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Ten Reasons Not to Abolish Slavery Wednesday, November 18, Policy Government Slavery existed for thousands of years, in all sorts of societies and all parts of the world. To imagine human social life without it required an extraordinary effort.
Yet, from time to time, eccentrics emerged to oppose it, most of them arguing that slavery is a moral monstrosity and therefore people should get rid of it. Such advocates The proslavery argument in the us elicited reactions ranging from gentle amusement to harsh scorn and even violent assault.
When people bothered to give reasons for opposing the proposed abolition, they advanced various ideas. Here are ten such ideas I have encountered in my reading. People differ, and we must expect that those who are superior in a certain way—for example, in intelligence, morality, knowledge, technological prowess, or capacity for fighting—will make themselves the masters of those who are inferior in this regard.
Abraham Lincoln expressed this idea in one of his famous debates with Senator Stephen Douglas: And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
Slavery has always existed. This reason exemplifies the logical fallacy argumentum ad antiquitatem the argument to antiquity or tradition. Nevertheless, it often persuaded people, especially those of conservative bent. Even nonconservatives might give it weight on the quasi-Hayekian ground that although we do not understand why a social institution persists, its persistence may nonetheless be well grounded in a logic we have yet to understand.
Every society on earth has slavery. The unspoken corollary is that every society must have slavery. The pervasiveness of an institution seems to many people to constitute compelling proof of its necessity. Perhaps, as one variant maintains, every society has slavery because certain kinds of work are so difficult or degrading that no free person will do them, and therefore unless we have slaves to do these jobs, they will not get done.
Someone, as the saying went in the Old South, has to be the mud sill, and free people will not tolerate serving in this capacity.
The slaves are not capable of taking care of themselves. It would be cruel to set free people who would then, at best, fall into destitution and suffering. Without masters, the slaves will die off. This idea is the preceding one pushed to its extreme.
Even after slavery was abolished in the United States inmany people continued to voice this idea. Northern journalists traveling in the South immediately after the war reported that, indeed, the blacks were in the process of becoming extinct because of their high death rate, low birth rate, and miserable economic condition.
Sad but true, some observers declared, the freed people really were too incompetent, lazy, or immoral to behave in ways consistent with their own group survival. See my book Competition and Coercion: Blacks in the American Economy, — Where the common people are free, they are even worse off than slaves.
This argument became popular in the South in the decades before the War Between the States.
Its leading exponent was the proslavery writer George Fitzhugh, whose book titles speak for themselves: Fitzhugh seems to have taken many of his ideas from the reactionary, racist, Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle.
True to his sociological theories, Fitzhugh wanted to extend slavery in the United States to working-class white people, for their own good! Getting rid of slavery would occasion great bloodshed and other evils.
In the United States many people assumed that the slaveholders would never permit the termination of the slave system without an all-out fight to preserve it. Sure enough, when the Confederacy and the Union went to war—set aside that the immediate issue was not the abolition of slavery, but the secession of eleven Southern states—great bloodshed and other evils did ensue.
They evidently overlooked that, except in Haiti, slavery was abolished everywhere else in the Western Hemisphere without large-scale violence. Without slavery the former slaves would run amuck, stealing, raping, killing, and generally causing mayhem. Preservation of social order therefore rules out the abolition of slavery.
Southerners lived in dread of slave uprisings. Northerners in the mid-nineteenth century found the situation in their own region already sufficiently intolerable, owing to the massive influx of drunken, brawling Irishmen into the country in the s and s.Defenders of slavery argued that slavery had existed throughout history and was the natural state of mankind.
The Greeks had slaves, the Romans had slaves, and the English had slavery until very recently. Defenders of slavery noted that in the Bible, Abraham had slaves. And these early proslavery arguments, like their later manifestations, typically targeted natural rights as the theory that had to be undercut before a defense of slavery could be mounted.
Some major defenses of slavery were published in . How the Constitution Was Indeed Pro-Slavery Unlike Sean Wilentz suggests in The New York Times, the Constitution was not originally anti-slavery.
David Waldstreicher. apush ch. 13 study guide by naiamb includes questions covering vocabulary, terms and more. In The Pro-Slavery Argument (), John C.
Calhoun stated that slavery was. The United States went to war with Mexico in . Arguments and Justifications. What were the arguments of the pro-slavery lobby?
The pro-slavery lobby put forward a number of arguments to defend the trade and show how important it was to Britain. Learn pro slavery argument with free interactive flashcards. Choose from different sets of pro slavery argument flashcards on Quizlet.