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Slavery Was Unprofitable for Slave Owners Essay

For numerous centuries land owners were dependent on a free source of labor provided by slaves. They were to pay for these slaves and then allowed to do as they pleased with them. Slaves cooked, cleaned, worked on plantations, and devoted their lives submissive to the orders of their masters. For over 150 years now, historians continue to argue whether or not slaves helped countries as a whole move economically at a faster pace, or whether after calculating the head cost and transporting the slaves, the trade ended up making having little significance to the country pace and the slave owner’s wealth. The Atlantic slave trade, when a massive number of slaves from Africa were taken on enormous boats to the new world to work for no money and minimal food, clothing and shelter, lasted roughly four centuries. Nothing that does not help improve an economy and way of life lasts for such an extended amount of time unless proved beneficial.

In fact, slavery would have continued to grow today if it was not for the immoral and inhuman nature of the act. In the market when a certain product does not earn a company profit, it is discontinued within months. On a larger scale the entire South was indeed profiting and thriving on slavery and that is what allowed slavery to continue for as long as it did. A year, 365 days, is the amount of time it took to get a slave from ocean to ocean. These slaves were often bought from Europeans for just three British pounds and sold to the Americans for twenty. Even after American paid the exorbitant price, nearly seven times the amount of money the British paid for a slave, it was well worth it considering these slaves would work for many years to come; the wealth provided from the slaves themselves was above and beyond the one-time payment made. Especially that the food and clothing the slaves required was made by themselves from the cotton and food they grew. South Carolina had attained the most amount of slaves in the county, when slavery had sky rocketed this state experienced a 90 percent growth in the value of their property.

Slaves were cheap and there were many of them to go around. Land owners hired many slaves to plant on their plantations, and then harvest for a profit in turn, the more slaves, the more planted, equaling a bigger profit. The more profit earned, the more slaves bought that brought cash to buy the more land. This was a cycle that continued for a plethora of years. While it was cruel and brutal, it was effective in allowing the land owners to spend minimal money and earn profits for a lifetime. Even abolitionists, those who were strongly against slavery, located mostly in the north, never denied the fact that slaves were profiting the slave owners. Slavery began in the new world back in 1619 lasted well into the 1800s, if the slave owners were not benefiting those centuries, they would not have craved more and more slaves to work on their land. It had even been said that slaves were not only a factor in prosperity for large farm owners, but were the key.

While it is true that in the south when profits were coming off plantations the north was well advanced and people were paid while they were working in factories, this did not mean the north were better off. The term for the south was “backwardness” because their profits were closed systems and only came off the farm. “The statement that the South was somehow “backward” as a result of slavery is dependent on one’s definition of “backwardness” (Drake 331).” The veracity is though, not because the northern people were getting paid it means that their lives were any better. Factory workers worked long hours, with minimal food and water, and extreme temperatures. The money they made was so little that there was no leeway in how they could spend it.

It ended up being able only to provide them with the necessities of life that slave were already provided with free of charge. “The South actually maintained higher per capita income growth for all citizens, both slaveholding and non-slaveholding, than’ their northern counterparts (Drake 329).” When Texas, the second largest state after Alaska, had started using more slaves around mid-eighteenth century, their economy grew five times, that’s a 500% growth. Slavery was inhumane and slavery coming to an end was a must, but to argue that slaves gave little or no profits to its owners is simply a false argument, with little or no evidence and proof. If these slave owners were not profiting they would not have continued to acquire slaves all along and they would not have been able to reach the levels of wealth they obtained.


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