Slavery was a major problem in the United States of America in the early 19th century, and it still is a problem in many countries in current times. While slave owners make lots of money, they are essentially ruining the lives of their slaves. In the early 19th century slavery became economically entrenched, negatively affected human dignity, and ignored human characteristics.
Cotton economically entrenched slavery in the United States during the early 19th century.
Both the number and the price of slaves skyrocketed after Eli Whitney
invented the cotton gin. The cotton gin removed all debris from cotton after it
was picked by slaves. This new efficiency made the production of cotton very
profitable. Over the course of seventy years the United States went from producing
1.5 million pounds of cotton per year to 2.28 billion pounds of cotton per year.
In 1860 cotton produced 57% of the nation’s total export revenue. The northern
states claimed to oppose slavery when they were actually supporting it by pressuring
southern states to increase the amount of cotton they were producing. Slavery
was entrenched because the dependency the United States had on the large amount
of export revenue, which could only be supplied with slave labor.
|The Cotton Gin|
George Fitzhugh, a lawyer and author from Virginia ignored human characteristics and dignity while defending slavery. Fitzhugh grew up on a plantation and was racist. He believed that slavery should be a part of all societies. Fitzhugh said that “slaves of the south are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the world.” Fitzhugh formed this opinion based on the fact that slaved don’t have to worry about food, shelter, money, and only work for 8-9 hours a day. He believed that liberty and equality are destructive. Fitzhugh’s view point disregards the many negative aspects of slavery, and doesn’t appreciate freedom.
Slavery in the United States during the early 19th century was necessary to sustain the economy, but it disregarded human characteristics, and dignity. While slavery is widely unpopular with most people today, there are still those who share Fitzhugh’s opinion. These people who support slavery or even own slaves need to realize the suffering and destruction they are bringing to the lives of their slaves.
George Fitzhugh. Cannibals All or Slaves Without Masters. http://www.edline.net/files/_BEHdp_/460bb97a393063db3745a49013852ec4/Morality_of_Slavery_DBQ_Documents.pdf .
The Cotton Gin. http://etc.usf.edu/clipart/7800/7804/cottongin_7804.htm. Accessed 2-24-15.