HIST 2111 PAPER REVISED - Slavery has impacted the...

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Slavery has impacted the evolution of human societies over the span of recorded history. The inflicted human suffering, degradation and the loss of the moral imperative of freedom, self-determination, equality, and justice have outweighed its economic benefits. No part of the globe has been immune to the affliction of slavery including the United States of America, a nation established on the principles of individual liberties, where slavery lasted well into the 19 th century. Slavery had a large negative impact on the lives of not only blacks but whites as well in the United States of America, where a nation waged a war against itself in part because of differences over the involuntary servitude of blacks. The intimate understandings of the personal impact of slavery have been generated mostly from slave narratives and documents written by whites who observed the brutalities of slave life. Some have argued that persons who were not members of an oppressed group (i.e. slaves) could not have provided an adequate account of the horrors of slave life in the United States. The account and analysis of slavery in Peter Cartwright’s autobiography, when compared to actual slave narratives, provided distinctly different perspectives of societal/personal impact and responsibility. Although Cartwright clearly opposed slavery, his autobiography does not fully illustrate the inhumanity and the complex personal and family ramification of the trials and tribulations experienced by slaves depicted in their written and transcribed oral narratives. Peter Cartwright, a Methodist preacher from Virginia, opposed slavery. His opposition to slavery caused him to move from Kentucky to Illinois, a free soil state. He feared having his offspring exposed to the disturbances of slavery. Cartwright described slavery as a “domestic, political, and moral evil” (Cartwright, 13). Although most slaves probably agreed with this idea, Cartwright did not provide explicit details of the inhumanity of this “evilness” of slavery. He rather provided broad based religious justifications for his opposition to slavery that targeted the system of slavery and its impact on both slave and master alike. He also implied that the behavior of the slaves somehow cause the master to be “tempted and seduced” from the paths of virtue as if the slaves had some real power over their masters. It also suggested that master’s sexual abuse of his female slaves was not the fault of the master but rather an evil system. The lack of Christian of slave and master alike appear to be the genesis of the problem. This explanation provided a simple solution that emphasized religious conversion and
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This note was uploaded on 07/19/2010 for the course HIST NOT SURE taught by Professor Drberry during the Spring '09 term at UGA.

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HIST 2111 PAPER REVISED - Slavery has impacted the...

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