The American Paradox

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 546
  • Published : April 13, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
American Paradox
The article Slavery and Freedom: the American Paradox, by Edmund S. Morgan, was a study of the relationship between liberty and equality to slavery and how the government came to be in Virginia. I believe Morgan’s thesis is that America would not have liberty and equality without the help of slavery. Morgan sustained his thesis in the beginning of his article by citing examples of the founding fathers and other prominent individuals owning slaves. Thomas Jefferson was one of the founding fathers to our “free” nation, and yet he owned slaves? I found this to be some sort of hypocrisy at first, but after I read a little more I understood Jefferson’s stance. Jefferson’s definition of freedom was different than mine, however. Jefferson said “the man who depended on another for his living could never be truly free.” The landowners enslaved other people to help them pay off the debt they owed. Jefferson was a debtor of sorts, and needed other people to help him get out of his debt. Morgan wrote of John Locke who was a person that interpreted the revolution right, and yet believed in slavery. He didn’t give the option for his slaves to become free after their service; but instead, the family members would work for the master as well. Morgan also told of Andrew Fletcher, a champion of liberty, who believed in slavery as well. He made an attack on the Christian church for “not only having promoted the abolition of slavery…but also for having perpetuated the idleness of the freemen thus turned loose on society.” Morgan goes on to give a few other examples of believers of freedom that owned slaves or believed in slavery. After this he explains a bigger picture. The over population in England was becoming a notable problem and England needed a solution. The lower class was increasing by the hundreds and there was not enough room or work to go around for these people. “The Englishmen prided themselves on a “gentle government…” The government released...
tracking img