profitable crop, tobacco. Once the raw cotton left the southern states, it often made its way to textile mills up north. A large percentage of people at this time were either employed by the mills or a business related to it such as a mode of shipping or retail. They also realized that these jobs would not exist without a steady supply of raw cotton picked by forced labor. Talk of anything that would endanger employment would have been frowned upon.
Slavery also allowed “perfect equality among white, liberating them from the ‘low menial’ jobs like factory labor and domestic service performed by wage workers in the north” (p. 345).
Thesis: Slaves managed to be the main beneficiaries of a movement so entirely unintended for them because, in a series of coincidences brought about by certain effects of Northern progress and improvement, the promotion of their interests became profitable to to the concerns of other classes. Counter-argument: some might argue that slaves could not have been the primary beneficiaries of the ...
With these jobs perpetually filled, southerners arguedwere free to pursue other things such a politics and of course leisure. In truth, they only liberated people from the obligation to pay people to do the same work. Often biblical passages were used to justify slavery. The marking of Cain “so all would know him” for his crime against his brother was reference to the dark skin of the African transplants.
Such people were barely human and unfit for society in every way. They were to be subservient to true children of God. The issue of slavery is also mentioned in the bible as passages stating that a servant should be obedient to his master (p. 345).
It is important to note that none of those who argued this passage ever made reference to the freedom of the enslaved Jews in Exodus who were treated virtually the same way—forced labor, forced conformity to another religion and renouncing of their native culture, terrible living conditions, etc.
The economic structure of the south and north differed greatly. While the north was comprised mainly of large cities with sprawling populations, the southern states remained rural with metro areas serving mainly as ports of goods transport. It was possible to be more self sufficient in Georgia than New Hampshire because of agriculture. Even the poorest of southerners owned at least a few acres of land they called home and could farm for food and or profit. If one had no job in a northern city, no income meant no housing or food.
Pity for slave labors turned to envy by some because of this. A slave always had food, clothing and shelter. Without these things, he or she would not be fit enough do complete their chores. Elderly and infirmed slaves commonly took on the job of rearing the young children and caring for the sick and injured until able to return to working. This is in the eyes of many meant that they would be taken care of till the day they died with out the hassle of having to worry about losing their job as many northerners did.
There is also the idea of slaves being part of the extended family. Southerners had become so used to the idea that slaves became more like pets to some; dearly loved yet unable function without the master’s care. Take for example a woman whose role is to care for her master’s children. She maybe well loved by her charges but as they grow they will come to see her as less than a human being. That won’t necessarily keep them from caring about her, they will simply do so in the way they would love a cat or dog.
By: Julia Graham Intro: Slavery, the owning of slaves as a practice or institution. The condition of being a slave, bondage, servitude. Slave, a human who is owned as property by, and is absolutely subject to the will of another: bondservant divested of all freedom and personal rights. Hard to believe but on of the most horrifying occur ances in World History, is the Slave Trade. It was a time in ...
Pro-slavery advocates were also quick to point out that the great empires of history were based on slave labor. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Persians and so forth were mighty civilizations that enslaved captives of war as well as criminals. It is possible to assume that since these societies were able to focus of innovation and thinking because of their slave work force that the south too would flourish intellectually. Whether or not this is true is debatable. Yes there were several southern inventors and writers of the time but to compare it to the advances of the past would be difficult.
In conclusion, the “positive good” argument was nothing short of a means for whites of all classes on both sides of the Mason-Dixie line to ease their own guilt over the institution of slavery. It is human nature to put a positive spin on something we benefit from. Wars have been waged under the precipice of uniting territories, bringing order, divine right, and alike while the true motivations have been wealth, power and glory. The south was no different from the empires of the past in that respect.