History US/PA 19th Century - Essay Example

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The first way was the saving the slave’s soul approach. Secondly the color issue was used; inferring rank in a society was due to race. Finally the…
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History US/PA 19th Century
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Pro-slavery Americans justified a nation where ‘all men are created equal’ but where slavery existed in several ways. The first way was the saving the slave’s soul approach. Secondly the color issue was used; inferring rank in a society was due to race. Finally the argument of the well fed slave was used. The reality of slave economics was not mentioned by pro-slavery Americans, but was in the forethought of every slave owner and politician of the time. Only the kind, gentle, or beneficial actions toward the slaves were mentioned by pro-slavery Americans.
One of the first things pro-slavery Americans spoke about was Christian masters. African slaves needed Christian masters to teach them the ways of Christianity. These Christian masters might enslave the body, but freed the soul through Christianity. Even today in the twenty-first century a white supremacist argument becomes without slavery, African Americans would not have become Christians. The discounting of missionary visits is prominent in pro-slavery Americans’ point of view. Christian masters did provide a relief to slaves within the slavery system. Christian masters would take into consideration slave families. For example:
In 1836 Bro. Albert Sibley of Bedford, Kentucky, sold me for $850 to Bro. John Sibley, and in the same year he sold me to Bro. William Gatewood of Bedford, for $850. In 1839 Bro. Gatewood sold me to Madison Garrison, a slave trader of Louisville, Kentucky, with my wife and child-at a depreciated price because I was a run away. In the same year he sold me with my family to Bro. Whitfield, in the city. (Johnson)
Despite Christian masters’ kindness, the slave was still treated like property and not men.
The second argument that pro-slavery Americans used was the race issue. African slaves were sold into slavery by other Africans, so black slaves had less morals, less strength, and thus were less human. Once born into slavery, “Whatever rights he has are subordinate to the good of the whole," Fitzhugh concluded, ‘and he has never ceded rights to it, for he was born its slave, and had no rights to cede’” (Oakes). Thus when the founding fathers talked about ‘all men are created equal’, slaves were not men in the eyes of the white Americans and the law of the time.
Finally the well fed argument of the pro-slavery Americans was asserted. If assuming that white slave owners were correct by introducing slaves to Christianity and slaves were less than human, then slave owners were being humane by providing slaves with more food than they could have gotten in Africa. Many pro-slavery Americans felt pride in giving Africans more food than some of the famine regions of Africa could have provided for them. They were feeding their slaves like their own children. It did not matter that the slaves had planted, harvested, and prepared that food. Pro-slavery Americans used this argument to insist on the virtues of slavery.
Pro-slavery Americans had to work within the system of slavery. They did not have the opportunity to argue the point of slavery as a theoretical discussion. Thus they had to point out the most beneficial aspects of slavery. The Africans conversion to Christianity, the inferiority of the African race, and the plentiful food provided for slaves were the best arguments to use. However the true reason for pro-slavery Americans was economical. If the slave trade was banned, then the Southern economy would collapse. All the free labor would have to be paid at a loss for Southern plantation owners if slavery ended. Money, not compassion was the reasons for the pro-slavery stance. Read More
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