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Reasons for Slavery Thesis Paper

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Whitney Hall

Thesis: As Europeans began to explore and claim the "New World," it became evident that a source of free labor was necessary if any profit was to be gained. Out of all of the people who could have been subjugated for the sake of their goals, Caucasians ultimately chose Africans. This occurred for a number of reasons.

Argument 1: Africans were hardier than other peoples. When Europeans first arrived on what is now American soil, they tried to enslave Native Americans. Eventually, they found that the Native Americans became sick and died rather easily, and could not handle the difficult manual labor they required. Africans were also better suited to manual labor than white indentured servants, because they came from hot climates and were used to carrying out more strenuous tasks.

Argument 2: It was believed that the Bible justified slavery. The Curse of Ham became an infamous phrase. It referred to the biblical event in which Ham saw his father, Noah, drunk and naked. Noah became angry and embarrassed and placed a curse upon Ham which essentially suggested that Ham and his descendants would become enslaved to mankind. It was suggested that Ham was African, and the curse of Ham became a major component of the religious argument in favor of slavery of Africans.

Argument 3: People of African descent were considered subhuman. One of history's most revered philosophers, Aristotle, stated clearly that some people were born to lead, while others were born to serve. These "natural servants" or slaves should be persons who did not have the capacity to take care of themselves or to lead others. Caucasians deemed Africans barbaric and uncivilized because their cultures did not align with what Caucasians deemed to be right and orderly. For this reason, it was believed that Africans could not handle autonomy and must be under the rule of another race.

Argument 4: By the 19th century, slavery was so deeply embedded in the nation's functioning that it was considered vital to the economy. People feared that without the institution of slavery, the nation would succumb to financial depression and general malaise.







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