History 146 Corruption of Slavery

History 146 Corruption of Slavery - John Burrows The...

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John Burrows History 146 April 3, 2007 The Corruption of Slavery In an era of harsh realities and increasing sectionalism, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs stood out amid the controversy in what came to be one of the most significant periods in American history. The former slaves’ incredible first hand accounts shed light on the long disregarded atrocities that plagued Southern Antebellum Society. Douglass and Jacobs recount the infectious characteristics that corrupted the slavery system and set out to expose the truth. The narratives were aimed to raise awareness in the North and inform those who had been previously misled. Many Northerners were not aware of how terribly slaves were actually treated and to reveal what had been covered up was essential in order to gain support. For the system of slavery to be successful owners resorted to dehumanizing and violent means in an attempt to crush morale and prevent disobedience. The simple fact that Jacobs and Douglas could lead such a campaign challenged the common contention of black inferiority and came to be known as pioneers in the fight for social justice. Northerners had constantly been misled by the Southerners in an attempt to conceal the truth and avoid criticism, leaving the slaves helpless as the corruption spread throughout the South. Southern economy thrived in a time of social hierarchy and feudalistic plantations whose success unfortunately depended on slave labor and complete control. In a culture where honor and reputation were so valued, there was little reason for slave owners and business men to question their ethics. Such a lack of priority created dehumanizing masters whose sole focus was their status. The fight for social
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status corrupted many slave owners and seemed to erase any sort of morality. Views towards blacks deteriorated as racism and complete domination became increasingly accepted and defended while it spread throughout white culture in the South. The mid-1800’s brought new challenges to the young United States as the North and South grew apart. Rise of cities and wage based labor increased in the North leading to little need for unskilled labor. Disapproval of Southern customs and specifically slavery played big role as America expanded westward. Most Northern states had abolished slavery by 1800 and opposed its expansion, where as in the South support was higher than ever. The dispute over slavery had been largely fueled by the invention of
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