My paper is due tonight is it possibe that I can get it before 12pm?
The Relationship and Conflicts between Morals and Ethics
Every morning I like to read the newspaper while watching TV. Like many people, this is my idea of multi-tasking. While looking at the editorials, problems with the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) the want ads, a commercial for Twelve Years a Slave was playing in the background. This movie is the story of a man who lived in Massachusetts as a free man who was lured to the south and then was sold into slavery. One of the problems with multi-tasking is my thoughts oftentimes run together and my mind wonders. Combining the sale ads and the commercial, this led me to the puppy my daughter and I are considering buying for Christmas for her kids. I then went to the owning, selling and dehumanizing ways people were sold just like pets as slaves. Much like we breed, sell and buy pets today, for more than four-hundred years in America, one of the most civilized countries in the world, people breed, bought and sold other humans.
Ethics vs. Morals
As I continued multi-tasking I began to wonder how people could be so cruel to each other. Each day, we are reminded that we are shaped by society. (1) (September 2006) “Society has an influence on its people, but it is entirely for the people in their individual capacities to decide to either be conformist or be the exception. If more people are unable to conform, the collective will of people becomes binding and the society cannot but change accordingly.”
I believe there is a direct link between but many times a difference in our Ethics and our Morals. For most people (2) The difference between Ethics and Morals can seem somewhat arbitrary but there is a difference. Morals define personal character, while Ethics stress a social system in which those morals are applied. In other words, ethics point to standards or codes of behavior expected by the group to which the individual belongs or the difference between right and wrong. However this is determined by groups. This could be social, economic and family ethics while morals are those codes we believe in. For instance in some groups, the punishment for stealing is cutting off the hand of the thief while in others jail time is sufficient. As a pre-school worker a teacher cannot spank a child so they use other forms of discipline in their classrooms. But in my home, I may use other forms of discipline include spanking with my children. This is how I was raised and my upbringing shaped how I function in society.
Slavery and Religion
We have all read these passages from the Bible:
(3)"Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves." (Leviticus 25:44)
"Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property." (Exodus 21:20)
For more than four-hundred years society condoned slavery and the Bible mentions it, without the slave owner being condemned to Hell, then for those owning slaves, it must be allowed. This continues to confound my thoughts.
Although, slave holders because of the social, economic and family history of using whatever means necessary to attain their financial goals saw nothing wrong with owning and selling slaves. It was their way of society. Society and religion were combined then as today to justify doing what is necessary to “get ahead”, no matter who get hurt in the process. Slavery through a verse I once read in the bible “go forth and prosper” was defined as increasing the population. During the time of slavery in America, prosperity meant making money and gaining wealth, status, and respect and material things. This selective interpretation by slaveholders helped to justify holding others in bondage.
While slavery was confined mostly to the South during its last 150 years in America, most land owners did not own slaves. Though slave owners and non-slave owners defined themselves as “good Christians” they accepted slavery as the ethics thing to do. I would like to believe their own morals knew it was wrong for one human to hold the other in forced bondage however their group ethics found it necessary and caused no harm but good for those enslaved.
As I detest slavery and those that defended and owned slaves I would like to also believe their morals and ethics were in conflict. How one could go to church on Sunday and worship God then on Monday beat, raped and hold the belief that one person was so beneath another that God forgave them for owning slaves. This had to be a conflict between their ethics and morals.
In the South and some areas in the North society encouraged and saw slavery as a necessity.
(4) Social ethics are the philosophical or moral principles that, in one way or another, represent the collective experiences of people and cultures. This sort of “code of conduct” that governs what is and is not acceptable, as well as providing a framework for ensuring that all members of the community are cared for. Slavery was a ethical and moral necessity to keep things in balance.
(5) In 1619 the first slaves from Africa arrived in America on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco. Slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African-American slaves helped build the economic foundations of the new nation.
The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 solidified the central importance of slavery to the South's economy. By the mid-19th century, America's westward expansion, along with a growing abolition movement in the North, would provoke a great debate over slavery that would tear the nation apart in the bloody American Civil War (1861-65).
