The Enormity of Slavery
“Slavery is the great test question of our age and nation. It, above all others, enables us to draw the line between the precious and the vile, whether in individuals, creeds, sects, or parties”, as stated by Fredrick Douglas in the mid 1850s. Slavery can be stated as a civil relationship in which one person has absolute power over the life, fortune, and liberty of another. The term slavery emerged during the early 1620s when the first known Africans were dropped off by a Dutch ship (38). The role of slavery played a key role in the political, economical, social, and cultural aspect of the United States, especially the South.
The institution of slavery was essential to every characteristic that helped mold the United States from the sixteenth century on to the nineteenth century. Throughout the colonial and antebellum period, the majority of slaves lived in the South. After the American Revolution, the use of slaves began to die down because the consumption of tobacco fluctuated too much. However, in 1793, Eli Whitney created the cotton gin and this made things simpler for textile mills. Soon enough, cotton replaced tobacco as the main crop in the South and it made slavery profitable again. Hence the phrase stated by Senator James H. Hammond during the 1850s, “You dare not make war on cotton. No power on Earth dare make upon it. Cotton is King.” (366). The invention of the cotton gin deepened the South’s dependence on slavery (363). Between the 1800