Good Abolitionism And The Skepticism Of Society Towards Ending Slavery Critical Thinking Example
The process of ending slavery in the United States did not come easily. It took a lot of debates and interaction to achieve some level of synthesis in the American society before the decision to abolish slavery came. The purpose of this paper is to examine the was abolitionists argued in response to proslavery writers and how they showed the problems of insecurity and uneasiness that came with abolitionism.
Fundamentally, the abolitionists sought to use important elements and aspects of society to provide practical and real-life experiences and issues that was to show the level of evil and hypocrisy that came with slavery. Considering the compilation of the confessions of Frederick Douglass, the abolitionists presented it as some kind of escape from the south where all Black people were slaves and were kept in some kind of large prison. This was to show the practicality of the situation and the dangers and problems that came with this.
The extended narration of Douglass presented his master, Mr. Covey as a White poor and a White wretch who was not really smart or intelligent. Rather, he sought to put the blame on his slaves as a means of feeding his egos and thoughts. Thus, he was quick to mete out punishment and his wealth was made on the back of these poor slaves who had nothing but the most basic resources to live their lives and were defenseless due to the laws and the regulations that existed at that time. Thus, the argument was that the slaves were humans too, and this injustice and hypocrisy that was being used to make some people perpetually rich and others poor was unacceptable. Equality was a must and someone had to demand it.
In spite of evidence presented by persons like Frederick Douglass who had endured a lot, White southerners continued to argue that slavery was a necessary institution to keep the US economy going. And this benefited the south as well as the north. This is because they saw no other option but to use slaves in labor intensive cultivations in the south in order to keep the US economy going. To them, forced labor and the need to get someone to do the undesirable job was important and vital to every nation. In the north, the poor Whites were doing that whilst in the south, the African-Americans were suited for that job. In the north the Irish poor were exploited and deprived of their right to get a life outside of harsh labor. Thus, they felt they were justified in the south by keeping the Blacks in those jobs and this was convenient because they kept them unaware of comfort and luxury. However, the abolitionists scattered the seed of questioning the conscience of these white southerners. They therefore sought to provide education and get the Blacks in the south to get some kind of sense of pride and demand equality. This was seen by the southerners as dangerous because this was to get the Blacks to become liberated and this was to come at a great price to them. Thus, the quest to promote quality was central in the attempt to abolish slavery.
The southerners also had laws that literally protected all the slaves. However, these existed in stylish and extravagantly presented language. Slaves did not know their rights and they knew nothing about how to report. Therefore, the abolitionists presented practical cases and issues where the Blacks were kept away from knowing their rights as a means of getting them subject to the unfair application of these laws that were only accessible to the whites. So presenting cases like the evidence of Frederick Douglass and others, they were able to show that the theories forward by the south in the defense of equality through legislative guarantee were all but unrealistic claims that were actually not being put in practice.
The Abolitionists also argued that one of the fundamental premises of the US constitution was that it stated that all men are created free and equal. And if that is the case, what was the justification for keeping slaves in servitude? Why were they not free.
The southern pro-slavery caucus argued that Christianity accommodated slavery in some way and form. Christianity did not really abolish slavery and Christ did not openly condemn it. Thus, the question was why should their generation be over-righteous? Aside that, there were people like convicts who were treated in ways that was contrary to their will.
The counter argument of the abolitionists was that these slaves committed no crime. It was just by the lottery of birth that caused them to be born to other slaves. Thus, they did not have the right to enslave them and use them as their property or chattels. Circumstances caused them to be captured in African and sent thousands of miles to an unknown place to be oppressed. Most White people in America were either migrants or people who had rights but made mistakes that caused them to become treated in a way that was different. Thus, it was a privilege that these slave owners were exercising and it was their benefits that they could forego.
Another interesting point the raised as abolitionists was that Exodus 21:16 forbade the kidnapping and sale of a person’s fellow country man. And on the basis of slavery, that is how the journey of every slave began. And it was time to recognize the slaves as legitimate American citizens because they were human beings. Slavery to these Abolitionists was thus, a continuous process that involved the capture and the holding of an individual against his will. And anyone who supported it was in many ways supporting this evil practice forbidden by the Bible. Thus, slavery was wicked, cruel and had to be given up in order to purify the Church and do the actual will of God. They pointed out people who were always pretending to be Christian but were cruel to their slaves through beating, assaulting them, sometimes raping them or hiring other men to breed with their slaves and commit adultery with them.
Jefferson and others took another point of view, that slaves were humans and they had potential. Hence, there was the need to invest in them and allow them to get an independent mind. This way, they are going to contribute more to the American economy and things are likely to be better if slaves are freed and properly integrated into the society. Hence, it was selfish and against the fundamental premise of the country for people to hold slaves as their own property.
Other sources included the sources of people like Adam Smith who argued several decades earlier that it is more expensive to keep slaves. The only benefit slavery brought was to heighten the egos of the owners and make them feel successful. However, in reality, they were expensive and they came out to become a burden to the state.
The abolitionists had to come up with different arguments and counterarguments to defeat the southern belief that slavery was essential to America’s survival. They identified that laws that purport to protect slaves do not actually work. Keeping slaves was against the principles of God’s word and against the foundations of America. It was selfish and there was the need to let slaves go free and build a successful life. They quoted from the Bible and other authoritative documents to appeal to the conscience of those who supported slavery to look beyond their own personal gains and their quest for power.