Economics was the primary reason slavery lasted as long as it did in the South. One does not keep slaves out of paternalistic feelings. Slaves represented an investment in time and money and were a form of property legally. With the rise of cotton as the major product in so many states, slavery remained economically sensible. Your labor force couldn't wander away to seek better employment, overhead costs were relatively low, and slaves even produced more slaves by having children. Ironically, the industrial revolution was moving to make slavery an inefficient way to product cotton. Before the institution could die a "natural" death, the War occurred.
There was an absence of an antislavery movement in the south. Because slavery had become so ingrained into southern culture, few people questioned its practice. Northerners and the abolitionist movement generated hostility as "nosy outsiders" who came in trying to change things they didn't understand, and doing so in a way challenging the intelligence and morality of those who practiced slavery. The heavy-handedness of the abolitionist movement probably did more damage in the south. Any attempts of homegrown abolitionists in the South simply met with enough hostility to make the abolitionists give up or leave.
With the maintenance of a "state of war" mentality in the South the South developed methods of maintaining control over the slave population. Given how large a percentage of the population were blacks/slaves, this was a logical mindset to develop. The insidious part of this was that even the majority of whites who did not own slaves became part of the system that assured that the enslaved did not revolt. They were presented logical reasons to take part in the suppression of any desire for liberty by the enslaved. Examples of previous revolts and the havoc caused helped appeal to their emotional nature. Besides being able to claim a superior place in society, all of this also inoculated them against any arguments against the "peculiar institution". This made Southerners less willing to accept the idea that slavery was either wrong or unneeded.
Laws played less a part in the maintenance of slavery than did economic factors. After all, while the South managed to assure that slavery was permitted in newer states through various compromises, those same compromises meant that other states were free. The federal outlook towards slavery was that of maintaining the status quo, so long as it held the Union together. And the only reason the South would bother to have laws to maintain slavery was the fact that their economy revolved around the institution.
"Paternalistic" attitudes played no significant part in maintaining slavery. Again, the vast majority of slaves were an economic investment, not a charity cause by the owners. Paternalistic arguments were used, but given how few people actually owned slaves in the South, that simply wouldn’t have been a major factor in slavery lasting so long.
I believe that for hundreds of years people have used religion as both a feather and a club, If our faith can be bent and twisted to justified our morals then society ethics should allow it to take place. The world is full of hypocrites that say do as I say not as I do. Saying that, slave-owners should be thought of as the world’s biggest hypocrites. We all know the rallying cry “Give Me Liberty of Give Me Death” from Patrick Henry and several United States Presidents including the Father of the county George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Adams and Andrew Jackson were slave owners. These men while demanding rights for the common man were able to deny common and decent rights to others. I am conflicted with my respect for their holding the office of President while acknowledging that they too held others in bondage. Although I understand the different times we live in the following statement by George Washington is particular disturbing to me:
(6) 1786: ”I can only say that no man living wishes more sincerely than I do to see the abolition of (slavery)… But when slaves who are happy & content to remain with their present masters, are tampered with & seduced to leave them… it introduces more evils than it can cure."
How could anyone with the highest morals and ethics as George Washington believe such even accounting for the different time frames we live. Almost no slave was content and happy with their situation however their morals and ethics allowed them to accept the situation while longing to have the same freedoms their slave masters had.
History shows laws were enacted to promote, continue and extent slavery indefinitely. We have heard of the:
(7) Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 mandated that states to which escaped slaves fled were obligated to return them to their masters upon their discovery and subjected persons who helped runaway slaves to criminal sanctions. Our families were torn apart.
(8) Virginia, 1705 – "If any slave resists his master...correcting such a slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction...the master shall be free of all punishment...as if such accident never happened."
South Carolina, 1712 - "Be it enacted by the authority aforesaid, That no master, mistress, overseer, or other person whatsoever, that hath the care and charge of any negro or slave, shall give their negroes and other slaves leave...to go out of their plantations.... Every slave hereafter out of his master's plantation, without a ticket, or leave in writing, from his master...shall be whipped...."
Louisiana, 1724 - "The slave who, having struck his master, his mistress, or the husband of his mistress, or their children, shall have produced a bruise, or the shedding of blood in the face, shall suffer capital punishment."
