Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An essay, yes, it will bore you

Due to it being Exam week, I am going to post one of my papers. Yeah, it is long and boring, read it if you wish, or not

I totally forgot that today was call in gay day. I was planning on having a great response to this thing but I forgot all about it... Anyways, on Friday you can expect my full response to calling in gay, both the idea, the effectiveness (after it happens and I can see it), and what I would do as a boss.
again, sorry about that

I did not realize that the endnotes (sourcing) did not transfer. They are now listed at the end of the document in order that they should be, but not linked. Each time you see something like i or XI or something like that, it refers to an endnote with that numerical value. Again, sorry about this...
Please feel free to use these sources for your own information or use the essay as a source (SOURCE) if you need to. I can provide more information on all of my sources as well, if you ask nicely on this post

Defending Slavery, Demographic by Demographic
Robert M. Barga

Imagine, if you will, that you are transported back to the late 1840’s. You live in Kansas and believe strongly in state’s rights and in limited control from the federal government. You do not own any slaves, but you have friends who do, and friends who don't. You pay attention to politics and to the speeches that are coming from Washington; you think hard about what they say, and you are worried. You are worried about talk of a Civil War. Your immigrant friends and the poor white farmers are worried about free Negros competing with them for laborious jobs. Some of them are worried about what will happen if the Negros are set free. The unionists, and the Northern Democrats, that are your friends are worried about the potential split of the country; they feel the need to keep the current status quo, allowing each new state to decide, thus keeping the country from splitting. The religious amongst your friends worry about what is happening to the Negros who are torn from their families, how they are treated, and if it is God's will to let this happen. The Southern Whigs are concerned with northern moves of aggression, and are actively seeking out new states and territories to have slaves. You, well, you are worried about everything. In the next election, you need to decide if your soon-to-be-state will become a free state or a slave state. Roving bands of people, either armed, or persuasive, come at you on both sides of the issue; what will you chose?

None of you agree on your positions; you can find common grounds with one or another, but not with all at the same time. Most of the Northern Democrats are opposed to slavery, but they believe that each state should have the say in the issue.i The poor white farmers, along with the Immigrants, find no need to fight any upcoming war. They care little for both sides and are happy, somewhat, with slavery as it keeps them above Blacks. Without slavery, the Irish and the Poor White Farmers would be no better than the Blacks.ii Most of the religious friends were opposed to slavery. They woke during the Great Awakening and they believed that God condemned slavery. However, most are susceptible to change their argument based on which preacher they most recently listened to. The Mormons have no actual rule on the issue, so there are those that support slavery, those that abhor it, and those that own slaves.iii The Free Blacks, as with those who supported Free Labor, want the new states to be only free labor, and they feel that all of the states should migrate to free labor. However there are a few Free Blacks that own slaves and want to be able to expand into new territory. Most of the Southern Whigs wanted the right to take their slaves into the new territories and wanted all of the states to be slave. They felt that there was too much power in the free-states hands, and thus wanted to expand the country both to the West and to the South.iv

The Religious Amongst You.
A group of your friends gather together, maybe forty strong or so, representing a various range of demographics (conveniently) of America. Selected individuals are there to persuade all of you to either vote for slavery, or for freedom. A small, thread-beaten reverend, carrying the customary Bible, is the first to speak. He starts to preach of slavery in the Good Book, and how God not only thought it to be okay, but that God actually ordered slaves to go back to their masters. He mentions that the greats of all time, from Aristotle to Homer to Socrates, all had slavery, and they all talked about it without disdain. If these persons see it as fine, then it must be moral. He quotes some scripture to you and quickly summarizes it:
“When Sarai, Abraham’s wide, complained to him of the conduct of Hagar, her maid servant, he answered, ‘they maid is in thy hand, do to her as it peaseth thee,’ showing that she only wanted her husbands consent to punish Hagar as she pleased. We are then told, that, when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face into the wilderness-there the angel of the Lord found her; but, instead of relieving her distresses, and sending her to some free county, he told her to return and submit herself to her mistress.”v
While this speech is clearly meant to target the your religious friends, the Mormons and Quakers and those who found God during the Great Awakening shake their heads. God, as Brown had put it, clearly did not want slavery to exist. It was a moral sin, and thus it must be put out. While this argument has some sway over the less religious, as they had little reading to back up against, it mostly failed to hit its target. To the Northern Democrats, and the Southern Whigs, however, this was a good justification for slavery, and it allowed them to keep their stereotypical views.

