Wednesday, June 20, 2018

D. Slavery and Morality

The immorality of the institution of slavery is obvious. However, scholars have attempted to explain exactly what it is about this institution that offends moral sensibilities. Two moral indictments of the institution are significant. First, “slavery permitted one group of people to exercise unrestrained personal domination over another group of people.” Fogel, supra at 394. The slave was subject to abject cruelty, both physical and psychological, by his or her masters in order for the master to maintain domination. Id. In one sense, “[t]he extreme degree of domination required by this system ... is the essential crime.” Id. Second, the slave was denied the fruits of his or her labor. Id. at 395. Slaves were forced to work at physically grueling tasks for very long hours without pay, thus it was impossible for the slave to improve his or her economic position within society. Id. The slave simply had no resources or “opportunity ... to rise on the economic ladder by acquiring land, labor skills, and other forms of capital.” Id.


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