Slavery In George Fitzhugh's Report

Superior Essays
Is freedom a self destructive and impractical system? According to George Fitzhugh, in his book, Slavery Justified, freedom is used to pull people down and further enhances human greed and suffering. Fitzhugh also speaks about the supposedly positive aspects of slavery while spouting logical fallacies that further prove his lack of knowledge and credibility. He describes the condition of slavery as a benefit to society. On the other hand, Frederick Douglass in his autobiography, The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass, recounts his life story and how essential freedom is to him and fellow slaves. By telling first hand accounts about slavery, Douglass shows how unfounded Fitzhugh’s narrative is. Fitzhugh spins a biased narrative that speaks …show more content…
The slave master punishing the slave for every infraction, degrading the humanity of the slave to an almost unrecognizable point. Slaves would often resent the masters who treated them so cruelly. Fitzhugh writes, “the relations of master and slave is one of mutual good will… his [the slave master] whole life is spent in providing for the minutest wants of others, in taking care of them in sickness and in health” (3). Fitzhugh displays a questionable premise. He suggests that because a slave master has a relationship with his slaves, the master then cares for all people and their wants. Meanwhile he makes irrelevant connections, suggesting that the only people who care for others own slaves. Not to mention, this is still an account that has no evidence to support it and contradicts most of the events told by slaves. For example, Douglass writes, “ when I could stand no longer, I fell… he came to the spot… asked me what was the matter. I told him as well I could, for I scarce had strength to speak. He then gave me savage kick to the side, and told me to get up” (77). This is the relationship based on mutual good will that Fitzhugh speaks about. The master kicking Douglas is the one Fitzhugh claims cares for his slave and the wants of the sick and healthy, yet here he is kicking a slave he doesn't even own while the slave lies on the ground sick and …show more content…
Slaves could be whipped for anything, from committing infractions to helping their masters escape boredom. Once again, Fitzhugh’s narrative is contradicted and shown to be false. He writes, “ The ready submission of the slave, nine times out of ten, disarms his wrath even when the slave has offended” (3). Here Fitzhugh displays faulty cause and effect, trying to convince his audience that if slaves were more submissive, they wouldn't get whipped as much. Also, Fitzhugh presupposes information with his inclusion of the phrase “nine out of ten times”. He cannot possibly pretend to know exactly how often slaves gets whipped or how often they are spared. Claiming to know this information would be, at the very least, disingenuous and at most, deceitful. It is evident, through Douglass’s narrative, exactly how liberally slaves are whipped. Douglass writes what he overhears from overseer Gore, “ It is better that a dozen slaves suffer under the lash, than that the overseer should be convicted, in the presence of the slaves, of having been at fault (37). The master has given overseer Gore full permission to whip the slaves so long as he keeps them in line. The master is ready to punish many slaves to provide an example of what happens to those labeled “unmanageable” by the overseer. These men would rather inflict pain and suffering to people who are subservient to them, than to admit to them that they were

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