Points of Creation versus Points of Destruction on Divergent Views
Slavery is goodSlavery existed in the human race for thousands of years. Most societies in all parts of the world have documented about slavery. Communities such as Christians, Muslims, Chinese, African communities and many others had slavery. Therefore, to live in the world without slavery took effort. As societies became civilized, eccentrics emerged to oppose it. Most of them argued that slavery was a moral monstrosity. However, there were those that were for slavery.
Some of the supporters of slavery argued that slavery is natural. Societies are complex, and therefore people differ. There are different levels in society, and, therefore, there are those that are superior to others. For instance, some have better intelligence, morality, technological prowess, or the capacity to fight. They will make themselves masters of the “inferior” people. Even Abraham Lincoln believed that there was a physical difference between the blacks and the whites. He believed that the white should have superior positions (Conrad and Meyer 97).
The other common argument was that slavery has always existed. This argument exemplifies the logical antiquity or tradition. This argument persuaded more people, especially those who had a conservative bent. Perhaps this may even convince those who were against it. Although we do not understand why social institutions exist, their persistence may be grounded in logic that most people are yet to understand (David 56). Defenders of slavery invoked the Bible. They noted that Abraham had slaves. Even Paul returned a runaway slave to his master. Additionally, Jesus never spoke against slavery in the whole New Testament.
Those that defended slavery argued that by comparison with other poor people in Europe and workers in the Northern States, slaves in America were better cared for. Their owners said that they provided them with clothes, food, and shelter. If they were released by their masters, they would have been left to fend for themselves, and would starve and die. Many who defended slavery also believed that ending slavery would have increased chaos and violence. Bloodshed and evils would have erupted (Drescher and Stanley 86).
There are even presidents that believed slavery was appropriate and owned slaves. George Washington owned many slaves during and after his rule as president. Thomas Jefferson also has slaves. Others include James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, John Taylor and James K. Polk. The presidents that owned slaves had them before the abolition of slavery; they were among the first American Presidents (David 56).
Some of the southerners believed that the abolition of slavery was impractical. The human race was meant to have slavery. Abolishing slavery was a utopian fantasy and impractical. This supports the argument that slaves were a part of society due to the social ranks. The world could not survive without slavery, there had to be masters and slaves.
Some supporters of slavery claimed it was divine. It brought Christianity to the “heathen”. The slaves never had experienced such advanced civilization before and through slavery, they became civilized and came to know God. The argument was that it improved them both physically and mentally.
Slavery is wrong
Slavery was abolished in the late 1800’s in America and the rest of the world. After centuries of slavery, the communities came to accept that slavery should not be part of our communities anymore. Those against slavery had some valid arguments about why slavery was wrong and why it should be abolished.
One of the reasons that slavery should be abolished is because it is based on racism. Slavery in America had the substantial element of racism. This is because some proponents of slavery argued that blacks were less intelligent than the whites. Some even believed their skin was black to withstand the heat during work. These are elements of racism. African Americans had no rights for a long time in America. However, slavery was not always based on race. Slavery was also based on the conquered and the conquerors. Those who were defeated and conquered in times of war were imprisoned and used as slaves (Conrad and Meyer 99). In other cases, slavery was used to pay off debts. Sometimes those with debts would give up themselves or give up their children to serve their masters. However, this does not make slavery right.
Slavery is wrong because it is based on violence. Since the beginning of slavery, it is replete with incidents of forced labor to the point of lashing the slaves. However, there are anecdotes of those who treated their salves with care. Slaves were forcefully taken from their homes such as Africa and taken to forced labor in America and Europe. As stated earlier, prisoners of war were also used as slaves. No labor should be forced through violence. Labor should be provided willingly, as a service. Despite the some close relationships forming between slaves and their masters, the difference in their status does not make it okay to use slaves. In the past, masters would commit crimes against their slaves and no action would be taken (Fogel and Stanley 59). This was because they were not considered as people but as property. Considering human beings as property is certainly wrong. Human beings are people with a conscience and should not be considered as property.
Slavery causes general human unhappiness. Slavery means the people are held against their will. Some were not well fed and treated. Slavery is also wrong because it denies payment to the workers. Some masters paid their slaves, but most of them never paid their slaves. Some of them paid them to improve their production. However, this does not mean that they were completely free (Wade 91). They could not leave at their will. Some slaves despite being paid had to pay a monthly fee. Slaves that had rare skills had better pay but still considered to be of the lower level than the rest of the community.
When one is made a slave, he or she is being robbed of what he owns. The masters rob the slaves of labor. Even when the masters pay their slaves and give them better conditions than they normally got, they had no opportunity to negotiate the terms of their labor. They were not given the choice of whether to work or not to work. They could not set the price of their labor. In slavery, the master is the decision maker because he or she owns the labor. A free man should have the right to allocate their labor depending on their will (Engerman 79). Time and labor belong to us. We have the right to use it how we want. If someone takes our time and labor through any means, then that is slavery. There is the common saying that “time is money”. Therefore, if you are being robbed of your time, the money is being robbed from you.
Looking from an economic perspective, having slaves reduced production because they were not motivated. Daniel Raymond believed that abolishing slavery wold reduce the conflict between the whites and the blacks. This would build a stronger and better society. A united society would improve the general production of America and the rest of the world. This was evident in the world war (Engerman 79). War brought about the sense of unity, and both blacks and whites were soldiers fighting for America. There was a sense of unity and pride for the country and the conflict within subsided.
With the differing opinions above on slavery, there are ways to make the community better without the violation of human rights. Slavery is unfair and is one sided. Everyone should have the right to use their time however they want. Everyone should have their fair share. Over the years, people have learned there is no difference between people of different races. The intelligence is equal and all other aspects. There is no one better than the other. Autonomy is a basic right. Having control over your life is important for the coexistence of communities. Additionally, slavery is bound to raise a conflict between communities. Divisions do not have benefit to either communities. The American community is based on religions. No religion advocates for the imposition of slavery as it is violence against another human being. “In God We Trust” is a common slogan among our leaders. Its time to live up to it.
Conrad, Alfred and Meyer, John. “The Economics of Slavery in the Ante Bellum South,” Journal of Political Economy 66 (April 1958): 95-130. Print
David, Paul ; Herbert, Gutman; Sutch, Richard; Temin, Peter; and Wright, Gavin. Reckoning With Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print
Drescher, Seymour and Stanley, Engerman. A Historical Guide to World Slavery. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.print
Engerman, Stanley (eds.), The Reinterpretation of American Economic History. New York: Harper & Row, 1972. Print
Fogel, Robert and Stanley, Engerman. Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Boston: Little, Brown, 1974. Print
Wade, Richard. Slavery in the Cities. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964. Print