Could a slave owner ever be defined as a good person?

Example: Thomas Jefferson.


0|0
14|15

Most Helpful Guy

  • No, I can't see how a slave owner could possibly be a good person. That doesn't mean that Jefferson was stupid. He was still a smart, talented and interesting man. I would even believe that he truly meant to be good but you can't be a good man if you own other human beings as possession.
    As an analogy, I would use Eric Clapton: Eric Clapton is an amazing guitarist. Unfortunately, he is also a horrible racist. He has said some absolutely disgusting and insane things about foreigners and other races on numerous occasions during his concerts. So is he a very skilled man and a great musician? Sure. But is he also an asshole? Yes, absolutely.

    2|0
    0|0

Most Helpful Girl

  • I can only think of them as being a good person if maybe they bought slaves in order to then free them immediately. I do not think that anyone who thinks it's okay to treat a human being like a possession could be called a good person - perhaps they did good things, but ultimately, they're not a good person.

    1|1
    0|0

What Guys Said 14

  • I will post this not anonymous because I have the balls to do so.

    It all depends on the time, place, social ethics, and laws surrounding slavery. If we're talking about formative period america, a slave owner could be a very good man, and many of the slaveholders were good people. Up until the last generation and a half of slaves in the US slavery was not a lifelong sentence. In fact poor white people that came over were brought over under similar pretenses as black men, they'd work for 7 years for housing and food, be granted a skill in that timeframe, and could go work for themselves as a tradesman in that craft. This was for both black and white people up until right before the civil war. In fact, if you look at history, the first millionaire in the US was a black woman who came over a slave, learned a skill, moved to the north, and made bank.

    At this point in time, yeah, slavery in any capacity from actually chained in basements sex slaves to unpaid interns make someone a shit individual. But in 20 years slavery could be the norm again and we could see it as perfectly fine. Who the fuck knows?

    0|0
    0|0
    • 3mo

      What is your point with that first sentence?

      I am talking about chattel slavery, not the indentured servitude you mention.

  • Sure he can. If we look at slavery in Africa it was very different to what it was in the US. Slavery usually had to do with paying off debts (indebted servitude). It was seen as unacceptable to abuse your slave and you had to provide proper accommodations for them.

    This way we can look at slavery as a transaction between the slave and the master which is no different from you using money to purchase something at a store. The only difference is that labour is what is being used as payment.
    Indebted servitude was a voluntary form of slavery and could be left after the debt was payed.

    If the debt was not payed when the slave died, then children of the slave would be free regardless.

    0|1
    0|0
  • Maybe if the person enslaved them to have them escape the horrible tasks and stuff

    0|0
    0|0
  • Eh not really no lol

    0|0
    0|0
  • No not really, I mean I guess he could be thought of as the nicest slave owner, but that doesn't make him nice.

    0|0
    0|0
    • Does the nicest slave owner rape his teenager slave?

    • Ugh no, a nice slave owner would be nice to his slaves treat them at least like he cares, maybe eventually even giving them their freedom, but that doesn't really make him a nice person.

  • Lol what kind of slave does he have?

    0|0
    0|0
    • What kind? What do you mean? We're talking about African-American chattel slavery.

    • every slave owner is dishonest

  • maybe if its decided

    0|0
    0|0
  • No. lets forget everything a person did to help found a nation and create a place where all people could eventually have the freedoms that we enjoy every day now because he once owned slaves.. Reading actual history, I would be willing to bet my money that Jefferson treated any slaves he owned with respect and dignity. Much better treatment than many/most other slave owners who beat their slaves into submission. So by him owning slaves, he prevented them from being bought by a more ruthless owner. That's not so much of a bad thing in my opinion but there is a definite agenda taking place today to vilify any historical figure that had anything to do with slavery in any shape or form. U do realize that it's this attack on the "founding fathers" that is being used to attempt to discredit the Constitution of the United States right? "we shouldn't use the constitution as a guide to govern this land because some of the founders owned slaves." Yes, it's an actual discussion by certain parties attempting to throw this nation into further anarchy. Fun times.

    0|0
    1|1
    • Wow, I asked a question and now I'm throwing the USA into anarchy. Might as well asassinate the President while I'm at it.

