Slavery : A More Personal And Opinionated Version By James Mcpherson Essay

Slavery : A More Personal And Opinionated Version By James Mcpherson Essay

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Slavery is an issue that continues to be discussed today, and for most Americans, the main reason that sparked the Civil War. Both authors agree that slavery was morally wrong, and it almost brought the Union to its knees while trying to rid the nation of it. However, both authors have very distinct thoughts and reasons for it. While Stanley Elkins’ Slavery has a more personal and opinionated version, James McPherson’s interpretation in Ordeal by Fire is based on facts. McPherson employs the use of graphics and charts to illustrate and quantify the findings about slavery in his book. His writings are based on the economic factors that made slavery the main force for prosperity in the South. Cotton production had become the main source of income for the US from 1815 to 1860. The southern states’ economy was growing but they were, for the most part, reluctant to the ideas of modernization. The slave states valued tradition and stability more than change and progress. They were not very welcoming to the contrasting views and progress commonly seen in the northern states. Moreover they were less convinced of their view about how America should be in the future.
Stanley Elkins views on slavery were based on a more personal view of the issue. He was more of a liberal writer who based his opinion on his views of the problem. Elkins talks about the problem of slavery in America and the problem that continues to affect it. He claims that “slavery and its aftermath pose a problem for all Americans that, if it already has been solved, would necessitate writing this book” (Elkins, 1976). He argues that one of the problems in America’s slavery was the lack of institutions to abolish it. The lack of institutional power in the Unit...


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...peculates that by having the opportunity to become free one day, slaves did not lose their identity and were more productive while in slave status.
In conclusion, both authors do an excellent job of writing about the atrocities and injustice of slavery and how it was one of the main reasons that sparked the Civil War. However, where the authors differ is in how they view the problem of slavery. McPherson explains that it was the engine that ran the South’s economy even if it meant slow economic, education, technological, and modernization growth. Elkins argued that American slavery was much harsher and more exploitative than Latin American slavery. Comparing southern slave plantations to Nazi concentration camps, and argued that slavery was so brutal and inhumane that it stripped slaves of their African heritage and transformed them into docile, submissive figures.

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