What Kinds of Arguments Did Southerners Use to Defend Slavery?
Physical abuse and unjust treatment were some of the reasons why slaves sought to be free from their slaveholders. They got whipped when they became idle in the field and they were only given cold bacon and molasses to eat. They also lived in terror every time they harvested less than what was required from them. They even get separated from their families. Because of this, slaves sought to put an end to the institution of slavery. However, Southerners had laid some arguments that slavery should not be abolished, like economics, history, and the welfare of their slaves.
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Southerners argued that the abolition of slavery would result in an economic crisis. Since cash crops like rice, corn, tobacco, and cotton were cultivated on acres of land, abolition would lead to unemployment and famine (Timmons). This would also lead to drying of cash crops since no one would be tending to it, hence, there would be a lower supply of such goods in the market.
Another argument used by the Southerners is that slavery existed from the very time of Abraham. Since the Romans and Greeks had slaves, so with the Southerners, they must have slaves (“The Southern Argument for Slavery”). They argued they needed slaves to aid and help them in doing errands and household chores.
Another argument used by the Southerners is about the wellness of their slaves. Since they thought that their slaves were inferior to them, they could take care of their slaves when they grow old and give them food and shelter. They could also provide employment and teach their religion to them (“Southern Justification of Slavery”).
For their own sake, Southerners cited reasons not to abolish slavery and laid the arguments to fight its abolition. They stated its advantages to their slaves but failed to look at it when they abused their power and authority.
“Southern Justification of Slavery.” Southern Justification of Slavery, https://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h244.html.
Timmons Greg. “How Slavery Became the Economic Engine of the South.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 6 Mar 2018, www.history.com/news/slavery-profitable-southern-economy.
“The Southern Argument for Slavery.” Ushistory.org, Independence Hall Association, www.ushistory.org.
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