According to the letters in Zinn and Foner, slaves did not have great relationships with their masters. Their masters were manipulative and treated slaves like objects that did their chores. According to Harriet Jones, masters would often use religion as a way of manipulating slaves to stay loyal and responsive to their masters. Jones quotes “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ”, which reveals that manipulation of masters using religion as a reason for slaves to continue to be loyal. In addition, southern slave owners use religion as a way of justifying slavery. According to De Bow’s review in Foner, slavery is justified because it had occurred in the bible. In the De Bow Review, it states “Abraham, the chosen servant of God had his bond servants, whose condition was similar to, or worse than, that of our slaves. He considered them as his property, to be bought and sold as any other property which he owned.” This quote reveals that southern slave owners compared themselves to “servants of God” justifying slavery by stating it was godly for them to have slaves as property and it could “not be wrong.” After reading De Bow’s review and Harriet Jones’ letter, I am reminded of John Withorp’s views on liberty. In his speech to the Massachusetts General Court presented in Foner, Withorp attempts to show why his view on women in society is “moral” and “good, just, and honest” when a woman gives her complete authority to the man. In addition, Withorp uses Christianity as a way of persuading this “authority.” This is a similar – if not the same – way religious southern slave owners used Christianity as showing their power and “authority” to their slaves.
the second message is
In Harriet A. Jacobs’ letter, she says that masters encourage their slaves to be religious so they do not murder them. I think they wanted their slaves to be religious so they had the belief in sin and the opportunity to be free in heaven (Zinn 170). The letters from slaves tell us that they were able to comprehend the brutality of slavery. The letters show us that the slaves were just as human as anyone else, and were not unaware of the harsh conditions that were being forced upon them.
Southern slave owners defend slavery in two ways in De Bow’s Review. Firstly, they state that slavery has been around since the “earliest period of time” in every country there has ever been, without any notion of it being wrong. Secondly, they say that slavery and servitude is implemented in the Bible, so it must not be wrong. They even go as far as to say God had servants that were treated the same as slaves today, or even worse, such as Abraham. (Foner 423). In George Fitzhugh’s advocation for slavery, he uses a different argument. Fitzhugh says that slaves are better off with slavery, and without it they’d become savage cannibals. He also says they’re better off as slaves in the South than being a free laborer in the North where men are violent and aggressive and often kill their wives. Fitzhugh says that being a slave in the South is easy work for women and provide children a decent life while the men “never work more than 9 hours a day”. This shows that Southern slave owners don’t realize the scale of the damage they are institutionalizing in society. They don’t comprehend how damaging it can be physically and mentally for slaves on the plantations to be forced into being bought like property (Fitzhugh). John C. Calhoun argues that although slavery may not be “good”, it is a part of society and we could not function without it. He also says that it is a blessing for black people, due to the underdeveloped state of Africa (Calhoun).