Manifest Destiny And Political.
Many of your friends worry about the impact that slavery, or the lack thereof, and its effect on their move westward. The Southern Whigs, the Northern Democrats, and the immigrants all look at this issue with great interest. They want to move west, to get more land, and, for the immigrants, they want more job opportunities. A Senator's aide is the next to talk. He represents a Senator from South Carolina, one Mr. John C. Calhoun, and quotes from one of his bosses great speeches:
“…I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point of fact, live on the labor of the other…”vi
If the other great countries and empires had slaves, from Rome to Egypt, it could not potentially cause great harm to your country. In fact, it only will help your country out. It seems clear that these empires were great only due to their slavery, as they could regulate the menial tasks to those of lesser intelligence, and leave those blessed with higher thinking to running those empires. Northern Democrats, who wanted to expand, but allow popular sovereignty in all the states, has no qualms with this argument. Those supporting Manifest Destiny, and the Southern Whigs, who were attempting to keep the North from having too much power, agree with this logic. After all, more states admitted to the country would probably mean more states that were for slaves.

Those who look at the social aspect and Racial Theory
While not targeting any specific group, most of your friends are interested in the social possibilities of a free black person. The Free Blacks, believing that they were equal to Whites, were concerned with how Whites would view them. Poor White Farmers, on the other hand, wanted to show that they will always be better than Blacks, even if they currently were paid less. To address these concerns, an elderly scientist stands and explains to you that men are just like dogs; each breed is specific, and no tainting of the breeds is accepted by those who clearly care about their animals. He states that the breed of Negros clearly serve but one purpose, that is, they are here to serve us:
“…The Negro, on the contrary, is imitative, social, easily domesticated, and, as long as kept in subordination to a higher race, will ape to a certain extent its manners and customs. But the Negro rises only to a certain point of imitations – his intellect permits no approach to civilization but that of imitation, and, as soon as the race is thrown back upon itself and separated from the whites, as in the West Indies, it become savage.”vii
It becomes clear that the Negros are not able to maintain a social order on their own, and thus they must either live under the whites or apart from the whites. As they become savage on their own, it is concluded that they must live under whites. The Poor Farmers and the Immigrants used this to show that they were indeed better than Negros. They were the main target of this sort of justification, as were the Northern Democrats who could use it to still justify slavery while arguing for popular choice.

More Religious Reasons and Political
There is some grumbling from the Quakers and Mormons that are left in the crowd. They worry about the perception that Negros are actually better off under Whites. The Quakers worry about the humanitarian treatment of the Negros, and contend that we must treat them as fellow humans. The Senator's Aide, sensing this fact, rises to his feet once more and argues that being a slave is better for Negros then anything else would be. He believes that they are a war-like inferior species and they are better off than any working-class in any other country:
“Compare his condition with the tenants of the poor houses in the more civilized portions of Europe – look at the sick, and the old and infirm slave, on one hand, in the midst of his family and friends, under the kind super-intending care of his master and mistress, and compare it with the forlorn and wretched condition of the pauper in the poor house”viii
This argument is designed to make the Great Awakeners, the Mormons, and the Quakers all at least be somewhat comfortable with slavery. The concept was that even if slavery was condemned by God, letting the slaves go would be a greater harm to them, thus you would be sinning. It was the ethics of inaction sin is better than action sin. While this argument helped to convince the more border-line religious persons, and convinced several Poor Farmers and Northern Democrats that it was a necessary evil.