As an African-American. I believe I can say that because of the ethics accepted by society at the time we are unable to trace our family history as we can only go back only a few generation. It was legal to tear families apart, women to be raped by their slave owners and husband could be lynched if they protested. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were murdered, raped, beaten and mutilated. Laws were enacted to allow these things to happen while affording the victim little or no rights while the perpetrator was given immunity.
The Economics of Slavery
(9) A major text on the economics of slavery is: Robert William Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman, Time on the Cross: The Economics of American Negro Slavery. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1974. These scholars argued that:
Slavery was not a system irrationally kept in existence by owners who failed to perceive or were indifferent to their best economic interests. The purchase of a slave was generally a highly profitable investment which yielded rates of return that compared favorably with the most outstanding investment opportunities in manufacturing.
The slave system was not economically moribund on the eve of the Civil War. There is no evidence that economic forces alone would have soon brought slavery to an end without the necessity of a war or other form of political intervention. Quite the contrary; as the Civil War approached, slavery as an economic system was never stronger and the trend was toward even further entrenchment.
Slave owners were not becoming pessimistic about the future of their system during the decade that preceded the Civil War. The rise of the secessionist movement coincided with a wave of optimism. On the eve of the Civil War, slaveholders anticipated an era of unprecedented prosperity.
Slave agriculture was not inefficient compared with free agriculture. Economies of large-scale operation, effective management, and intensive utilization of labor and capital made southern slave agriculture 35 percent more efficient than the northern system of family farming.
The typical slave field hand was not lazy, inept, and unproductive. On average he was harder-working and more efficient than his white counterpart.
The course of slavery in the cities does not prove that slavery was incompatible with an industrial system or that slaves were unable to cope with an industrial regimen. Slaves employed in industry compared favorably with free workers in diligence and efficiency. Far from declining, the demand for slaves was actually increasing more rapidly in urban areas than in the countryside.
The belief that slave-breeding, sexual exploitation, and promiscuity destroyed the black family is a myth. The family was the basic unit of social organization under slavery. It was to the economic interest of planters to encourage the stability of slave families and most of them did so. Most slave sales were either of whole families or of individuals who were at an age when it would have been normal for them to have left the family.
The material (not psychological) conditions of the lives of slaves compared favorably with those of free industrial workers. This is not to say that they were good by modern standards. It merely emphasizes the hard lot of all workers, free or slave, during the first half of the nineteenth century.
Slaves were exploited in the sense that part of the income which they produced was expropriated by their owners. However, the rate of expropriation was much lower than has generally been presumed. Over the course of his lifetime, the typical slave field hand received about 90 percent of the income he produced.
Far from stagnating, the economy of the antebellum South grew quite rapidly. Between 1840 and 1860, per capita income increased more rapidly in the south than in the rest of the nation. By 1860 the south attained a level of per capita income which was high by the standards of the time. Indeed, a country as advanced as Italy did not achieve the same level of per capita income until the eve of World War II.
Simply justifying the enslavement of a person based on economic potential or treating them as a commodity is the embodiment of not valuing a person as a living breathing human. Animals are breed for their food and economic value. Slaves were kept for the same save their value as food. But I would like to view the de-humanization of African-Americans not through their eyes but the effect it had on the slave owners.
In conclusion, the ethics and religions Philosophy is being able to know the different between rights from wrong, also ask question. Philosophy has a lot of value in that it teaches us to be more open minded and see all sides of important topics, such as politics and religion. there are three most knowing
The main three questions posed by philosophy are 1) What is reality? 2) How do we know what we know? 3) Given what we know, what should we do?
Slavery also dehumanized the white European Americans as well, not just the African American slaves. However, dehumanizing the European Americans does not just mean making the traders less human as their actions clearly were, but that it took away their sense of being humane. One of the things that separate humans from other animals is our innate ability to care for, feel for and feel the pain of others. We feel tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed.” Slave traders were obviously lacking this. Before this class, I had never really thought about how the institution was affecting the people who ran and kept alive slavery. Slave owners turned people into products. This says a lot about the people doing this to the slaves. Did the slave owners lose their own humanity, their compassion for others by taking away the humanity and personal quality of the slaves? These questions point out something we should all learn from. When we take something from others a piece of ourselves is lost.
Hero of the day
Person asked the most questions.