Critical essay 7 - Danielle Britt Critical Essay#7 Using...

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Danielle Britt- Critical Essay #7 Using Grimke and Armstrong as examples, how did both abolitionists and pro-slavery Christians use the Bible and Christian principles to come to their position on the issue of slavery? The institution of slavery proved to be a very polarizing issue in the years leading up to the War Between the States. Most Northerners wanted to abolish the institution of slavery while many Southerners defended and clung to the institution upon which their economy and culture depended. Many of these people were Christians who felt the Bible strongly supported their stance on the slavery issue. Pro-slavery advocates such as George D. Armstrong defended the institution on the basis that the Bible does not call slavery a sin and the fact that slavery was the means through which Africans were Christianized. Abolitionists like Angelina Grimke strongly disagreed, utilizing specific examples from the Bible as a foundation for their anti-slavery sentiments. Both Christian abolitionists and advocates for slavery utilized the same book and Christian principles to support their arguments either for or against the institution of slavery, yet came to two very different conclusions. Christians who defended slavery did so on the basis that the Bible does not call slave-holding a sin. According to Christians such as the Presbyterian minister George D. Armstrong, slavery could be divided into essential slavery and incidental slavery. i The first, essential slavery, was slavery as an institution. Armstrong argued that essential slavery was not a sin because the apostle Paul “treats [slavery] as neither a sin nor an offence”; in the Bible, Paul sends the runaway slave Onesmus back to his master which Armstrong interpreted to mean that Paul sided with those who owned slaves. ii In his opinion,
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