Paternalism: Slavery and White Slave Owners

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Writer Gerald Dworkin refers to paternalism as an interference with a person’s liberty of action that is justified particularly with reasons including the welfare, happiness, needs and interests of the person being oppressed. The aim of my essay is to investigate the slavery period in the Cape Colony during the nineteenth century with regard to the prevalence of paternalism between slaves and their masters. By means of suitable sources that justify this statement as well as proof of opposing opinions I will be able to discover if paternalism very well did exist during the slavery period in the nineteenth century and also why people tend to believe this.

Slavery in the Cape Colony
With colonialism came slavery and the
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One principal proclaimed by anti-paternalist writer J.S Mill, “is that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” In Mill’s proclamation, not one simple principle is being emphasized, but rather a few intricate opinions regarding an individual’s own good. He is asserting that self-protection or the prevention of harm to others is sometimes sufficient and that someone’s own good is never a sufficient authorization for the exercise of domination. Slavery as Paternalistic
The close contact between white masters and slaves in the Cape created immensely oppressive conditions as slaves were unable to develop their own slave culture to escape the lack of freedom and individuality that have been taken from them. Therefore, slavery swiftly developed in to a system for regulation and monitoring of slaves for social control by white owners. This form of social control is greatly viewed as the beginning of soft-paternalism in the Cape Colony.
The Dutch East India Company (VOC) never enforced laws to prevent interracial relationships between white owners and slave women which was an extremely prevalent occurrence during the slave period in the Cape Colony. White
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