American Anti-slavery Movement And Society

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Slavery; the state of being a slave or a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them. Slavery started in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia and became quite the commotion as time carried on; mainly in the 19th century during a widely participated abolition altercation, a heavily debated and strongly politicated contreversy between the northern states, the union, and the southern states, the confederacy. The north believed slavery was a sin and should not be allowed whereas the south believed slavery was a way to accomplish farmer’s goals’ and to complete seasons with a profit, some being greater than others. With time, some influential and popular politicians gave statements from both sides expressing their various and intricate ideas ranging from religious to innovative to explicit.

Some of these slavery promoters include John C. Calhoun and George Fitzhugh. John C. Calhoun incorporates in his statement that slavery is a “positive good” and can be efficiently used as an “advanced state of of wealth and civilization”. Calhoun says the “different origins” come together to complete the same task… produce and distribute cash crops. He advances into stating “the political condition” so called slavery, has been “much more stable… than that of the North”. He proceeds to mention “slavery exempts Southern society from the disorders… resulting from this conflict”. George Fitzhugh, with the same general idea, concluded that the “laboring classes enjoy more material comfort” than that of those having to pay for their own housing, food, clothing, etc.; yet the “crime demonstrate[s] that the moral superiority of the slave over the free laborer is still greater”. He proceeds to conjecture that without the masters, or freemen, the slaves would have no one attending to them or as Fitzhugh distinctively conveyed as “a class so degraded as is found about the wharves and suburbs of cities”. Seeing as these two are from the south, they may have been biased, but they may also have been speaking what they individually believe, disregarding their background. Although, more spoke against slavery than for.

Of these was Theodore D. Wells, James G. Birney, Declaration of American Anti-slavery society, Henry David Thoreau, William Loyd Garrison, and David Walker. Theodore D. Wells descriptively tells about his position on the subject by beginning with the words “barbarous inhumanity”. Such words posses a certain extent of passion to the topic of slavery. This extended into “flogged with terrible severity” and “branded with red hot irons”. Contradicting Fitzhugh’s ideas of slavery, Wells describes the slave’s life as “overworked, underfed, wretchedly clad and lodged, and have insufficient sleep”. Lastly, he states very clearly that they become “mutilated and burned to death”. James G. Birney took a religious take on the idea that slavery was a “sin before God” and that “men have no more right to enact slavery, than to enact murder… incest or adultery”. The Declaration of American Anti-slavery society implied that slavery was the “deadliest curse” and “the violent stain that rest upon our nation”. He also descriptively confirmed that it deviated from the idea of “LIBERTY, JUSTICE, AND HUMANITY”. Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Obedience” excerpt was unique as it involved the government by specifically using the word law. He said “if the law… requires you to be an agent of injustice… I say, break the law!” William Loyd Garrison exclaimed “lift up the standard of emancipation”. Garrison “bondmen” should be “set free” and that “southern oppressors” should “tremble”. He takes a stand in a very confident and demanding tone when he claims he “will not excuse” and that he “WILL BE HEARD”. David Walker personally attacks the south and his goal is to uncover the south for all Americans to see hoping they will join the north. He says, regarding the south, “they have done us so much injury” and “their hearts will be hardened”. Walker also warns the south to “repent and reform, or [they] are ruined”. These aboloitionists, or anti-slavery followers, strongly believed in what they were sharing with the world and accomplished this through many different ways.  

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