Posted: February 26th, 2023

Discussion question


The unit 6 discussion explores a difficult concept: The defense of slavery. In your academic studies, it is important to understand that even institutions as abhorrent as chattel slavery have their defenders. In order to be academically honest historians, we cannot simply refute things we disagree with…we need to explore how institutions like slavery were viewed historically by examining the perspectives of those who lived at the time.


Your discussion post for Unit 6 is to:

Demonstrate an understanding of the defenses slavery apologists used and compare these arguments with the ones made by abolitionists of the same period.

Your discussion post should be written and formatted as follows:

· In 3 paragraphs, explore the justifications for slavery used in a primary source document and contrast these justifications with abolitionists arguments made in other primary source documents. See below for the list of primary source documents from the unit:

· Paragraph 1 should explore the arguments made for slavery and how the lives of slaves are characterized in the primary source “George Fitzhugh argues that slavery is better than liberty and equality” (This is linked below, with the Chapter 11 materials).

· Some GOOD questions to ask yourself when writing your first paragraph are:

· What are his feelings about liberty and equality?

· How does he use the Appeal to History fallacy?

· Which parts of his argument rely on paternalism?

· What are his feelings about wage-labor economy?

· What does he see as the consequences of this sort of labor regime?

· Does he see the plantation economy of the South as capitalistic or something else entirely?

· Paragraphs 2 & 3 should use evidence from other primary source abolitionist documents (links provided below) to refute the apologist arguments made in Fitzhugh’s document.

· Your posting should contain a minimum of three (3) paragraphs, with each paragraph containing 4+ sentences each.

Primary Sources Chapter 10:


David Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, 1829


William Lloyd Garrison Introduces the Liberator, 1831


Angelina Grimke, Appeal to Christian Women of the South, 1836

Primary Sources Chapter 11:


Nat Turner explains the Southampton rebellion, 1831


Harriet Jacobs on Rape and Slavery, 1860


Solomon Northup Describes a Slave Market, 1841


George Fitzhugh Argues that Slavery is Better than Liberty and Equality, 1854


Mary Polk Branch remembers plantation life, 1912


William Wells Brown, “Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States”


Painting of Enslaved Persons for Sale, 1861


Proslavery Cartoon, 1850

Responses to classmates:

Provide a substantive response to the posts of two classmates. When doing so, make sure to offer a unique, substantive point of your own that is supported by the primary sources. In other words, do not simply repeat back what the original poster or other commenters said or merely affirm what they said; instead make sure your response adds something significant and insightful to the conversation. Each response should be a minimum of 100 words long.


IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND regarding what your instructor is looking for:

· Your support for your discussion post should come from primary source documents only. DO NOT USE OTHER SOURCES.

· While direct citations are not required, please be sure you clearly refer back to the text to reference content you include in your post. It should be evident that you have read and understood the readings.

· IMPRESS YOUR INSTRUCTOR by using support from abolitionist documents to directly refute a point from an apologist document.

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