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English

The Anti-Slavery Movement In America

In America, anti and pro-slavery discussions remained one the prominent topics during the nineteenth century. William Lloyd Garrison explains and expresses his concerns about the anti-slavery movement in America. The author speaks about the miseries and the tragedies suffered by blacks in America throughout history. The purpose of Garrison is to represent African Americans as humans who are capable of claiming equal rights. The author was against slavery and identified the rights of Africans. He stressed taking essential steps that would eliminate the concept of slavery. To capture the realities of slavery, Garrison mentioned, “their measures were physical resistance—the marshalling in arms—the hostile array—the mortal encounter. Ours are such only as the opposition of moral purity to moral corruption” (Garrison). Garrison criticized the role of American society in treating blacks as slaves and cattle. Slavery culture, according to the author, was against humanity.

Lydia Maria is another prominent anti-slavery speaker who used her writings to convince society about the realities of slavery. The author, through her poems and writings, tried to speak for equality and demand human rights for blacks. Maria identified the miserable conditions of the blacks due to the social inequalities and injustices. In her book “An Appeal in Favor of the Class of Americans Called Africans” (1833), she highlights the issues faced by Africans in America. In the book, she criticizes the role of American society, creating an unfair environment and unjustified survival opportunities for the minority population. Class discrimination remains one of the central issues portrayed in the book. The author identified the factors contributing to slavery and its persistence. The non-accepting attitude of Americans and their desire to acclaim privileges motivated them to treat blacks as outsiders and slaves. White Americans kept Africans as slaves in deprived conditions that influenced the lives of black generations. Lydia uncovers the realities of child treaties that contributed to school segregation and job discrimination. Slavery culture prevailed even in the twentieth century, apparent in the segregated housing and schools. No black child was permitted to study in the majority of white schools. The public schools for blacks did not meet the standards of quality education. Job discrimination was also visible as blacks faced fewer opportunities for employment or growth. She criticizes the inhumane practices prevailing in America, including child labour and the slave trade (CHILD).

Pro-slavery Argument

George Fitzhugh in the book “Slavery Justified” (1854) speaks in favor of slavery and its prevalence. The author identifies the factors that contributed to slavery and uses them as a justification to support class differences. The arrival of Africans in America increased competition in the job markets. In contrast, blacks were willing to take low-scale jobs and associate themselves with labouring. Fitzhugh justifies the role of state, “free competition is but another name for liberty and equality, and we must acquire precise and accurate notions about it in order to ascertain how free institutions will work. It is, then, the war or conflict to which Nature impels her creatures, and which government was intended to restrict” (Fitzhugh). The author argues that slavery was better than liberty because it was the only way to maintain order.

Hammond Harper is another pro-slavery author who justifies slavery in the American culture. He explains the reasons that brought Africans to America. He explains the role of cotton fields and white lords in providing work and food to black people. The conditions for the blacks improved in America as they lacked living opportunities in African land. The political and social philosophy presented by Harper justifies the prevalence of slavery in America (Harper).

Work Cited

CHILD, LYDIA MARIA. An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans. University of Massachusetts Press, 1996.

Fitzhugh, George. Slavery Justified. 1854.

Garrison, William Lloyd. Declaration of the National Anti-Slavery Convention. 1833. 16 04 2018 <http://fair-use.org/the-liberator/1833/12/14/declaration-of-the-national-anti-slavery-convention>.

Harper, Hammond. Cotton is King and Proslavery Arguments. Augusta: Pritchard, Abbott, and Loomis. E.N. Elliot, ed, 1860.

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