Although Zephaniah Kingsley did not view the slave
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Although Zephaniah Kingsley did not view the slaves as harshly as the other white slave owners of that time his views were essentially opposite than those of David Walker. David Walker was the son of a slave father and a free black mother. This parentage, according to the laws of slavery, made him free. He received an education and resided in several states throughout his lifetime. As a result of his observations and experiences with slavery, he wrote his Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World which basically delivers a candid description of racism and slavery in the United States and also calls upon the black population to rise and reclaim their identity as members of the human race. Zephaniah Kingsley on the other hand, was a white Florida planter and slave owner who argued that the institution of slavery was an essential and necessary part of life in the South. Although Kingsley’s views were in favor of slavery he differed from most whites in that he did not believe that blacks were inferior.
The extent of David Walker’s opinion on slavery can basically be summarized in this statement, “…The inhuman system of slavery, is the source from which most of our miseries proceed.” Walker, (3) He argues that in no other time in history has a group of people been so mistreated as the slaves of the white Americans. To support this he claims that never before has their humanity been questioned. For example, he brings up the point that many Americans considered black people to be direct descendants of monkeys. Walker, (10) In addition to being labeled as inferior, blacks were also prohibited from becoming educated and also from getting together to worship God. According to Walker, becoming educated posed a threat to the whites who then feared that they could no longer control their slaves. “…For coloured people to acquire learning in this country, makes tyrants quake and tremble on their sandy foundation.” Walker, (31) Perhaps the point that makes David Walker feel so strongly about his argument is that to him the American people were in a sense walking contradictions. In Article IV of his Appeal he refers to the Declaration of Independence particularly the line “We hold these truths to be self evident-that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: that are among these, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…” Walker implores the Americans to think about how the cruelties imposed upon them by the British pale in comparison to the ones they subject the slaves to. To conclude Walker’s argument, the one thing that made him adamant about slavery aside from the immense cruelty was that he could not find one justification for the deplorable treatment of his people other than inherent evil on the part of the white Americans.
Completely contrary to David Walker’s views were that of Zephaniah Kingsley. Just as Walker wrote his Appeal expressing his opposition to slavery, Kingsley wrote the Treatise on the Patriarchal, or Co-operative System of Society, As it Exists in Some Governments, And Colonies in America, and in the United States, Under the Name of Slavery, With its Necessity and Advantages. This document, although in favor of slavery, addresses it not as a matter of race but rather a sort of economic system and also dismisses the idea of black inferiority. Perhaps this point is reinforced with the fact that he had an extended family consisting of many children from various slave women, which he openly acknowledged as his own and even provided for them in his will. He states, “To destroy the prejudice existing against slavery, under the circumstances with which it is now associated in the South, is the object of this essay.” Stowell, (45) Kingsley believed in a three-caste social system consisting of whites, free blacks, and slaves. The success of this system depended on the free blacks and whites working together through common economic interest. Stowell, (1) This system also allowed for the moving up in social status of the blacks provided they achieve economic success.
One of Kingsley’s strongest points in his proslavery argument was that the South’s prosperity depended exclusively on agriculture, and he believed that white people were unfit to work
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Slavery in the United States, Slavery, African diaspora, Zephaniah Kingsley, David Walker, Abolitionism, Proslavery, Free negro, Kingsley Plantation, Abolitionism in the United States
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