Slavery and the Abolition of Slave Trade Essay

May 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Many historians pay close attention to the reasons why slavery persisted for a long time in some parts of the United States. Moreover, much attention is paid to the reasons why so many southerners defended this social institution, even though they did not belong to the so-called plantation aristocracy.

To a great extent, this outcome can be attributed to such factors to the influence of racist attitudes, the fear of violence or rebellion, and economic interests of many people who perceived the abolition of slavery as a threat to their welfare. To some degree, these factors contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War that dramatically transformed the social and political life of the country. These are the main details that should be examined.

The persistent defense of slavery can be partly explained by the widespread stereotypes and myths which were rather popular in the South. For instance, one can mention the belief according to which the living conditions of slaves were much better, especially in comparison with European workers or those people who lived in the northern parts of the United States. These arguments were expressed by John Calhoun who regarded slavery as “a positive good” (1837). This statement implied that black people could even be satisfied with their subordinate status.

He said that under the rule of white people, slaves could enjoy more prosperity (Calhoun, 1837). These are some of the details that should not be disregarded. To some degree, this justification of slavery was based on the belief that black people were not self-sufficient. Therefore, one should not neglect the impact of racism on the worldviews and attitudes of many southerners who did not always question the propaganda which was imposed on them.

Overall, pro-slavery politicians such as John Calhoun believed the abolition of slavery could produce only detrimental results on various stakeholders, including black people. These are some of the main details that should be distinguished. One should keep in mind that many people living in the South did not pay much attention to the experiences of black slaves. They did not reflect on the cruel treatment of black people who were often dehumanized.

Additionally, it is important to examine the experiences of people who did not belong to the upper classes of the Southern society. Many of these people were farmers, and they were adversely affected by the competition with slave owners (Davidson et al., 2012). In many cases, their farms could be ruined in the course of this struggle. Moreover, many of them could not even afford a slave (Davidson et al., 2012). Nevertheless, they did not object to the existence of slavery as a social institution.

They believed that that the emancipation of slaves could eventually threaten their own existence. In particular, many of them were afraid of violence or rebellion. This is one of the reasons why they did not support the abolitionist movement. So, they could reconcile themselves with slavery, even though their own interests were significantly impaired. Secondly, they did not perceive black people as human beings who could deserve empathy or compassion. As a result, many of these people defended slavery and even fought for the interests of slave owners. This is one of the details should not be overlooked because it is important for understanding the cause of the civic conflict in the United States.

It should be noted that trans-Atlantic slave trade was abolished long before the Civil War in the United States (Oldfield, 2012). Moreover, they could prohibit slave trade within a state. Nevertheless, policy-makers could not easily abolish slavery as an institution, even though many people believed that this practice violated every ethical law. There were many interest groups that did not want to abolish slavery. These people believed that their investments in commerce, agriculture, or industry could be harmed by the abolition of slavery (Davidson et al., 2012).

Moreover, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were many people who owned hundreds of slaves. They believed that slavery had been critical for their economic prosperity. As a result, there was no legal support of the abolitionist movement in some parts of the United States. This tendency was particularly relevant if one speaks about the South in which the use of slave labor was often required. This is one of the details that should be distinguished.

On the whole, this discussion indicates that there were several barriers to the abolition of slavery in the South. Much attention should be paid to the influence of racist attitudes of many people who were firmly convinced that slaves could be deprived of their right to humanity. In their opinion, this practice was quite acceptable from an ethical viewpoint. Additionally, it is vital to remember about the influence about the use of propaganda that shaped the attitudes of many people. Finally, one should not forget about the economic interests of many people who regarded the abolitionist movement as a threat to their financial security. These are some of the major aspects that can be identified.

Reference List

Calhoun, J. (1837). Slavery a Positive Good.

Davidson, J., Delay, B., Herman, B., Leigh, C., & Lytle, M. (2012). US: A Narrative History Volume 1: To 1877. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

Oldfield, J. (2012). British Anti-slavery.

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