what is your opinion on this quote? (this is for anybody)"slavery is a weed that grows in every soil" by Stanley Baldwinplease give me your opinion... thank you

11 Answers

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Intriguing.  It is basically saying to me that slavery is not unique to any continent or group of people.  It occurs wherever there are people since humanity is basically the same.  It has always been in human nature to be competitive and to conquer one another.  Watch two brothers or boys at play and see if the whole "alpha male" thing doesn't rear it's ugly head at some point.  It is in our nature to be the "best" which means that on every kind of soil in the world there have been the conquered (slaves) and the conquerors (masters).

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dkgarran | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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This could be interpreted to mean that there is the potential for slavery in every society. What makes the difference between slavery becoming a part of a society's fabric is whether or not it is cultivated by a leader and accepted by the people.

I think post number one makes a valid point because it alludes to the fact that anyone, anywhere is capable of discrimination, prejudice and subjugating others. In order to promote such behavior, it has to be accepted by everyone in society and endorsed by those in power.

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Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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If you want to take a wider view of the passage, consider that slavery can refer to a condition other than the repression of one group by another. An individual can become enslaved by forces other than political power. One can become enslaved by poverty, for instance, or by ignorance and the lack of an education. Some are enslaved by the use of drugs and alcohol. Some make themselves slaves to tradition and conformity or to the desire for financial success. Emerson addressed the idea of personal slavery in his essay, "Self-Reliance." The potential for slavery in many forms exists in human nature itself.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I completely agree with the quote because slavery does not have to be physical slavery.  One can be enslaved mentally and socially, such as many North Koreans are since they lack access to viable news, other cultures, or even the Internet.

Post #2 makes a good point that humans must be careful about cutting down the weed of slavery because it does not solve the problem.  If someone could develop a way to eradicate the weed at the root, the world would obviously be more productive and harmonious.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is essential for all societies to resist the temptation to overtake another society.  The protection and maintenance of social voices and identities are critical elements for democratic orders and individual freedoms to exist.  In understanding that societies possess a distinct possibility to control and overtake another, it is critically important to recognize this propensity and avoid it all costs.


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alexb2 | eNotes Employee

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I think it's interesting because it seems to say that slavery is not the curse of one particular nation, but something that has existed and will exist, in every place on earth. It also means that people should be vigilant about cutting down the weed if it starts to grow in a society.

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monicabenson | Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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I believe this quote is true. When Christopher Columbus first saw Native Americans his first thought was towards how they could serve him. It seems that it is human nature to view cultures we cannot see ourselves in as "the other." This effect has been dehumanizing throughout history.

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mh41602 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

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Slavery is a weed that grows in every soil. Slavery being the imprisonment of an unfree people to work against their will for purposes of labor. Every soil describes different lands all over the world, and a weed would be something unwanted. So to conclude, imprisoning people to work against their will all over the world is unwanted because freedom should be a personal choice and work should be for pay.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Yes, slavery is a weed that, like all weeds, grows in every soil. It is natural tendency of individuals to give more importance to personal gain than to rights and freedom of others. But this does not mean that all societies are equally fertile ground for development and sustenance of exploitation of others in general and slavery in particular.

I do not wish to hurt sentiment of any particular set of people by naming any particular country or region, but I do suggest that many people who criticize India for its caste system - which is no longer a means of oppression in India,  and accuse India of human rights violations, look critically at the past as well as current situations in their own countries and societies. This would contribute in making this world a better place.