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Slavery was a beneficial institution for both blacks and whites in the south.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,047 times Debate No: 51442
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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American slavery was a good system which met the needs of blacks, and whites, and should have been kept. It was overthrown by Northerners who didn't understand the class structure, or economics of the agricultural south. Slavery gave black people work, and cared for them with plenty of food clothing and shelter. It also met their needs as humans. Now jails are filled with blacks, or they're on welfare and food stamps. The institution which replaced slavery is the penal system. Instead of contributing to society through work, blacks are now isolated in jail culture and crime culture, at the expense of society. Only a very small minority of blacks actually have productive roles in society, where they are integrated, and do positive work for the good of society and for themselves.


Slavery cannot be considered a good system because any form of slavery is morally wrong due to the fact it involves human beings and forced labor. Slavery did not meet the needs of blacks because Africans did not need Europeans/Americans to provide necessities for them, when they where in Africa. Africans could provide food, clothing, and shelter for themselves, and often times these essentials were withheld. The agricultural South was successful as a result of slavery, and therefore the economic dynamic in the South was a result of slavery and cannot be used to justify or defend slavery. There is an inherent flaw in the statement "It also met their needs as humans," because slavery as an institution and slaveholders did not view slaves as human, but instead as property therefore they could not provide for the human needs properly.
Although jails are overpopulated with Black inmates this system is a form of slavery, but not at the expense of society. The penal system is a multi-million dollar industry, and is very profitable.
Also, the productivity of a minority cannot be assessed in the frame of the majority, because of the oppressive dynamic.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting to debate this topic! I'll respond to your points, and strengthen my argument:

1. You said Slavery is immoral because it involves forced labor. Forced labor is not immoral. Many prisons in the US use forced labor. Prisoners are required to work. It is not immoral or unconstitutional. Prisoner's do not have the same rights as citizens. And that is how the Penal system has replaced the slavery system.

2. Yes, Africans did not need Europeans to provide necessities. But all indicators show that Blacks as slaves fared much better than Blacks in Africa. The slave population was large, strong, and healthy. There was security, protection, daily work, and much positives to be found. Culturally and physically the Blacks in America flourished far beyond their African ancestors.

3. The South was a prosperous and cohesive region during slavery. After slavery it entered into a steady decline in prosperity and productivity. This shows that freed blacks in the South did not benefit the society. One can see clearly that society was thriving, and then was ruined. Were all Blacks happier after emancipation? The surprising answer is No. Freedom was not welcomed by all Blacks.

4. The penal system is a multi-million dollar system This is true.
Prisons are built and run by private companies. Who pays for them? Taxpayers pay. The government pays all the prison expenses. And the private companies profit.

Who are the prisons built to serve? The people making millions of dollars. They are in collaboration with the lawmakers to lock up as many prisoners as possible. More prisoners = More money. And lawmakers like to look tough on crime, so again more prisoners= more votes.
Do prisons serve those who are imprisoned? Not at all. Prison life is terrible, a far cry from "rehabilitation". It is a jungle with the worst gang and street rules... Most prisoners upon release have a terrible time to reenter society because of prison life.

5. Did you know most slaved preferred their lives as slaves to freedom? It is well documented in first-person interviews done in the 30s called the WPA Slave Narrative. I own and read these books.

Years after slavery ended, thousands of former slaves were interviewed and asked to compare their lives. The majority seemed to prefer life under slavery to the hardship of having to provide everything for themselves. Their conditions were much worse, they were hungry, and didn't have work. Furthermore, many spoke glowingly of their former masters, and households, and remembered those as good times.


1. Because forced labor is used in the prison system does not make it morally right. I believe that any form of forced labor is wrong because you are not allowing a human being to express their free will. And the idea that because prisoner's (or slaves) do not have the same rights as citizens does not justify forced labor in either case, nor does it justify slavery to be beneficial.

2. "Culturally and physically the Blacks in America flourished far beyond their African ancestors"
This statement is preposterous. This is most likely based on your limited knowledge of African history, but Africans were surviving and thriving in Africa. How can a people thrive culturally if they are not allowed to read or write? If they are forced to assimilate to a foreign culture that views them as property? And physically, most slaves were barely feed and whipped. The idea that slaveholders protected slaves is based on the idea that they needed this protection, if they remained in Africa then the dangers of America would have been unknown.

