Analysis Of Carry Me Back: The Institution Of Slavery

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Crucial to understanding the differences between the northern and southern United States on the brink of the Civil War is the institution of slavery. From the moment following the American Revolution, slavery became a normal part of southern society, and southern politicians were always on the defense of what they considered habitual. However, this defense did not start off in an aggressive fashion. It was not until the conflict surrounding the Missouri Compromise that southerners suddenly turned the tides, becoming more aggressive in their defense of what most considered a part of southern life. Because southerners realized their southern way of life, i.e., slavery, could be attacked on the floors of Congress, many southern
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Southern slaveholders by the 1830s were experiencing difficulty with protecting the lifeblood of their way of life. If slavery collapsed, it could have meant economic and social collapse for much of the south. At the same time, southerners were very much concerned with the ever-mounting increase in attacks from northern abolitionists who considered slavery to be morally wrong. Central to the defense of the institution of slavery was the ideology of paternalism. Paternalism, according to Steven Deyle in his book Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life, is defined as a “system of hierarchies, in which everyone had a place, and each had a set of duties and obligations to others.” In a plantation setting, it was the white masters of these planters who looked over their “children,” whom could be anyone ranging from the master’s family to his very own …show more content…
When the topic did in fact come up in conversations, southerners argued that paternalism allowed slavery’s defenders to assert that few owners were ever willing to sell their slaves let alone punish them. It was only those slaves “so vicious that they were sold, or banished, as a form of punishment by southern municipalities and states.” To the master, this paternalistic relationship meant that both slave and master had obligations to the other, and when a slave was caught committing an offense the slave was not living up the bargin and needed to be punished. It was this punishment that many abolitionists attacked, and southern slave owners were forced to defend themselves through whatever means necessary, be it violent or non-violent. However, violent defense would not be the final straw in the change in southern reaction to aggression on its most principled of institution. Rather, this would come later on following the many slave rebellions of the 19th

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