Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pro-Slavery Arguments in the South

First off--apologies that this blog is delinquent (ask Abdoulaye about my cat attack, and you'll understand why...)

Anyway, here are tonight's questions:

Consider both the strengths and weaknesses of all the defenses of slavery.  Were any of the documents particularly convincing/not convincing to you?  Why?

Specific examples are always helpful here :)

Also, at the end of your post, tell us what you plan to follow as your political hotbed topic.  If there are overlaps, I'll try to divvy them up so that we don't have too much repetition but that you still have a topic that interests you.  Prepare to share some recent news about your topic next time we have an hour period (Tuesday).


  1. i thought that "the blessings of the slave" article wasn't very convincing. i thought that the author was trying to use the fact that slaves are treated better then some high class white people and that is just simply not true. there are many accounts of slaves being treated like second class citizens and in almost every situation slaves were whipped and stripped of their dignities.

    the article "William Harpers apology" was a little more convincing then all the others for me. the way he talked about america's economy and how if all the slaves were set free that the lose in money would cripple the economy. the only way slavery makes sense to me is the financial point to it and even then there could be another way that the problem could be fixed.

  2. I found "The Blessings of the Slave" very difficult to see as completely true. I find it hard to see how slavery could be better than being a poor white worker in the Northern states. The author says that some slave owners may beat their slaves, like how some men beat their wives and children. However, many other sources say how slave owners were encouraged to beat their slaves occasionally to keep a sense of dominance over them.

    A topic I would be interested in pursuing in the upcoming election would be the rights of Illegal Immigrants.

  3. I agree with Rob about how "Blessings of the Slaves" is just an excuse. Being free is arguably the best right of an American, and everybody should have freedom, whether your poor or rich or somewhere in between. Even though the poor white people lived off others people land and worked for barely any money, at least they had free rights and were treated like human beings. Slaves in someways had it better than the poor white people, but the fact that they weren't free and were considered less than human outweighs everything else.

    I would like to talk to about the legalization of marijuana for my hot-topic.

  4. I thought that "William Harpers apology" was fairly convincing. The first couple of lines read, "Slavery was forced upon us by the extremest exigency of circumstances in a struggle for very existence. Without it, it is doubtful whether a white man would be now existing on this continent." Though this isn't very believable now, people back then may have found this true. And people would have believed it because they had no proof that this might not be the case.

    I believe that "the blessings of the slave" is not completely true. The author talks about how very rarely does somebody get injured while doing physical labor. Which is not true. And he also goes so far to say, "It is true that some men abuse and harshly treat their slaves. So do some men abuse their wives and children and apprentices and horses and cattle." So what he is saying is that "some" slaves get abused. Just like people abuse their wives and children? And most of this could be found biased considering that the author is a white southerner.

    I think that I am going to pick abortion or another health topic for this years election.

  5. In agreement with my classmates, I find "The Blessings of Slaves" a very weak argument. His description of what he encountered during his travels do not match any of the evidence from other primary sources that I have read. HIs claim that "in all my tour during the past winter, I did not see or hear of but two cases of flogging....[and] not see or hear of one place where the Negroes were not well fed" is a very difficult statement to believe because it is not backed any concrete facts. It also just doesn't match up to the reality of slavery. Therefore, these kinds of defenses on slavery involving the claim that the institution wasn't "all that bad" are extremely weak and almost impossible to believe.
    On the other hand, even though its was a very short excerpt, the "Slaves Don't Strike" piece was much more convincing. Stating that a planter who lost his slaves for a few days ended up losing a value of $10,000 gives a concrete example as to why slavery was necessary. By stating certain consequences such as the downfall of the American economy, his argument is much stronger.

    I would like to talk about education, specifically standardized testing in schools.

  6. One article i found particularly interesting was the "Slaves Don't Strike". The defense in this case was for slavery and it used a wall of fear to keep an already corrupt concept on its feeble knees. The statement was that the south required slaves in order to keep up their agriculture. Who in turn supplied the Northern textile mills with produce. So by abolishing slaves you effectively abolish the southern economy and in turn again the Northern economy as well. This article stood out to me because the used the old saying "there's no control like fear" to practical use.

