Reasons Why Slaveowners Did Not Educate Their Slaves

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Education helps people improve completion of their tasks. For instance, education enables all mathematicians to solve for solutions and all great surgeons to perform their surgery because of their knowledge of the human body. However, in this autobiography, Douglass recounts that slaveowners did not want to educate their slaves. If education of slaves would enable them to be more helpful, why would slaveowners choose not to? This was because educating a slave was untraditional, and could cause a slave to rebel against their owner or commit suicide. One reason why slave owners did not educate their slaves was because it was untraditional, and therefore would make a slave disobedient. Slaveowners in the early 1800s kept to traditional methods of treating a slave because of the belief that slaves were meant to be obedient and get work done. For example, Hugh Auld, one of Douglass’s masters, states to his wife, Sophia Auld, on page 42, “a nigger should know nothing but to obey his master- to do as he is told to do…if you teach that…show more content…
For example, on page 42 of the narrative, Hugh Auld states about a slave and education, “As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm. It would make him disconcerted and unhappy.” Hugh Auld’s belief was proved true when Douglass felt depressed after learning that he was being taken advantage of, and that he could be free in the North, instead of being a slave. For example, Douglass states “as I writhed under it, I would at times feel that learning to read had been a curse rather than a blessing….I often found myself regretting my own existence, and wishing myself dead” (pg.48). Therefore, slaveowners did not educate their slaves because they wanted to prevent slaves from feeling hopeless about their lives, like
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