What Are Edmund Morgans Thesis and Argument about Slavery

By the late 1960s, Morgan’s research of slavery, as Couvares and Saxton state, had plunged him deeply into social history, that is, into the realm of group experience and collective fate that seemed very far away from the world of intellectuals and political leaders that had once so occupied him (16). Morgan found no conflict between the ideals of liberal democracy as espoused by America’s founding fathers and the country’s dependence upon slavery. Instead, he believed that slavery minimized class conflict, thus making the experiment of social democracy easier to accomplish in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.Unlike other historians of his era, Morgan believed that racism had little to do with the origins of slavery. Rather, he felt that its existence had more to do with elite English attitudes towards manual labor, a short supply of indentured servants, and an elite fear of their unruliness (111). In other words, slavery was used by the English colonists of the U.S. to control the lower classes. For Morgan, slavery was more of a class issue than a race issue.

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