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Pro-Slavery Arguments: Samuel A. Cartwright,
Digital History ID 278

Author:   Samuel A. Cartwright


An apologist for slavery appeals to statistics to try to refute the argument that slave is unproductive and unprofitable.

This excerpt appears in E.N. Elliott, ed., Cotton is King, 879, 891-92.


It has long been a favorite argument of the abolitionists to assert that slave labor is unproductive, that the prevalence of slavery tends to diminish not only the productions of a country, but also the values of the lands. On this ground, appeals are constantly made to the non-slaveholders of the South, to induce them to abolish slavery; assigning as a reason, that their lands would rise in value so as to more than compensate for the loss of the slaves.

That we may be able to ascertain how much truth there is in this assertion, let us refer to figures and facts....

The statistics of the American churches prove that the slaveholding States contain more Christian communicants, in proportion to the population, including black and white, than the non-slaveholding. The report proves that in the cotton and sugar region, the white people who have few or no Negroes, are poor and helpless, but when supplied with seven times their own number of Negroes, they are the richest and most powerful agricultural people on earth. The census will prove that the landed property of those who are thus supplied with from three to seven times their own number of Negroes, if sold at its assessed value, and the proceeds of sales divided equally among all the inhabitants, black and white, each individual would have a larger sum than any Pennsylvanian, New Yorker, or New Englander, would have....

Source: Gilder Lehrman Institute

Additional information: Samuel A. Cartwright, "The Education, Labor, and Wealth of the South," in E.N. Elliott, ed., Cotton Is King

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