The Debate Over Slavery

Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University


Here is a selection of documents from both sides of the slavery debate. In this exercise we are asking you to read the documents, then come to class prepared to argue one of the two sides--either for or against slavery. It is easy to argue against slavery--no modern American would have any trouble arguing against slavery. it is harder to recapture how Americans defended slavery. It is also suprising how abolitionists argued against slavery. Again, read the arguments on both sides, and come to class prepapred to debate both positions.

Pro-Slavery Arguments:

Anti-Slavery Arguments:

Last Updated | April 2004