Should Slavery Be Abolished?
Although the answer to the question above is obvious now, debate raged on the issue in the mid-1800s. Advocates on both sides felt passionately that they were right.
Southern-born Angelina Grimké, with her sister Sarah, was a dedicated abolitionist who worked to arouse moral outrage against slavery.
“Let every slaveholder apply these queries to his own heart: Am I willing to be a slave . . . Am I willing to see my mother a slave, or my father, my white sister, or my white brother? If not, then in holding others as slaves, I am doing what I would not wish to be done to me . . . and thus have
broken this golden rule . . .”
—Appeal to Christian Women of the South, 1836
JOHN C. CALHOUN
One of the South’s most distinguished statesman, Calhoun believed that slavery was vital to America’s way of life.
“I hold that in the present state of civilization, where two races of different
origin, and distinguished by color, and other physical differences, as well as intellectual, are brought together, the relation now existing in the slaveholding States between the two, is, instead of an evil, a good—a positive good. . . . [T]here never has yet existed a wealthy and civilized
society in which one portion of the community did not . . . live on
the labor of another.”
—Speech to the Senate, February 6, 1837
1. What argument does Calhoun use to defend slavery?
2. Which quotation do you think is more effective? Why?