Throughout history many things have happened that were by many thought to be unconscionable. Yet, the people who were putting their mark of un acceptance upon those committing these thought to be deplorable acts, were unaware of the actual situations, and in many cases, committing the same acts themselves. This was true during the Holy Wars, the Crusades and similar events. People who were not involved, often thought these acts of inhumanity to be reprehensible, but the parties involved, in their minds, had just cause for what they were doing. When looking back at events such as these, one can't help but wonder, "what the heck were they thinking?" When in actuality the people of those times felt that what they were doing was totally justified.
The same is true for the institution of slavery. In modern times however, most people find such an institution to be worthless and inhumane. When one observes slavery through the eyes of a southerner during that period, a plethora of justifications would be present. Also, Southerners of that time had reason to believe that the basis of the northern economy was more corrupt than theirs. When defending slavery the first aspect that one must look at is that slavery was the basis of the southern economy. To put an end to slavery without reimbursement for southern losses would have been crippling to their whole economic structure.
1 Reimbursement was also practically impossible since slaves, being human, were able to reproduce like the rest of their white counterparts. Though slaves needed not to be paid for their work on plantations, money was needed to provide for their care. That means that the south did not have a leg up on the north who had to pay the sometimes almost non-existent wages of their workers. To be a slave at certain plantations could in many situations have been more comfortable than being a free northern factory worker.
At times slaves were proud to be slaves for certain people. A sense of pride and dignity could be carried with a slave of the right owner. This was a much better feeling than the down in the dumps feelings that many northern workers had. In the North people worked in factories. The conditions in these factories were in many cases worse than that of even the worst of plantations involved in the slave trade. Wages were almost non-existent, and the conditions of living at a factory was meager at best.
Owners of these factories were greedy and did not care about the lives of their employees because they knew that if their workers did not make it, then there would always be more people to come and work for them. Slave holders always had to make sure that they took care of their slaves like they took care of the rest of their property, with care and pride. For if a slave were to perish, then that was a loss of money that was already spent, not just a loss of another replaceable worker. Another defense for slavery is to take a look at the African civilizations of that time.
Though many Africans in their homeland were peaceful, almost no evident technological advances had been made in Africa. Africans appeared to be barbaric and uncultured. Slavery was a way to help and provide a better way of life for them. By giving them a religion and a place to work and better communicate with one another, the slave holders were helping the Africans to achieve a better way of life.
To this day, many of the descendants of former slaves still practice the Christianity that was forced upon them by their owners. Evidence of life being better here is the fact that many of the slaves chose not to return to Africa after the demise of slavery. Living conditions for slaves in many instances were more than adequate. Slaves had talked of how slave masters would let slaves marry.
2 Days off of work were allowed at times, and the work day for a slave was also in many cases shorter than that of a northern factory worker. Sometimes a slave was even paid for their services and allowed to buy their freedom from their owners. Once a northern worker started working in a factory setting it was almost impossible for that worker to change their lifestyle. They were stuck in their deplorable conditions with nowhere else to go. At a factory in the north one could find little children being forced to work hours longer than the more relaxed hours of the slave children. Slaves were not brought up ignorantly as some may choose to believe.
There were many slave inventors, scientists and humanitarians. A perfect example of a former slave scientist is George Washington Carver. 3 Carver developed more than three-hundred products from the peanut, sweet potatoes, wood shavings and cotton silks. Most of his inventions are still in use till this day. A man of such genius would not have been able to pursue such high aspirations if he were brought up in an uneducated way of living. The workers of the north would never have been able to peruse such greatness, because they were kept in the dark as to what was going on around them.
Also, they were not allowed enough free time for somebody to do such works of ingenuity. It was as if they were white slaves, enslaved by their own people. Slavery has been around for many years before it was present in America. The Bible even talks about slavery as morally correct institution. It is only a natural instinct of human beings to enslave those who are less powerful. If we had not learned that it is more profitable to pay our workers than enslaving them, I am sure that slavery would still be present in today's society.
In some ways people of our "lower classes" have lives similar, or in some cases worse than those of slaves. They do not have a master to look out for them, they don't have a roof over their heads every night for sure, they don't even have the comfort of knowing that after work they will have a meal waiting for them. In conclusion, the institution of slavery was beneficial to the southern economy. Removing slavery from the southern way of life was crippling to the southerners.
It took many years to reconstruct the south after the war. I am not trying to imply that it would be good if slavery was in place today, but the repercussions are still being felt to this day because of the abolition of the institution.