Guest Author - Rebecca Graf
Thomas Read Rootes Cobb wrote in 1858 in his “An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America” pamphlet that “the most enlightened have, at some period within their existence, adopted it as a system; and no organized government has been so barbarous as not to introduce it amongst its customs.” He was one voice who firmly believed that slavery was part of a great civilization. After all, Rome had slaves, and it has been admired by all as a great civilization that was emulated even in the formation of the young country. The fact that America had slavery was not seen as a black mark against the rising nation. It was just one of many throughout history and the great ones at that. As societies organized from wandering bands of people into groups of people creating cities and cultures, the need for cheap labor increased. Products were needed which meant labor was required. If it could be obtained “costing no more than the minimum of food and lodging”, money is saved which in turn helps to strengthen and grow the civilization. Slavery was a perfect source of that as labor only cost a little extra for those who owned them and they were easy to obtain. As the civilizations grew, so did their conflicts. Wars were common between groups of people which resulted in losers being taken in as slaves and forced to work for the winning side. It was a brutal fact of history that was used by the slavery supporters as they dug into the history annals to show that slaves have been deemed lawful articles of commerce by the customs and laws of every nation; that the traffic in them is as old and universally prevalent as that is any other commodity; that the law of captivity, originating in necessity, and founded in mercy, justice, and right, gradually inwrought itself into the texture of government and society, and imposed its authority favorably upon communities, that it became a paramount principle of national law.
History seemed to be full of evidence and justification for the use of slavery in society.
A Texan. The Yankee Slave-Dealer. Nashville, Archive.org, 1860, http://archive.org/details/yankeeslavedeal00abolrich.
“Arguments and Justifications.” The Abolition Project. http://abolition.e2bn.org/slavery_112.html
Berlin, Ira. Many Thousands Gone: the first two centuries of slavery in North America. Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1998.
Brown, William Wells. Clotelle, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/241/241-h/241-h.htm.
Buckingham, Goodsell. “The Bible Vindicated from the Charge of Sustaining Slavery.” Columbus: The Temperance Advocate Office, 1837. http://antislavery.eserver.org/religious/biblevindicatedrevisedfinal/.
Cobb, Thomas Read Rootes. “An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America.” Archive.org.
Davis, Jefferson. “Speech of Mr. Davis, of Mississippi, on the Subject of Slavery in the Territories,” Archive.org, 1850.
Douglass, Frederick. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, (Boston: Anti-Slave Office, 1848), 2-3.
Elliott, E.N., ed. “Cotton is King.” Archive.org. http://archive.org/details/cottoniskingandp28148gut.
Exodus 22: 21-24. King James Bible. BibleGateway.org,
Fitzhugh, George. Cannibals All!, or Slaves Without Masters. 1857. http://archive.org/details/cannibalsallorsl35481gut.
Genesis 9. King James Bible. BibleGateway.com, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%209&version=KJV.
Helper, Hinton Rowan. “Why the North Has Surpassed the South.”
The Impending Crises of the South. http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/helper/helper.html.
“History of Slavery.” History World. http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/plaintexthistories.asp?historyid=ac41.
Hunt, James. On the Negro’s Place in Nature. London: Trubner, 1863.
Ingersoll, Charles Jared. “African Slavery in America.” Antislavery Literature. http://antislavery.eserver.org/proslavery/african-slavery-in-america/, 1856.
Leviticus 25. The King James. Bible Gateway.com. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=leviticus%2025&version=KJV.
Lewis, Evan. “Address to Christians of All Denominations on the Inconsistency of Admitting Slave-Holders to Communion and Church Membership”. Antislavery Literature, 1831, http://antislavery.eserver.org/religious/addresstochristians/addresstochristians.html.
Liberty Party Platform. 1844.
Ross, Dr. F. A. “Position of the Southern Church in Relation to Slavery.” Archive.org. 1857.
Sawyer, George S. Southern Institutes. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1859.
Stowe, Harriet Beecher. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Gutenberg, 1852, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/203/203-h/203-h.htm
Webster, Daniel. Speech Before the Senate of the United States, 1848. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi/bin/query/r?ammem/rbaapc:@field(DOCID+@lit(rbaapc3310 0div3))
Wilson, William. “The Great American Question”. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/rbaapc:@gield(DOCID+@lit(rbappc34000div0)), 1848.