Justifications for the Institution of Slavery during the Antebellum Era In Chapter 11 , it was stated that Slavery is primarily a labor system intended to produce wealth for landowners . It increasingly became a capitalistic enterprise intended to maximize profits . As such , it was tied to a growing international web of economic relations By 1820 , the South became the world ‘s largest producer of cotton . Cotton required continuous development , land , labor demand and a global system of trade . As such , it depended increasingly on the slave-based economy However , the Upper South was experiencing a long depression and it affected prices .
To survive , either the planters move or stay and diversify . Diversification meant shifting to grains and to selling slaves . Soon , the internal slave trade became a multi-million dollar industry Until the 1830 ‘s , slavery was explained as a necessary evil However , the call for abolition of slavery was becoming stronger and they had to change their justification for maintaining slaves to make it more acceptable . The Southerners started to label slavery as a positive good ‘ They based their justifications on five sources – the bible , history , the Constitution , science and sociology
The biblical justification makes reference to the curse imposed upon Ham , Noah ‘s son and the various verses from both the Old and New Testament reprimanding servants to always obey their masters . For its historical justification , they pointed out that all ancient civilizations were based on it and most likely even the current civilization depended on the servitude of the blacks in America The Constitution was their reference to its legal justification which refused to abolish slavery and various laws passed protecting it such as the overseas slave trade and mandate for returning slaves to rightful owners .
They also turned to science and twisted the data an conclusions to justify that blacks were an inferior race based on the cranial shape and size and must , therefore , submit to their destiny to work for the superior Caucasians ‘ Lastly , the sociological justification was made more clear by the paternalistic statement as advocated by George Fitzhugh that the ‘Negro is but a grown child and must be governed as a child ‘ and so needed the paternal guidance , restraint and protection of a white master
Be that as it may , to free the blacks would mean giving up our beautiful country to the ravages of the black race and amalgamation of the savages On the humanitarian side , they said that it would be heartless to release them especially after seeing that the blacks can only be industrial laborers working like slaves for meager pay from which they will have to use to pay for shelter , food and clothing . They will be a burden to the white people who have to compete for the same job and a burden to themselves for having to fend for themselves without the nurturing protection of a master
These justifications were had to be well-thought of so that it would not run contrary to the prevailing ideological directions of the American society at that time which espoused individual liberty mobility , economic opportunity and democratic political participation Moreover , they cannot afford to antagonize the probably envious non-slave owning whites that they had to emphasize white superiority regardless of class
The truth of the matter is that behind all these justifications , the real motive is money . By 1860 , the crop per value of a slave is 125 Enslaved women increase their value whenever they give birth to healthy children . A prime field worker which sold for 600 in 1844 can go as high as 1800 following a cotton boom . All things told , what mattered most is that slavery is profitable