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They Are Not Us: A 17th Century American Southerner Defense of Slavery

by ajruby12


This is a work of fiction and does NOT represent my views about slavery at all. I wrote this as an assignment to delve into the American slavery issues from 1619 - 1865. I hold nothing against any white people, black people, Southerners, or anything else you can possibly get upset about. Please do not turn this into any kind of debate or express anger against the views expressed in this essay. Yes, these views are horribly wrong, but No, we should not hold those kind of emotions over these things today.

If this cannot be accepted with rationale and clear thinking, then I will take it down. I would appreciate critique regarding the accuracy of the claims, historical accuracy, and overall writing. I apologize in advance for making your skin crawl. (I did try to write this in good taste and not in an extremist fashion)

Please enjoy. 


If you failed to read the introduction, please go back at this point and read it.

They Are Not Us: A Southern Politician's Speech Regarding Slaves

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and fellow citizens:

Throughout my political campaign, I have sought to be honest with you, fellow men and women. I have strived to clear any misunderstandings and false rumors that have circulated by means of those who oppose my possible election, and now I am seeking to put to rest a diseased idea: that I offer up opposition to slavery.

I know that many of you will now be tempted to believe that I hate slaves. This is not so. But throughout these last decades of our nation's history, slavery has become a necessity to our society. Sir, the next time that you enjoy a good snuff of tobacco, remember that we could not have those commodities without proper labor. Madame, look down at your warm shawl and realize the same.

We are a strong people, but even a strong people must realize that certain measures must be taken in order to ensure the continuation and growth of our country. It is not cruelty as humanity, but ingenuity as a people that has brought such an idea to America. We have made many advances, but to subject Americans to harsh labor and long hours is to destroy the unity that binds us together. America must be willing to establish methods that ultimately work for the greater good.

Certain colleagues of mine have decried slavery on the grounds of inhumane treatment towards fellow humans. I do not deny that these slaves are human. But look back through history. These slaves are a strange people and primitive in their ways. Their societies and methods of living simply cannot hold up and ultimately crumble over and over again. Advances in method and thought are entirely foreign to their country.

Why should we, who have fought and worked towards higher learning and greater goals, subject ourselves to be placed on the same level as these primitives? They are not us, and they can never be us. That is why America has opened its doors to allow these dark aliens in. To expose them to higher learning and a culture of greatness is to do the best good for them as a people. Their strange ways have faded away and have been replaced by civilized thought and talk. We have allowed them a great opportunity to escape ancient traditions and open their minds to new ideas.

Preachers have shoved the Bible before me, agonizing over the scattering of verses speaking of oneness in Christ. I do not profess to be a man of great understanding in Biblical ideas, but these men must have failed to study the many verses speaking of slavery. It is only natural throughout history that men have bought and owned slaves. Those more capable, as evidenced by their wealth and social position, are served by the lesser classes. The Biblical Abraham had slaves, and there are many commandments regarding slaves obeying their masters. These same preachers give out the message of the Bible to slaves. I do not take issue with showing religion to slaves; they just must be aware of their place.

So why do we, as Americans, still hesitate on this matter? I say again, slavery is a necessity to our nation and will remain so. Whether or not each and every American may agree on these things, we are all partakers of great advances. We are preserving ourselves as a nation by allowing those less fortunate to work amongst us, and they are in turn being benefited by us.

I do not by any means condone the brutalistic nature with which some treat their slaves, but, as a principal disciplining a student, so we must do ensure that these slaves are not tempted to rebel against their masters. I seek to do my part to ensure that America is a nation that can withstand the test of time, and in order to do so, we must be willing to make decisions that will push our nation towards greatness. We must make America strong, no matter the cost.

“The Southern Argument for Slavery.”, Independence Hall Association, Accessed 9 Sept. 2017.

“Why Did So Many Christians Support Slavery?” Christian History | Learn the History of Christianity & the Church, Christianity Today, Accessed 9 Sept. 2017.

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176 Reviews

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Wed Sep 02, 2020 6:30 pm
Vil wrote a review...

Note: I despise slavery. I also despise my slave-owning ancestors. We've lived in Tennessee for generations.

As @IvoryRose said, it was very brave of you to go out on a limb and take up the "Southern aristocrat" view of slavery. As such, rather than argue of fight slavery, I'll be focusing on how well-written and organized this is.

You've done an excellent job of explaining how slave owners and other pro-slavery people felt about slavery. You've strengthened their arguments with Christian beliefs and built it around the basis that there were (and actually still are) pro-slavery Christians.

Throughout my political campaign, I have sought to be honest with you, fellow men and women. I have strived to clear any misunderstandings and false rumors that have circulated by means of those who oppose my possible election, and now I am seeking to put to rest a diseased idea: that I offer up opposition to slavery.

You immediately started with something that would end any Southern politician's career before the 1860s-- an opposition to slavery. By immediately having the narrator jump in and declare his beliefs regarding slaves, you've not only established a political basis for your short story, but you've also reminded the readers that slavery was a normal thing back in those times.

Overall, I really liked this article/short story in th sense that you appropriately described and defined how pro-slavery persons felt when slavery was still legal in the United States.

Have a nice [*insert time of day here*]!!!

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57 Reviews

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Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:53 pm
IvoryRose wrote a review...

