Peculiar Institution Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:06:56
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Category: Slavery

Type of paper: Essay

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On September 23, 1861 Mrs. E. A. Spaulding of Central Village Windham County wrote Abraham Lincoln about the Peculiar Institution or Slavery. She believed that until it is abolished, civilization is impeded, humanity languishes and our boasted land of freedom is a practical lie. Two prominent persons of the era, John C. Calhoun and James Henry Hammond, thought the contrary. Calhoun and Hammond were strong defenders of Slavery. In his Mudsill Speech of 1858, Hammond justified the use of slaves through the Mudsill theory.

He said that in order for the upper class to be able to push the country forward, there had to be a lower class to support it. The lower class was needed to do the dirty job and the easy tasks. They were the ones with less intelligence and talent but had the energy, subservience and loyalty demanded by the job, referring to the Africans. In the North, the laborers were not paid enough. They had to work long hours and some ended up as beggars. There were many beggars in the North, but there were none in the South.

The slaves in the South enjoyed lifetime employment and because they were well paid, they did not have to beg, did not go hungry, were never out of jobs and neither did they have to work more than what they can do in a day. The slaves in the South were Blacks. They were from a different and inferior race. In working for slave owners in the South, their life had greatly improved. They had simple desires, little ambitions and they wanted no more than those. Both owners and slaves had no conflicts to disturb the peace of their days.

In the case of the North, their slaves were their own race. Hammond believed that such a situation can be humiliating for the slaves, though they are the majority. As this majority had voting rights, they were actually more powerful. With such power they can create the most trouble for their employers. In his Disquisition on Government, Calhoun disagreed with the Founding Fathers idea of the rights of individuals. He believed that it was not true that people were born free and equal.

The condition of life of the Blacks, being the inferior, had been improved by Slavery. They had become civilized, and their moral, physical and intellectual circumstances had changed for the better. Historically, there was never a society where part of it did not depend on the efforts of the other. The living and working conditions of the South were much better than those in the North. The Southern slave owners took care of his slaves and their families and were not subjected to the constant and unsettling labor problems in the North.

Calhouns strongest argument against the Abolitionists was that protection of domestic institutions was granted exclusively to the states. Since Slavery was a peculiar institution to the South, attempts by other states to abolish it was defiance of the Constitution. Pro Slavery advocates cited Biblical references to argue that slavery was allowed by the Lord and intended for it to continue. Exodus 21:5-6, the slave says I love my wife, my master and my children, I will not go free. ¦. nd that he (slave) shall serve him (master) for life.

In Ephesians 6:5, God instructs Servants, obey your masters of this world with fear and respect, with simplicity of heart, as if obeying Christ. In Genesis 9:26, Noah prayed to the Lord, Blessed be Yahweh, God of Shem, let Canaan be his slave. Titus 2:9 says Teach slaves to be subject to their masters ¦ Colossians 3:22 instructs Servants obey your masters in everything not only while they are present, to gain favor with them, but because you fear the Lord. In all these, the advocates believe that slavery did not go against the spiritual teachings.

There were also economic considerations in the use of slaves to work in Southern plantations. They were the most cost-efficient, available laborers. Their owners realized big returns of investments that they were able to give their slaves decent and comfortable lives, by way of homes, clothing, medical care and assurance of a stable future. The slave and their owners had a paternalistic relationship where the latter took care of the slaves like family.

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