Article on "Slavery and Freedom: the American Paradox"

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Article on “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox”

Edmond S. Morgan’s article, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” brings across an eye opening thought to America and why we are allotted the rights we have as citizens. He express’ a feeling of gratitude to the people of the period for what they had to give up or take on. Edmond S. Morgan’s article tells that slavery is part of America’s dark history but without it we would not be truly free citizens.

The author of the article wants to explain the “paradox” between slavery and freedom. He states “the challenge, for colonial historian at least, is to explain how a people could have developed the dedication to human liberty and dignity exhibited by the leaders of the American Revolution and at the same time have developed and maintained a system of labor that denied human liberty and dignity every hour of the day.”

During the Revolutionary era, the motto was “free ships make free goods.” The irony is that the product was produced in large by slave labor. America was involved with other countries for help, goods, and had no other choice at times how the merchandise was produced. The production of the merchandise was done by slaves. The country depended on slave labor starting in 1776 and carried on longer than a lifetime.

Jefferson was an advocate for freedom and yet a slave owner himself. Morgan raised the question of, could there have been something to the type of freedom he cherished? He felt the answer was yes; it was a freedom of independence of the individual and also freedom of debt, which he deeply maybe even obsessed about. Jefferson felt he could not free his slaves as long as he has debt.

Edmond S. Morgan shares several examples other than Jefferson that also stood in front of others asking for freedom but never acted appropriately. Madison, Washington, and others where amongst this group of individuals. It is said that most people from Africa came as slaves. Virginia was one of...
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