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Justifying Slavery Essay

1096 words - 5 pages

The institution of slavery has existed throughout the history of humanity, although it's configuration has continuously transformed over time. Slavery played a major role in the United States, due to being economically advantageous to the South. America's Civil War, partly due to the issue of slavery, nearly brought the young nation to its knees, in face of utter and complete destruction. Slavery has played a pivotal, yet sinister, role in the development of the United States. The 55th Governor of South Carolina, George McDuffie, held strong views in his support of the institution of slavery. He used his address to the state legislature in 1835 to express his views on slavery and ...view middle of the document...

Religion was paramount in the South; thus, if slavery was acceptable under the eyes of God, then the institution truly was legitimate to the citizens. McDuffie wielded the power of religion to give reasons why blacks are bound to slavery.
McDuffie, in essence went on to explain that African inferiority was the precondition that made the race well-suited for slavery. He determined that the black race had an inferior mind and lacks any morality. The black individual had strong physical attributes which made him a good fit for bondage. McDuffie believed that blacks lived like savages and needed to be ruled over because they could not control their own desires. Yet again, McDuffie used God as a legitimizing force for the institution by claiming that freedom is a gift from God and a gift only given to creatures who are qualified to enjoy it. He also emphasized the concept that blacks in America lived a much better life as compared to the blacks still living in Africa. In his opinion, they lived like savages in Africa, but at least they had structure and the ability to become Christians in America. McDuffie was one of many leaders in the South who tried to incite fear in the minds of Southerners by giving word of a complete disaster if slaves were ever emancipated. Like many slavery advocates of the time, McDuffie made slavery a necessary condition to enlighten and "save" the black race.
Consequently, the governor discussed the issue with the emancipation of slaves in his speech. He saw the black race was not fit for self-governing. McDuffie claimed that, "Emancipation would be a positive curse, depriving them of a guardianship essential to their happiness." He believed that since blacks cannot govern themselves, chaos would ensue if they gained their freedom and it was better for them to be subservient for the sake of their own happiness. It becomes evident that it was McDuffie's belief that the blacks had a much easier life as slaves in America than they endured back in Africa. Slave owners had the obligation to provide food and adequate living conditions for their slaves, which gave them an incentive to treat slaves properly if they wanted to enjoy more and better production from their slaves.
Slave owners provided...

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