Arguments Against Slavery in the British Caribbean Essay

As a newspaper reporter in 1825, write an article presenting arguments AGAINST slavery in the British Caribbean under the following headings: i) Economic ii) Religiousiii) Humanitarian

On every street corner, in every household, on every tongue and on every wall, contradictory views on the system of slavery are being disputed. The public is being bombarded by the economic, religious and humanitarian views of slavery. The pressing issue that will be highlighted in today’s article is the arguments against slavery.

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The economic arguments against slavery concentrate on the economic losses experienced by planters and their interests (like the West India Interest etc) from having a system of forced labour as opposed to free paid labour.

It is argued that slavery is uneconomic as provisions have to be made to the control of slaves. These provisions are more expensive than the employment of free labour.Slavery is expensive when you add up the costs of buying and keeping the slaves and paying towards the forces needed to prevent revolts.

The economist, Adam Smith, in his book “The Wealth of the Nation” wrote that ‘the work of free men comes cheaper in the end than performed by slaves.’ Slavery makes the slaves a reluctant labour force and so the slaves fell that their labour is useless as all the profits go to the master as the slaves are not allowed to own anything, not even themselves.The investments in slaves are now being wasted as they are dying in large numbers from measles, yaws, dysentery and other diseases.

Also slavery is allowing the countries in the British Caribbean, example Jamaica, to become monocultural which is dangerous to our economy; as most of the income comes from there. It can be said that the most important point that can be argued is that British industrial development would be stimulated by free trade as the merchants would be able to buy cheaper goods elsewhere as there would no longer be mercantilism. Adam Smith also said in his book that ‘the laws which stood in the way of free trade were bad for the prosperity of a country as a whole.’

In addition, the religious arguments that were presented by the humanitarians were few; they were used against the enslavement of people. These arguments were from the Christian people in England. They are stressing that slavery is contrary to the will of God. Also, it is said in the bible to “love thy neighbor as thyself”; however the system of slavery engendered hate rather than role. All men are equal in the sight of God but slaves were subjugated to the will of their master. They believe it is morally wrong to be involved in slavery. The system of slavery violates the notion of justice as it is based on the exploitation of the slaves’ labor with almost total disregard for their rights.

The humanitarian arguments are presented as justification for the abolition of slavery. Supporters of slavery argue that slavery is inhumane, unjust cruel, unjust and that punishment meted out to slaves is harsh and brutal. It is also argued that the system of slavery dehumanizes and humiliates slaves as it regards them as part of stock, not as human beings. It is believed that slave owners are not concerned with the wellbeing of their slaves, as food, clothing, housing and medical care are often inadequate. This is also believed to be the reason the slaves often fall prey to a number of diseases. It is also argued that slaves were not protected by the law.

The colonial laws for the control of slaves are seen as repressive and do not provide security for them. The judicial system is believed to be titled against the slaves. This person appears so as some judges and magistrates are themselves slave owners, and they did not allow slaves to give evidence against a white person. Slaves also posses no legal right to own any property; they don’t have any right to their families, identify or even their names.

The fact that slavery is already existent in Africa is an argument referred to many times in support of slavery, but it is often argued that the conditions of slavery in the Caribbean are far worst than the conditions of the domestic slavery practiced in Africa. Speaking of Africa, it is also believed that slavery has caused a lot of civil war within the continent. The slave trade, it is believed, had led to inter-tribal warfare in Africa, and destroyed family and political structures in its time, leaving the continent in complete devastation.

You may also be interested in the following: caribbean economy and slavery

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