Slavery DBQ

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, Abraham Lincoln Pages: 2 (537 words) Published: December 1, 2013

Slavery, abolished in the United States in 1865, has had an extremely controversial past. During the 1800s, the United States was split in half in regard to this issue; the North was anti-slavery, while the South was pro-slavery. Although the North saw the many evils engulfed inside slavery, the South defended slavery and interpreted the institution as a positive good.

The South had many arguments on why slavery should remain legal. One of the largest points that the South had in regards to slavery was that the sudden end to the slave economy would have had a profound and killing economic impact in the South where reliance on slave labor was the foundation of their economy. The South relied on slaves to plant and harvest America’s biggest cash crop: cotton. “The cultivation of the great staple crops cannot be carried on in any portion of our country where there are not slaves” (Document B). Eli Whitney, an inventor born in the Northern state of Massachusetts, created the cotton gin in hopes to create less of a need for slavery. However, this plan backfired when plantation owners used Eli’s invention to harvest even more cotton which required even more slaves. Slave owners also argued that if all the slaves were freed, there would be widespread unemployment and chaos which would lead to uprisings, bloodshed, and anarchy. The South used the French Revolution as an example of how the mob can create a “reign of terror”. Defenders of slavery also stated that slavery had existed throughout history and was the natural state of mankind using the Greeks, Romans, and the English (who had only recently abolished slavery) as examples.

Obviously, the North had a very different view on slavery than the South. The North felt that slavery was completely immoral and unnecessary to the success of the nation. One of the biggest issues that the North had with slavery was that the African people were in no way inferior and should be treated as equals. Even some of those...
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