How Accurate Were the Claims of the Southerners That Slavery Was Both Benign and Profitable?

In: Historical Events

Submitted By alec10ferryhill
Words 1933
Pages 8
During the antebellum period the South claimed that slavery was not only benign but profitable. These claims have led to a large dived in historians with the majority opposing the South’s claims however the majority are not always right. Well known historians still stand on the side of the Southerners claims, historians including Ulrich Phillips and Fogel and Engerman, arguing that the conditions so often used to discredit slavery are the rare cases of extreme nature and should not be used to make the Southerners claims any less accurate. Countless times power has been abused throughout history, obviously not making it right, but in most cases during the antebellum period slaves lived in similar conditions to most Americans. The conditions of slavery stayed benign and the extreme cases remained rare. The fact that slaves were expensive is proof that masters would not waste them if they were to remain profitable. Plantation masters were entrepreneurial business men and not as Eugene Genovese described them ‘paternalistic’. Focused on making capital it is clear that the South was correct to describe slavery as profitable as it remains on the same level as those in the north invested in industry. The idea that the Southerners claims were inaccurate due to extreme cases seems ridiculous and remains why in the majority of cases the Southerners claims that in the antebellum period slavery was benign and profitable.

The Southerners claim that slavery was benign and similar of an average American can be argued to be fairly accurate. During the antebellum period many Americans still lived in poor conditions with only the top percent 20% of southerners owning multiple slaves this meant many Americans still lived in similar conditions to slaves. Historians Fogel and Engerman used statistics to prove that plantations were humane and that the standard of living for…...

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