Northern Democrats were concerned largely with the legality of slavery. While they though that it should be allowed, and moved into states if the people supported it, they wondered if it was Constitutional. A small man, with beady eyes and spectacles, stands up to address this very point. He states that America was not founded on freedom for all, nay, America was founded with slavery in mind. He contends that the very Constitution allows slavery, and forbids the blacks from being citizens. Quoting from the Dred Scott Decision, he states:
“...We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the words 'citizens' in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges...”ix
This argument, that is, the argument that the Founding Fathers intended there to be slavery, was a huge boost in the thought process of the Northern Democrats as well as the Poor Whites and the Immigrants. If the Constitution never forbade slavery, and actually made it so that the states had the real choice in the matter, then their arguments worked. This was used to target these groups and worked to great effect. It even became part of the justification that the Northern Democrats would use for their defense of slavery via popular sovereignty.

Economy and Free Labor
While most of the Southern Whigs are satiated, as are those sharing their interest in Manifest Destiny, and the Religious and Free Blacks fully opposed, there remains only a few groups not yet swayed. A few Northern Democrats and most of the Immigrants are still not swayed one way or another on the issue. The last two guests stand, planning a quick debate. One, a Slavery proponent, feels that the economic loss from removing slavery would be too great. The other, a Free Labor proponent, feels that all men should own themselves, and that the economic loss is actually greater with slavery.

The Free Labor supporter starts the debate by explaining that Negros do not help the South's infrastructure, and they were not helping her economy. He mentions that there are major “statistical comparisons between the North and South, and free states took the lead in population growth, manufacturing, property values, agriculture, railroads, canals, and commerce”x. He then contends that this means that slavery is a failure, and thus it should be abolished. If the slaves are not helping as well as free people are, then slavery should be removed. This argument is targeting the Poor Farmers, the Immigrants, the Free Black and Free Labor movements. Also, this argument slightly targeted the Northern Democrats who opposed slavery but supported sovereignty. By stating that states were less likely to be worthwhile, to have money, and to have a solid infrastructure, the Free Labor argument made many of these groups worry about voting for slavery, as it could harm their chances at richness.

The Free Labor supporter then moves on, contending that: “Would be more economically sound in that it would encourage competition and foreign investment”.xi The Free Labor supporter showed that having competition would lower the prices of free workers, and it would get people to come time and time again, as there would be more competition and thus a threat to their job. Overall, he felt that it was important, both due to the economic benefits, and to the Lockovian relation, that each person own their own form of labor. This argument is geared at the Poor Farmers, business owners, and Northern Democrats. It is also slightly aimed at the Southern Whigs. It shows that you can get a cheaper, and overall more reliable, workforce if you have only free labor. It also implies that they could be richer if there were free labor. The problem with this argument is that it pushes away Immigrants and the Poor Farmers. Both groups want the jobs that Negros would be taking, and both are afraid that free labor would leave them penniless and at the bottom of the social hierarchy. This argument would work to convince anybody in a middle class position, or a store/factory owner, but it did not work on the lower classes.

The slavery supporter is next on the soapbox, and he begins by admitting that free labor will get more done in any given time:
“…the labor of slaves, for each hour or day, will amount to but two-thirds of what hired free laborers would perform in the same time…”xii
He talks about how free labors are quicker workers than the Negros, as their incentive is more cash while the slaves would have the only incentive of the whip. If the Negro works just fast enough, he gets the exact same things as if he worked as quickly as he could. For the free laborer, he gets more in pay, and a potential for more jobs. This argument targets the Immigrants just as it targeted the Poor Whites. The idea that blacks work less than they did was an important factor, as it showed that they were still better than the Blacks, regardless of their pay or perceived worth.

He continues to explain that free labor can not be cheaper than slave labor, and that they are not directly comparable:
“The mistake of those who maintain, or admit, this generally asserted proposition, that ‘free labor is cheaper than slave labor,’ is caused by assuming as true, that self-interest induces free hirelings to labor continuously and regularly. This is never the case in general…”xiii
With this argument, the economics of slavery is clearly laid out. This argument is directed at Business and store owners, and to the Poor Whites. It contends that while Whites may work faster and better, you can only count on Slaves being there time and time again. To the Whites that dream of owning a plantation (poor whites), and to the business owners, this is a needed situation. The Immigrants, however, were offended by this contention, and the idea that they were less accountable then a Black was an insult to them. The Northern Democrats, along with the Southern Whigs, also agreed with this in concept, as it was clear that a steady workforce was better for the economy and for businesses than a shoddy one.

