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The Contrasting Views of Pro-Slavery vs. Abolitionist Essay

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Throughout the history of mankind, slavery has existed in one form or another. Since the times of ancient civilizations to modern era subjugations, there have forces who feel strongly of its necessity and purpose, while others have devoted themselves to seeing the ideas and acts of slavery abolished. America is not an exception to the concept of slavery and during the nation’s early history, parties from both sides have been made famous for their beliefs in the continuation or the denouncement of slavery in the United States. To understand the contrasting views of pro-slavery advocates versus abolitionists in antebellum America, a comparison of the individual positions must be made to further understand the goals of each party. A…show more content…
Dr. Samuel Cartwright was a physician and pro-slavery advocate during the 1800’s and is well known for his diagnosis of drapetomania, a supposed disease that made slaves runaway. He concluded that the reason African slaves sought to escape was because they were treated inadequately by their masters. Delving deeper in his writings it is discovered he too, like George Fitzhugh, approved of enslavement. Both men advocated the issue and have similar analyzes on how slaves are or should be treated. Cartwright expresses to his audience that slaves will most likely run (drapetomania) if they are treated poorly by their master; “according to my experience, the "genu flexit"--the awe and reverence, must be exacted from them, or they will despise their masters, become rude and ungovernable, and run away,” (Cartwright). Dr. Cartwright believed if slaves were managed properly they would be less likely to run and create undesirable situations for the owners; “If treated kindly, well fed and clothed, with fuel enough to keep a small fire burning all night--separated into families, each family having its own house--not permitted to run about at night to visit their neighbors, to receive visits or use intoxicating liquors, and not overworked or exposed too much to the weather, they are very easily governed--more so than any other people in the world,” (Cartwright). However, he also comments in his writings that if slaves are treated to fairly they would become
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