It is interesting that you decided to go with the south's perspective instead of the usual slave's point of view. In fact, I think it was pretty brave of you considering the fact that there's always that one person who refuses to believe that it was a normal part of life back then. However,that's a topic for another day. A strong point about the article is that the main character is shown as a human. Although,I agree that slavery is one of the worst things in American history *cough cough world history cough *. I also disagree with showing these people as devils because OMG a slave owner back then was super rare. It was a common practice and many of these people were raised to believe that it was right. Mark Twain thought slavery was fine,until he met one and started asking himself "Is it right?" Hypercritical people are another example that is rarely brought up. The people that were against it would by products made by slaves. Which begged the question are you any better? Personally,I thought it was interesting and deep. You should slavery as a negative thing that people weren't so sure about. Brought up the question of who's the real primitive beings without saying what was said before and with out showing the people of are past as demonic butt holes. I'll probably check out more of your writing after this.
~Ivory Rose

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1727 Reviews

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Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:07 pm
BluesClues wrote a review...

Hi there!

So wow, yikes, I'm glad you said right in your author's note that this was an assignment and that it in no way reflects your views on slavery. Otherwise I would be incredibly concerned, because this felt very real.

The first thing I'm going to do is contradict MJ a bit. While slaves were legally objects, few people denied they were living things. White people didn't act like they thought slaves were akin to a lamp or other inanimate object - but (pro- or anti-slavery, no matter) they did think black people were simplistic and childlike, "primitive," to use the narrator's word (a common word used to describe anyone who wasn't white back then, really), at best, more akin to animals than people at worst. (They were treated an awful lot like livestock, especially those who worked in the fields and those at auction.) You're all right there in terms of authenticity.

On that note, you also captured the accurate - highly flawed and intensely creepy and hateful, but accurate - thought that many pro-slavery white people had that being slaves was actually somehow good for black people. "Oh, they're so primitive, we're just enslaving them and forbidding them to learn to read so they can become civilized."

What? But that's totally how people thought - plus many people erroneously used the Bible to defend slavery or even explain why it was God's will, the "natural order" of things, the way things were supposed to be.

I also like that you made this particular slaveholder someone who claimed not to condone beating slaves - people sometimes think that because a slaveholder was "kind" to their slaves, that was okay, or at least okay by the standards back then. But...that person still owned people. And I think you kind of remind us that here, that just because a person is "kind" to their slaves doesn't make them any less wrong/misguided/frankly horrifying.

(see also: people who freed their slaves in their wills, i.e. once they were dead and didn't need slaves anymore)

I don't know if this was intentional or not, but I also find parallels between this speech and some of the things happening today. "Well, if we don't exploit people, we can't possibly have these products or turn a profit!" even though through history there are countless counterexamples. "Make America strong again!" So I don't know if you actually had today's politics in mind while you wrote this or if there just happen to be parallels because there actually are parallels, but I think that made it even more cringeworthy and powerful.

Cringeworthy as, like, a compliment here. As you say, there's no good way to justify slavery...because it's bad, period, end of story. Based on my prior knowledge of American slavery and the various movies I've seen and books I've read where there was any insight into a pro-slavery perspective, I think you've done a great job showing the frighteningly flawed thinking people used to explain why owning people was fine and dandy.

May I ask, were you assigned specifically to write from the Southern perspective? Or did you decide to? And if you did decide to, why?


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525 Reviews

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Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:25 pm
Tuckster wrote a review...

Hey there! MJ stopping by for a review brought to you by RevMo. Without further ado, my thoughts.

It is not cruelty as humanity, but ingenuity as a people that has brought such an idea to America
I'm having trouble getting at your first point. 'cruelty as humanity' is a pretty confusing way to put that, so I get the gist of what you're saying, but I think it would benefit you to clear that up a bit.

so we must dotake measures to ensure that these slaves are not tempted to rebel against their masters
To me, that sounds nicer, so keep the change if you want it and discard it if you don't.

I did like your writing style here and how you wrote it the way that a Southern politicna may have spoken, and that made it seem more authentic and it was a good way to emphasize your point of view.

My one critique here would be how this isn't really a very popular view back then. It's plausible, but since it wouldn't be held by very many, it doesn't represent the general view of Southern politicians. If your goal was to write an essay that shows a view that might have been held by a lot of people, like the view that slaves weren't people but rather items, it would have more accurately reflected the views of that time.

I did enjoy how you presented this argument well, and while I could find a few fallacies that would explain why this is indeed an inhumane view, I didn't want to argue it too much because I understand that this is not your personal view. If this was your personal view, I would be having a very serious talk with you about basic human rights, but due to your emphasis on the author's note, I will not be doing that :) Thanks for posting this, and good job with the creativity and solid writing on this! If you have any questions, let me know and I'd be happy to help clear everything up for you. Best of luck in future endeavors!

Best wishes and RevMo cheer,

ajruby12 says...

Ha, well, the argument for slavery is absolutely full of holes, so I tried choosing points that weren't quite as absurd and horrible.
But thank you for the review!

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471 Reviews

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Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:27 pm
Lightsong says...

I lack the history knowledge to properly review this essay, but I have to commend you for delivering it in an entertaining way. Keep up the good job! :D

ajruby12 says...

Thank ya! I didn't exactly enjoy writing this, just because of the content, but it is interesting to study

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Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:15 am
wetumbrella5 wrote a review...

hi.i think this is a really great recreation of a typical colonial american speech. keep in mind that colonial americans were very religious protestants. so it was norm to use biblical verses in a speech. try reading stuff by american founding fathers to get better ideas. another thing is the language. the word ladies and gentlemen is a new one. i don t think that colonials used it. keep in mind that slavary was a norm then. as well as dueling, ignoring women rights etc. even lincoln himself didn t believe in freedom of negros. i seems like you are intrested in history. i love history too. especially american history. altough i am not american myself. i hope one day you write a historical fiction. i am really waiting to read yours. good luck.

— alliyah