Essay on Southern Pro-Slavery Rhetoric

Essay on Southern Pro-Slavery Rhetoric

Length: 1613 words (4.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Southern Pro-Slavery Rhetoric

     By 1860, the slave states had approximately four million slaves making up approximately one-third of the South's population. However, opposition to slavery began as early as the 1700's by religious leaders and philosophers in North America and Europe who condemned the practice, arguing that slavery was contrary to God's teachings and violated basic human rights. During the Revolutionary War, many Americans came to feel that slavery in the United States was wrong because they believed that protection of human rights was one of the founding tenets of the United States, and slaves were not accorded rights. Slavery was likely opposed more rapidly in the North in part because fewer people in the North owned slaves. Northern abolitionists began organized efforts to end the practice of slavery in the 1800's. But much of the American South, believed that slavery was vital to the continuation of its livelihood and lifestyle and therefore defended the institution of slavery.
     As the abolition movement picked up, southerners became organized in their support of slavery in what became known as the proslavery movement. Some southerners involved in the movement maintained the position that slavery was like "the law of nature" which allowed the strong to rule the weak. Thus is was appropriate for whites to own blacks as slaves because they believed whites were the dominant race. Some supporters of slavery believed that the Bible clearly condoned the practice of slavery. Still others argue that southern slaves were provided with lifelong homes and better living conditions than they would have experienced living in Africa. By 1860, almost all southerners thought slavery should continue.
      The Southern philosophers were, in some measure, great theorists. Their ability to defend the institution of slavery as a good for society can be considered through three justifications: socio-political, economic/socio-economic, and religious.
     Of all the areas with which the southerners contended, the socio-political arena was probably their strongest. It is in this area that they had history and law to support their assertions. With the recent exception of the British, the slave trade had been an integral part of the economies of many nations and the slaves were the labor by which many nations and empires attained greatness. Souther...

... middle of paper ...

...e the institution of slavery itself was not evil, there were evils associated with the practice. As such, the clergy often fell into disfavor with the extremists of the proslavery movement.
      Many Southerners supported, in some measure, the position of the clergy to some extent. Yet, they did not wish to abandon their system suddenly and without an adequate replacement. They were also concerned that free labor promoted infidelity, secularism, liberal theology, perversities, egotism and personal license to the detriment of God-ordained authority and the Christian social order.
     In studying the Southern defense of slavery, it appears that southerners were defending a way of life. Many believed that the institution of slavery was the lesser of two evils in terms of providing benefits for workers, others believed that it was at the very foundation of a free society to own slaves and still others saw it merely as an expedient means to an economic end. Although one may acknowledge that the South had understandable political, social and religious reasons for supporting the institution of slavery, the fundamental moral obligation to treat all humans as equals supercedes them all.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Slave State Of Virginia, And I Am A Pro Slavery Essay

- Slavery Justified I, George Fitzhugh, was born in the slave state of Virginia, and I am a pro-slavery activist. As a lawyer, painter, and political writer, I became an advocate for the movement referred to as the “Reactionary Enlightenment” of the antebellum American South ( explain what the reactionary enlightenment was). With two books and countless journals and pamphlets defending the Slave South, my thoughts on the legalization of slavery, and also the expansion of slavery even at a time when the abolition movement had gained momentum....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850]

Strong Essays
784 words (2.2 pages)

The Issue Of Slavery Of The North And South Essay

- It is worth noting that the issue of slavery in the existing Southern States was not an issue of contention among any prominent politicians in the North and South, because the issue had been clearly settled in the Constitution. The only issues of contention were those that the Constitution had left open to interpretation -- one of which was the issue of slavery in the Western territories and new States. But even this had less to do with the noble idea of freedom for blacks than it did with political maneuvering....   [tags: Southern United States]

Strong Essays
1577 words (4.5 pages)

Essay about Slavery in Colonial America

- Slavery in Colonial America The first arrivals of Africans in America were treated similarly to the indentured servants in Europe. Black servants were treated differently from the white servants and by 1740 the slavery system in colonial America was fully developed. Slavery as it existed in America was a practice founded on the chattel principle. Slaves were treated as human chattel to be traded, sold, used, and ranked not among beings, but among things, as an article of property to the owner or possessor....   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Free Essays
791 words (2.3 pages)

