preview

The Moral Dilemma And Hypocrisy Of Slavery Essay

Better Essays
On May 29th, 1856, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in which he addressed the moral dilemma and hypocrisy of slavery. “We cannot be free if this is, by our own national choice, to be a land of slavery.” President Lincoln’s rhetoric reflects the challenge to define freedom in America; moreover, it reflects his morality and commitment to upholding personal freedom. It justifies why he does not ignore slavery, as well as why he did not see slaves as property, but as a group of humans who had been abusively denied freedom, and stripped of their humanity for no reason other than avarice personal gain. Slavery was coerced labor that relied heavily on intimidation, brutality, and dehumanization. Regardless that it was once a legal and cultural institution integral to the economic development of the early American economy, slavery was and always will be one of the most horrific violations of human rights. With that in mind, slavery infected American culture in the 17th century, and unfortunately lasted several hundred years. Over the course of that time, slaves produced narratives that sought to garner popular support for bringing an end to slavery. Of the prolific abolitionist narratives published, notably, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs ' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl were praised for how their rhetoric challenged slavery. These narratives, combined in Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s The
Get Access