Slavery was a well-known practice among southerners across the globe. Slaves were seen as property by Southerners who sold them at auction for cash, used them as cheap labor in the workplace, and gained their allegiance at home. As they were beaten and treated like property, slaves were not considered to be human beings in the South, where their investment in providing cheap labor allowed for high output. Slaves were viewed by Southerners as non-citizens and as productive farm equipment. Slavery was supported by economists, politicians, legal groups as well as religion who argued that slaves had a significant impact on the economy as they were the main foundation of the economy.

Southerners defended slavery citing that, abolishing slavery hood would result in widespread unemployment and crisis leading to drying up of crops and closing down of production companies. Even in the courts, all blacks including the slaves they were property as they had no legal standing as persons in the courts, and also the slaveholders were protected by the constitution and granted the right to their property (slaves). Slavery was practiced on all ages including young girl who become a slave and a property of her master, and could be threatened with punishment whenever she dared to stop at her grandmother’s place.

How Many Southerners saw Protection of Slavery as the Job of the Government to Uphold Traditional Property Rights

The government had a role of protecting slavery by denying citizenship to the slaves and blacks as a whole. Black citizenship was dependent on the status of the confederate states. Many southerners relied and pushed the government to reject any policies or law directed at offering citizenship to the blacks. The Supreme Court protected slavery as property through its ruling in the Dred Scott in 1858, where it ruled that African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves and non slaves would not be granted citizenship of the state. The southerners were after the government to ensure that there would no formation of a law that would abolish slavery or define and protect citizenship of blacks. Southerners wanted the government to pass laws to uphold traditional property rights as a way of preserving slavery through depriving away their human and political rights.

All political power was confined to the whites who represented the whites and blacks which gave them an opportunity to pass oppressive laws for the blacks. Southerners who were the majority pushed their representatives in the legislature to ensure protection of traditional rights in order to protect slavery. In 1865, the southern state legislature pass oppressive laws referred to as “black codes” that deprived away the civil rights of the slaves, which denied the blacks the rights to vote, and limited their freedom of movement. At times the slaves since they were property of the owners were not paid, as the master claimed that the law prohibited payment. The slaves were viewed as personal property as they were not allowed to express themselves and would even be beaten for no reason. One of the incident in the trials of girlhood, is that the young girl was peopled with young mind and unclean images and tried to turn from her master with hatred and disgust, but the master reminded him that she was his property and she must subject to his will in all things.

Slaves were blacks who were imported and held as property in American colonies for over a century. The southerners were dependent on the government to ensure no amendment would be made to the constitution in regard to abolishing slavery. The constitution protected slavery and inequality, as well as prohibition of congress from banning slave trade through upholding of traditional property rights. The southerners would only continue with the slavery through the support of the government because if slaveryhood would be abolished then it would be illegal to hold slaves, thus they would stand to lose. The government was seen as the only institution that would granted the southerners the right own property who included the slaves. Due to racial superiority, the traditional property right was recognized and upheld by the courts and the society as a whole, whereby slavery was carried out openly. There were slavery compromises in setting of policies by the southerners and northerners constitution framers. The southern delegates insisted on the protection of their slave property as they feared that slavery would come to an end and would end up losing.


Fountain, D. (2014). A Broader Footprint: Slavery and Slaveholding Households in Antebellum

Piedmont North Carolina. The North Carolina Historical Review, 91(4), 407-444.

Jacobs, H. A. (2003). Incidents in the life of a slave girl. Edited by L. Maria Child. North

Carolina Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1813-1897, 1-29

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