Slavery in the Nineteenth Century

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In Frederick Douglass's "What to the slave is the fourth of July?" what does he say the effect of slavery has on white people in the north?

According to John C. Calhoun's 1837 speech before the Senate, what were slavery's chief benefits for blacks?

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Calhoun's "Positive Good" speech before the Senate is sometimes seen as a turning point in the role of slavery in Southern politics. Since the Revolution, Southerners had generally argued that slavery was a necessary evil. Many had even publicly advocated gradual emancipation. But by the 1830s, the rise of the cotton economy placed slavery at the center of Southern society. Slavery was expanding, territorially and numerically. Additionally, the institution of slavery was coming under attack by abolitionists, who argued that it was an absolute evil that had to be destroyed. This provides some context for Calhoun's speech, especially for his claims about slavery.

Calhoun asserted that slavery was actually good for all people involved, including enslaved people themselves. In so doing, he argued that people of African descent were "distinguished" from whites, claiming that they were inferior. He further claimed that "the black race of Central Africa" had attained more moral and spiritual...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 914 words.)

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