As you sit there, pondering which way you will be voting for your state, free or slave, you notice how your friends line up. Those who are religious, and actively involved in the Great Awakening, find that slavery is an immoral issue. They feel that no person has the right to own another. The Mormons, on the other hand, had no rule against slavery. Some of them were convinced that slavery is good, as indicated by the religious statements early on in the night. Others, believe it to be just, but would not support it.

Some of your friends are swayed by the Free Labor argument. Those who proudly work their stores, and work with hired help that is indeed constant and honest, agree that Free Labor is the way to go. They think that our country was set up with Free Labor in mind, each person owning their own work. The Blacks and the religious feel that free labor is the way to go. The Immigrants and the Poor farmers, on the other hand, do not support Free Labor in any form. They are afraid of losing jobs, not being sure that the help would show up, and the economic impact upon their wallet. They are also afraid that free Blacks will place them lower on the social hierarchy.

Those who were for Manifest Destiny, along with the Northern Democrats and the Southern Whigs, feel that slavery is needed to expand the country. All the parties wanted to expand, and all felt that slavery was needed for this. Their main differences were about its institution, whether it be in all the new states, as the Whigs wanted, or if it were to be in only the states that chose to have it, as the Democrats wanted.

The Legal argument has rung home with every class of your friends. Those who wish to justify slavery, from the Northern Democrats to the Souther Whigs use the fact that it is allowed in the Constitution as clear evidence that it is okay. The Poor Farmers, and the Immigrants, care less about it be Constitutional and more about their wallets, but the argument also gives them arguments for why it is proper to allow slavery.

The social argument targeted those that were still on the fence and those that were religious but only leaning towards anti-slave. By arguing that Negros were inferior, or that the slave owners were in fact helping them, the Mormons and the Northern Democrats were able to justify slavery as it would cause more harm to end it. All of your friends are arguing with you and the newspapers are all contradicting what the other one’s say. It is your vote, what are you going to do with it?

1. referencing Douglas' support, last seen 12/5
2. , last seen 12/5
3. , last seen 12/6
4. , last seen 12/5
5. Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from the printed De Bow’s Review argument for slavery. Page 110-111
6. Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from Sen. Calhoun’s speech to the US Senate. Page 59
7. Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from Nott’s “Instinct of Races”. Page 205
8. Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from Sen. Calhoun’s speech to the US Senate. Page 59
9.Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from SCOTUS Dred Scott Decision. Page 135
10. Professor Brendan McConville, “From Jacksonian Democracy to Sectional Conflict”, lecture given at Binghamton University November 28, 2001.
11.,10,The Economic Debate referencing the free labor arguments, last seen 12/5
12. Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from Ruffin’s The Political Economy of Slavery. Page 65
13. Defending Slavery, Paul Finkelman. Referenced from Ruffin’s The Political Economy of Slavery. Page 65


Harold Thomas said...

Being an older guy, I suppose I have a longer attention span. Your essay was well-researched and well-written.

It is easy with hindsight to judge what others should have thought many years ago; but history would be more helpful to us if we viewed it through lenses like your essay.


Barga said...

Being an older guy, I suppose I have a longer attention span. Your essay was well-researched and well-written.

--Thanks. The essay was for school so it needed to be well researched and written. Granted, it is more narrative than it should be, but we will see how i did with that. You notice the little marks with quotes (e.g. X, XV), well those should be foot notes... Will be fixing that in a bit so you can see it more in depth...--

It is easy with hindsight to judge what others should have thought many years ago; but history would be more helpful to us if we viewed it through lenses like your essay.

--That was my attempt with the narrative. Sure, I think that slavery is an absolute evil, but understand how people thought makes you demonize them less, and I hate it when people demonize others--


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