3. Who benefited from the "prosperous and cohesive region" was the white (slaveholders and plantation owners). The decline was due to the war, as well as the Southern plantation owners having to obtain paid laborers. The society HAD to be ruined because it was vicious and immoral. Where all Whites prospering during slavery? The surprising answer is No. There were whites that did not believe in slavery, and poor whites that could not afford slaves. Any industry would prosper if they did not have to pay the workers and kept all the profit ( and if my opponent attempts to argue that slaveholders paid for the clothes and shelter of the slaves, any logical person knows that it does't compare to how much they would have to pay for labor). even if freedom was not welcomed by all Blacks, and I don't believe this was because they did not want to be free but instead because they were unsure of what to do once free, this does not prove that slavery benefited these people. I would assert it actually crippled these people from being able to survive on their own.

4. This argument shows that slavery did not benefit Blacks because it is still hindering their progress (through systematic racism). I will not go in depth in this argument because I feel it is beside the point, but if the industry is making millions then those people are also paying taxes. In the end the government benefits from any endeavors in the U.S. (From what I read the same point is being made in your case)

5. I also believe this is beside the point, but because I am intrigued by the assertion I will respond.
I will not assert that the experiences of all slaves were the same or even similar, because that is false. But I do know that it is human nature to want to be free, and I will say that most people believe this. Even in comfortable situations, such as children living with their parents until they are adults and moving out (freedom). In that instance there are some people who decide to live with their parents forever, but that is not the norm. Most people no matter how difficult the world is want to be free.

Slavery is immoral, and does not benefit slaves. As my opponent has clearly pointed out Blacks in America are still suffering from the results of slavery. Any benefit received from slavery is an abomination, because slavery itself is inhumane. If my opponent claims that some slaves were "happy," then he must acknowledge the many slaves that fled and fought for freedom. Also, you cannot make broad generalizations about the status of Africans before slavery, because the lifestyles are incomparable.
Debate Round No. 2


The issue we are debating is not whether slavery was morally right or wrong-- it is whether slavery benefited both blacks and whites in the south. We can assume the slave system benefited whites because of the prosperity of agricultural south. How did it benefit Blacks.
Let's compare aspects of black life during slavery... with those of Africans before slavery, and African Americans after slavery.
1. We know that Black slaves lived much longer than their African counterparts, and had a higher birth rate.
Life expectancy of a slave in the South in 1850: 32yrs.
Life expectancy of an African from 1850: less than 25yrs. rates and population growth were also much higher among slaves, than among free Africans.
So we can conclude that as slaves, Africans had longer lives, were healthier, and their populations grew more rapidly than those in Africa. This benefits Blacks.

2. After Slavery ended, African American population fell, as did life expectancy. In 1850 during slavery, the Black population was 14% of the total US population, by 1940, it went down to 9% of total population.
Once slavery was abolished- the Black population declined in number, showing that Black population thrived under slavery.

3. Education
African American slaves learned farming, agriculture, and craftsman trades. This knowledge gave them value and the ability to survive. Africans in Africa did not know farming, or craftsman trades. They relied on hunting and gathering. Their lives were nomadic and unpredictable. We can conclude that African American slaves were much more educated and able to work than Africans.

4. Slavery vs. Indentured servitude
During slavery, an black slave was guaranteed food, clothing and shelter in exchange for work. After Slavery ended, Blacks were poorer than they were as slaves. Many became indentured servants, who suffered without as much food clothing and shelter. Indentured servants were treated worse than slaves.
Slavery guaranteed a life for every Black person and a place for every Black person. This benefited Blacks.

5. The percentage of married Blacks during slavery was higher than it was before or after slavery... Roughly 66% of Black slaves were married.
After slavery ended that number steadily decreased.Today less than 33% of Black people are married. Proportionally, less Blacks are married and living together now than they were as slaves.

6. Black first person interviews and opinion.
Probably the most convincing argument is the one given by former Black slaves themselves, as recorded in the 30s by the WPA 60 years after slavery ended. In which hundreds are interviewed to compare their lives during and after slavery. There is a clear common theme in these interviews that life under slavery was beneficial to Blacks.:
" I haven't anything to say against slavery. My old folks put clothes on me when I was a boy. They gave me shoes and stockings and put them on me when I was a little boy. I loved them, and can't go against them in anything. I was teated good... It's a pity that these younguns nowadays don't know the value of work like we did. The young generation ain't going to get nothing out of life. It was better when folks lived together. Their loafin gets them into trouble, makes them bad husbands."

Regardless of whether slavery is seen as right or wrong morally, the statistics and opinions show very clearly that slavery was a beneficial institution to both Blacks and Whites in the South.



Tiki.B forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Le.Doctor 3 years ago
your arguement is invalid. There is no evidence. Whatever you say is wrong because the majority of the world agrees with Con. That is why slavery is illegal and VERY immoral
Posted by Skeptic111 3 years ago
my opponent has accepted the debate 4 days ago, but not posted an argument for round one, with just a few hours left to do so. If he misses round one, he will forfeit this debate and I will win. I'd like to have a real debate with somebody... not just a time waster.
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