Is Slavery Morally Wrong Southern Abolitionists

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It is a longstanding belief that slavery is one of the most significant dark spots in American history. Most Americans would take the side of northern abolitionists whom argued that slavery was morally wrong and that the South should follow the social, economic, and political precedents set by the North. While it may hold true that slavery is morally wrong, southern slave owners argue that the abolitionists have no grounds to argue that the institutions and conditions of the North were more favorable than those of the South when in fact, they were extremely similar. They also argued that owning slaves was justified in the Bible, which was extremely important since religion was a huge moral argument for the abolitionists. By doing so the…show more content…
There is also an abundance of scholarly research, including research done by scholar Edward Pessen, that supports the institution of slavery by showing that statistics of the time period that boasted of northern supremacy were typically exaggerated. The northerners would boast of their own labor systems which they claimed allowed for social mobility, provided wages and good treatment for their workers, and did not tie their workers to being wage-earners their entire lives. It was argued by pro-slavery advocates, such as Hammond, that even though the North boasted of their system of free labor, their laborers were often treated with conditions as bad as those of the…show more content…
Among the most crucial is the way that slaves were treated. As a slave owner, Hammond defends himself and other slave owners by saying that “it is certainly the interest of all, and I am convinced that it is also the desire of every one of us, to treat our slaves with proper kindness” (186) and continues to say that “the Scotch and English are the worst masters among us, next to them our Northern fellow-citizens” (188). He argues that slaves must be well fed and clothed, “if not for humanity’s sake,” so that he [the slave] will be healthy and have a family (184). He also believes that because slaves were so expensive to purchase, the slave owner was essentially paying the slave by providing him with food and shelter. Although this was done to gain the most profit from their slaves, Hammond believes that the fact that almost all slaves were treated harshly and overworked is false. This exaggeration of the harsh treatment faced by slaves also encompasses the idea that a person could kill a slave without repercussions, but again Hammond dismisses this, saying that the murder of a slave in most, or possibly all slave states is punishable by death (186). The treatment of slaves can be compared to the harsh treatment of the northern factory workers, who had suffered poor working conditions and low wages. Therefore, the northerners were hypocritical

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