In defense of slavery. The debate in the Virginia legislature coincided with the publication of William Lloyd Garrison's first issue of the Liberator. The moral attack that the abolitionists mounted against slavery called for a new defense from the South. Rather than emphasize that slavery was a profitable labor system essential to the health of the southern economy, apologists turned to the Bible and history. They found ample support for slavery in both the Old and New Testaments and pointed out that the great civilizations of the ancient world—Egypt, Greece, and Rome—were slave societies. The most ludicrous defense of slavery was that enslavement was actually good for African Americans: slaves were happy and content under the paternal care of their master and his family,
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