Southern White Slaveholder Guilt Essay

- Southern White Slaveholder Guilt Guilt is an inevitable effect of slavery. For no matter how much rhetoric and racism is poured into such a system, the simple fact remains that men and women are enslaving men and women. Regardless of how much inferior a slaveholder may perceive his salves, it is obvious that his "property" looks similar, has similar needs, and has similar feelings. There is thus the necessary comparison of situations; the slaveholder is free, the slave is in bondage-certainly a position that the slaveholder would find most disagreeable....   [tags: American America History]

Free Essays
3191 words (9.1 pages)

The Pro Slavery Side Of Slavery Essay

- In the eighteenth century slavery was all around. However, the mends were in store to make up for the unfounded actions of the past. By doing so, it punishes the people of today to make up for the wrongful doings of the people in the past. African Americans did suffer in the past from the injustice of slavery. Take in mind that it was the past, and the injustice of slavery does not affect African Americans in today’s day and time. White Americans in today’s day and time did not own or have anything to do with slavery....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery]

Strong Essays
739 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Pro Slavery And Anti Slavery

- Pro-slavery and anti-slavery were groups of advocates who both had a different perspective about slavery. The group of people that believed in slavery were mainly from the South and they were usually businessmen, traders, farmers, and slave traders. They argued that slavery was right; slavery caused a growth in the nation’s economy, it was accepted in the bible, and the slaves were better taken care of in the hands of a master. On the other hand, the Northerners thought otherwise. On their behalf, they argued that the slaves were treated poorly by their masters, it was a sin to be involved in slavery, and the Africans were unhappy because they were forced to move from their homeland....   [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, History of slavery]

Strong Essays
1015 words (2.9 pages)

Pro Slavery And The Civil War Essay

- Is every race truly equal, or is there only one superior race. If so, should that superior race take the initiative to lead and control those who are considered inferior (Fitzhugh). This controversial topic has been discussed for centuries. During the Second Great Awakening in the 1800s before the Civil War, when the issue of slavery had reached its zenith, two opposing sides quarreled over the issue of slavery. While northern inhabitants strongly opposed slavery, southern inhabitants pushed to prolong it....   [tags: Racism, Black people, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
1473 words (4.2 pages)

Slavery And The Southern Economy Essay

- The Southern economy was based on slavery and it has been argued it was extremely profitable. It had existed for many years before it hit its prime between 1830 and 1860. Slavery was essentially one human owning another and controlling all aspects of their life, thus the nature of slavery itself has been heavily disputed. There are two views surrounding slavery. The first is that slavery was benign which is a view supported by the historian Phillips. However, historians such as Stampp argued that slavery was in fact extremely harsh – which is the second view....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Strong Essays
1324 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Southern Arguments For Slavery

- In the United States there was a heated debate about the morality of slavery. Supporters of slavery in the 18th century used legal, economic, and religious arguments to defend slavery. They were able to do so effectively because all three of these reasons provide ample support of the peculiar institution that was so vital to the South. Legally speaking, the constitution offered numerous arguments for slavery and clearly protected the protected the people’s rights to own slaves. The 3/5 clause clearly states that slaves are subordinate being who belong enslaved....   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Strong Essays
462 words (1.3 pages)

Slavery And Southern Honor Essay

- Parallels To southern men, honor was everything. I dictated their standing in society, whether or not they could own slaves; it basically was a secret caste system. A man held in the highest honor experienced a good life from a social stance in the south. The honor system used in the south was related to the language used by southern gentlemen.# Honor and Slavery by Kenneth S. Greenburg attempts to explain the vernacular and customs used by men in the antebellum south. It would be hard for a person in today's society to understand the way honor was shown; it would have even been a challenge for men living in the Northern United States to understand at that time.# As Greenburg states, "Si...   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Strong Essays
1654 words (4.7 pages)