George S. Sawyer's Theoretical Analysis

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The time between the American Revolution and the Civil War was a period of change in the United States. While the Northern states moved over time to eliminate the use of slavery, the South wanted to cultivate slavery because significance it had in the southern economy. The Southern states, during this time period, attempted to reason for merits of slavery and pushed against abolitionist ideas of a slave society being iniquitous. George S. Sawyer’s writes of Abolitionist’s arguments against slavery, in his piece Southern Institutes, when he states, “It is objected to the prevalence by the free-soil party that it is deleterious to the interests of free labor, paralyzes industrial pursuits, corrupts religion and public morals, and impedes…show more content…
He makes the argument that the institution of slavery in the South has been a positive force for religion. He makes this argument using a number of different statistics that compare churches of the abolitionist North with the facetiously stated “fire-eaters” in the South. His analysis of these statistics is given when he writes, “These five Southern States, with only a free population of 2,198 greater than the six New England States, have nearly double the number of churches capable of accommodating a million more worshippers at but little over half the cost!” This statement supports his argument that slavery has a positive effect on religion by saying that in slave holding states people are more likely to practice Christianity and that people are more likely to give to churches in order that more people have the ability to go to worship services. What is also interesting is that he includes the cost of these churches. His explanation for why that particular statistic is included when he writes that a Northerner Christian “seeks to glorify himself rather than his God, by the erection of costly temples from which the humble Christian is excluded, “as well as when he writes that in the North, “there are 200,000 more who cannot find a seat in the house of God!” This example is interesting because it plays on the Southern idea that Northerners are more interested in self-veneration rather than the glorification of…show more content…
Sawyer’s document depicts the massive emphasis of the necessity of slaves southerners had during the period leading up to the Civil War. While abolitionist movements worked in the North, pro-slavery sympathizers were creating documents, like this, in order to provide reasoning for cultivating a pro-slavery environment. Southern defended the Southern slave system and stated that it had a positive effect on society by asserting that it is a positive ally for religious entities, arguing that it is beneficial for the overall physical and moral health of the populations of slave-holding states, as well as by claiming that it is a necessity for the United States economy. After analyzing Sawyer’s reasoning for keeping slavery as an institution in the United States one has the ability to evaluate current assessments of controversial institutions in today’s world and calculate the value of those
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