  7. just like everyone else has said, "the blessings of the slave" did not seem at all convincing. In the beginning, Robinson says, "I boldly and truly assert that you may travel Europe over-yea, you may visit the boasted freemen of America-aye, you may search the world over before you find a laboring peasantry who are more happy, more contented, as a class of people, or who are better clothed and fed and better provided for in sickness, infirmity, old age, or who enjoy more of the essential comforts of life, than these so-called miserable, oppressed, abused, starved slaves...." this did not seem convincing to me at all.

    however, "william harper's apology" seemed convincing to me. his main point is that if slavery were to end, the economy would suffer. this is the only reason that i understand those who supported slavery-for economic reasons. he explains how with an end to slavery, the cultivation of cotton would immediately cease. he also argues that slavery has given existence to millions of freemen and enables civilization to grow.

  8. Slavery was defended in different ways. For me there are weak and strong arguments in William Harpers Apology as well as in The Blessings of a Slave. William Harper is talking comparing the slave workers to wage labourers and says that the risk of a strike is too high when you hire wage labourers. Slaves have no right to strike and don’t endanger the business. This might not mean that slavery can be considered as the right thing, but it makes me understand the motives of the plantation owners.
    In Solon Robinson’s “Blessings of the Slave” he says that it wouldn’t be good to set the slaves free because they can’t manage their lives alone without their owners.
    “Free them from control, and how soon does poverty and wretchedness overtake them.”
    I think there is a point in this. Especially slaves who were born in slavery and don’t know another live won’t know where to go, what to and how to nourish.
    In this text as well as in “Comparing Slave Labour and Wage Labour” it is said that slaves often still had a better life than the lowest, poorest class of whites. I think this is also a strong argument because some of them might rather choose a safe life in the masters property than being free but poor and without help.

    But Harper and Robinson also argument in a lot of ways that didn’t convince me at all and which are undoubted nothing more than absurd lies. The weakest and ridiculous argument was in William Harpers so-called “Apology”, when he says that slave women compared to free women aren’t an “outcast from society” if they get pregnant. With having a child, she was making her master a gift or enrichment. For me this is absolutely presuming and shocking because a lot of slave women were sexual abused from their masters and it’s pure meaness to say that they should be thankful to be a slave women because they are not becoming an “outcast of society” but rather are doing their owners a favour in having a child which means antoher slave, which is of course nothing a mother would wish to her kid!

  9. I found "Slaves Don't Strike" to be a very interesting article because the logical next question would be, who is more productive. There was a passage in the first article that talked about how the family that stayed on the plantation worked much harder because they thought they were going to get a piece of what they were producing. So something I would love to delve into in the future, is what's a more effective productivity booster, a pay check or a whip?

    For my political topic I'm either going to talk about super pacs, our failing education system, or Bush era tax cuts.

  10. 'The Blessing of the Slave' was not a very convincing piece as it used the fact that he 'heard of one plantation where Negros were overworked and unjustly flogged'. Many of the other primary documents we have read speak of many different masters who beat their slaves for no reason. In 'Slave Don't Strike' I feel that the author made a better argument because he made a good point that regularly paid workers could and would go on strike.

    The topic I would like to talk about is marriage equality

  11. Upon reading, the article that stood out as most weak argument of any article I have read regarding the defense of slavery. There is no comparison between being a free poor person, and being a slave. Much of the article was a lie regarding the treatment of slaves, claiming that in all of his travels, he had only heard of the flogging of slaves once or twice. He also claims that the slaves of America should be grateful for the good treatment that they are given, in contrast to the slaves of other reaches of the world. This information is untruthful and ridiculous to read.

    A more viable strength of slavery defense would be for the defense of the Southern American way of life. The practice of slavery is terribly inhumane, but the people of Southern America would rather keep the same standard of living and agricultural society than adapt to Northern urbanization.

    I'd like to follow the topic of slave owner's religious influence on the slaves.

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  13. I think the article"William Haper's Apology" is not convincing to me at all, because the way it says slaves are under well protection and women should be thankful to their masters just does not make any sense at all.Plus, the author's tone really just sounds ridiculous and brazen to me, that was a pure bad try to whitewash the sin of the slavery and kind of shoot himself on his own foot.
    There are also some very convincing arguments in those articles,too.
    I found that the slaves don't strike really make a good sense right here, because the plantation economy really is the essential part of the south, which could cause mortal effect on it. Also, in the "compare the slave labor&wage labor" seems to be convincing to me because i really think slaves do get better life guarantee such as food, cloth, and shelter than wage worker do.
    The topic i wanna talk about is the equality of marriage(love).