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Brittan Kennedy

HIST 1700
Prof. Waters
February 13, 2012
Mary Reynolds Remembers Slavery
John C. Calhoun and George Fitzhugh both supported slavery.
However, Fitzhugh thought it was a good way of life for African
Americans while Calhoun believed it saved the economy. Southerners
should stop apologizing for slavery as a necessary evil and defend it as
a gooda positive good1.
Fitzhugh felt that southern slaves were pleased. He stated that
young children and the old dont work at all, but still are given the
necessities of life. They get food, water, a house to live in and clothes
to wear. They get to experience liberty, because they are overcome
by neither care nor labor. Women rarely do hard work and are
protected from their masters by their husbands. The men and boys are
the only ones who really work. However, they work in good weather
and no more than nine hours a day. On the plus side, they get holidays
off. He is making this sound like an easy life. The Negro slaves of the
south are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the
world2. When I read the article about Mary Reynolds, her life hardly
seemed easy. Slaves had to endure a tough life. She was working since
she could remember, and Reynolds was beaten countless times for

unknown reasons. At one point she was sent off, as a little girl, to
another plantation to work. She had no family with her and she was
alone. What part of that makes for a good life? Fitzhugh talks about
how he thinks the Negro is a grown up child and how they arent
dangerous they just need to be supervised by a guardian. What I get
from this is that he thinks they are stupid and cant take care of
themselves. I dont know what he saw that would put that in his mind,
but I believe that George Fitzhugh had a different understanding of
slavery than most and I do not agree with his idea of slaves feeling free
and comfortable.
I hold then, that there never has yet existed a wealthy and
civilized society in which one portion of the community did not, in point
of fact, live on the labor of the other3. Now John C. Calhoun thought
this was the only way two races could live together in peace. African
Americans needed to know their place in the world. The conditions of
society in the South exempts us from the disorders and dangers
resulting from this conflict; and which explains why it is that the
political condition of the slaveholding States has been so much more
stable and quiet than that of the North4. Also, the United States was in
great debt and they needed slaves because they believed they were
essential to helping our economy. I dont think he agreed with how they
were treated, but he knew that they were needed. The United States
was in this huge depression and they had to have a free labor force.

The North wanted to abolish all slaves while for the South, it was a
matter of life and death to keep slaves. They needed to bring the
economy back up. If slaves were let go and freed all at once, I think
there would have been a lot of conflict and aggression. All the Negros
would be out looking for land and jobs while the whites would feel like
they are still superior, they wouldnt allow them to take over their jobs.
This would lead to a hostile environment. John C. Calhoun thought it
was necessary for slavery to exist in the South.
George Fitzhugh and John C. Calhoun agreed on one thing, that
slavery was a positive good. However, the way Fitzhugh believed it to
be really irritated me. The slaves lived an exhausting life and in no way
had it easy. Looking over what Calhoun stated, I believe that slavery
was a huge factor in getting us out of debt, but I think the way they
were treated was horrendous. I suppose we could have done a number
of things different so there wouldnt be such a racial conflict to this day.

Calhoun C., John. Slavery a Positive Good Speech, 1837

Fitzhugh, George. The Universal Law of Slavery, 1857

Calhoun C., John. Slavery a Positive Good Speech, 1837

Calhoun C., John. Slavery a Positive Good Speech, 1837