English 1, Lesson 55 – Washington’s Arguments Against the Slave System

Writing assignment: 500 words on this topic: “What were Washington’s arguments against the slave system?”

    Booker T. Washington had a few arguments against the system of slavery. Mainly that slavery created a lack of incentive, on both the behalf of whites and blacks. Blacks lacked the incentive to do their job well, and whites lacked the incentive to master a marketable trade. Marketable trade meaning a field of work that you can make money by doing. There was also a lack of incentive for any white person to do much of anything; their slaves could just do it for them! Washington also argued that slaves, once freed, did not know how to support themselves, and that they were tempted to steal.

    For both races, work ethic was undermined by the slave system. Slaves were not paid to do what they did, they were forced against their will. Therefore they did not care to do good work as they would if they were being paid, doing so in order to support their families. Similarly, whites, the slave owners, did not have a reason to work themselves. They just sat around while the slaves did all the work and made money for them. White families did have to have a member of the family to manage finances and such, but for the most part, their slaves took care of everything. They did not need to be a textile maker, or a blacksmith, or a baker. The slaves did all of that while they made sure the slaves did their job.

    In the case of temptation to steal, slaves were impoverished, and lived as such. So of course, if they were able to take something to help them a bit, such as some food item, they would want to take it. I am not saying that stealing is ok, it is always wrong to steal. I am merely saying that slaves had more of a motive and temptation to steal than any white man with money.

    Black people did not know how to support themselves once the were freed from slavery, as they had relied on their white owners for the little food they ate and the thin roof over their head. Most slaves were already accustomed to awful living conditions, but once they were free, they were not provided with any food or shelter, and since they had developed no work ethic, most could not find jobs. Those who did got low-paying jobs, and still could not provide for their families.

    In conclusion, slavery was a bad system because white people did not feel the need to learn to do their own work, and black people did not feel the need to do their work well. Black people were unknowledgeable in the ways of providing for their families, and while they were slaves they were tempted to steal from their owners.


2 thoughts on “English 1, Lesson 55 – Washington’s Arguments Against the Slave System

  1. Well, before the 8th grade, when I started the Ron Paul Curriculum, I used to spend all day every day reading. I also wrote a lot. Like, A LOT. None of it was good, but I always tried to mimic the writing styles of the authors I read. This helped with fiction writing, which I think I am ok at now, though I haven’t shown many people my fiction writings. But anyway for essays, I tried to follow Mr. Fish’s instructions on how to write well, and I mimicked other students that I thought wrote their essays well. I didn’t write very well, so my father helped me plan and word some of my essays (he didn’t write them for me), which was a bit helpful, but my essays still came out needing lots of improvement. This year, he hired a former English teacher to grade my essays and provide feedback and tips on how to improve. (if you look at some of my posts from early on in the year, the comments from jruppert are from the lady my father hired). Then a little bit later on (around the time I started writing Helen Keller essays), I switched to a family friend who also runs a tutoring center. I emailed her my essays and she edited them and told me ways to make my writing more interesting, or more believable.

    So that is how I learned to write the way I do today, though I definitely still need to improve. Practice is also a great help. The more you write, whether essays or fiction stories, the less intimidating writing becomes (and the more fun). Hope that answered your question Rose 🙂

    ~Sofia

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