Paternalism

Paternalism: The theory of slavery that emphasized reciprocal obligations between masters and slaves, with slaves providing labor and obedience and masters providing basic care and direction. Whites employed the concept of paternalism to deny that the slave system was brutal and exploitative. (The American Promise, Glossary)

Excerpt from William John Grayson, The Hireling and the Slave, second edition (Charleston: John Russell, 1855)

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Slavery is that system of labor which exchanges subsistence for work, which secures a life-maintenance from the master to the slave, and gives life-labor from the slave to the master. The slave is an apprentice for life, and owes his labor to his master; the master owes support, during life, to the slave. Slavery is the negro system of labor. Slavery makes all work, and it ensures homes, food, and clothing for all. It permits no idleness, and it provides for sickness, infancy, and old age. It allows no tramping or skulking, and it knows no pauperism . . . What more can be required of Slavery, in reference to the negro, than has been done? It has made him, from a savage, an orderly efficient laborer. It supports him in comfort and peace. It restrains his vices. It improves his mind, orals, and manners. It instructs him in Christian knowledge.

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A critical essay presents to audience analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of a text or event. You must make clear your claim and then support your claim with a logical argument based on evidence. Generally, a critical essay demonstrates an understanding of a counter-argument against the argument made in the essay, and an explanation as to why the argument made in the essay is the stronger argument.

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