      (Google Sally Hemings.)

  • Sure. Slavery was acceptable at the time. You can't look at something in the past with today's lens. Otherwise, everyone and everything is bad.
    Do you feel like a good person? Because I have a feeling that in a couple of hundred years, those people will look at us as horrible, barbaric people. And with their technological superiority, they'd be right, but if they lived during this time...

    0|1
    0|1
    • I'm sorry but this is bullshit. There is something called ethics, y'know? And certain ethical values are absolute. It is ethically wrong to kill another person in all times and all circumstances. What you are doing is making up stupid excuses for bad stuff that happened in the past. You might as well claim that killing Jews in world war two was okay because it was considered acceptable in Nazi Germany.
      Slavery was wrong 2,000 years ago, it is wrong and it will be wrong in the future. And if future generations will find certain things we do today unacceptable then it is probably because we DO a lot of things that are ethically unacceptable. You don't need to live in the year 3000 to realize that.

    • It most certainly isn't bullshit.
      It's wrong by today's standards. To that, I agree. Most of us have developed past that. Many did not feel it to be wrong 2,000 years ago. It was a staple all over the world. Unfortunately, still is in some places.
      I think you can see the difference between something most people find acceptable to something an individual group like the Nazis finding acceptable. Clearly, most people didn't find it as such.

      My argument is that none of us feel that we are bad people for taking part in terrible things. The way animals are treated on factory farms is deplorable yet we still eat or at least let it exist. We are all probably using something that was put together by a Chinese (or wherever) person is being paid very poorly for and in bad conditions yet we still use them.
      Judging other times quite as harshly as today seems silly and is.

    • It is not silly because you SHOULD condemn bad things when you see them. Is it ethically wrong to buy a product that was produced with the help of child labor. Absolutely. I can make this statement for all times and all situations. Child labor IS WRONG. I don't care if the whole world thinks child labor is great. Just because a thousand people stand around a pile of poop and scream "It's gold! It's gold!" doesn't make it gold. I also don't care for some bullshit excuses like "it was a hard time, so they had to make use of child labor". I really don't give a fuck. Sure, it might have been necessary - but that doesn't make it ethically right. And it doesn't make it ethically right to buy such products.
      The same goes for slavery. I don't care if the whole world thinks slavery is the most awesome thing ever. There are certain things that are simply right or wrong under all circumstances and slavery is ALWAYS wrong. I find it appalling you can't see that.

  • Nope

    0|0
    0|0
  • Only if that slave is a prisoner of war... and the opposing nation was really in the wrong...

    0|0
    0|0
  • Nope all slave owners should've been executed along with their descendants

    0|0
    1|0
  • In the south they would have back then, they would have been, but not anymore

    0|0
    1|0
  • Sure. It comes down to the way he (in this example) treated his slaves. Not all slave owners were abusive toward their slaves. Yes, there's an argument to be made that owning slaves in general was abusive... but we're not going to have that argument at the moment.

    0|2
    1|1

What Girls Said 13

  • No.
    The argument of it being the 'norm' so it makes it acceptable is invalid.
    We can look at our lives today and choose to live in an ethical way. But most are too lazy or too greedy to do it.
    I personally fall into a few things I know I shouldn't do - like eating too much meat that is slaughtered and treated cruelly instead of hunting in a sustainable manner.
    I hate watching footage of animals being slaughtered and yet I still eat burgers!

    Yes, this behavior means we are not as good as we like to think we are.
    We can work towards being better but most outright refuse to do it because it benefits them.

    Slavery in the UK was only abolished because slave owners got 20 million pounds worth of compensation from the government.
    Otherwise it was an incredibly profitable circumstance that people took pride and status in slave ownership.

    People might have been against owning slaves themselves but still consumed the sugar grown in the plantations.

    Black people are the only ones responsible for their freedom by proving they are equal to us not property.
    The common white man was completely compliant and didn't really care.

    0|1
    0|0
  • Everyone saying no here would have probably owned slaves at that point in time. This can be seen by how everyone here twists their opinion to what everyone else is saying. Trust me if having slavery was popular you all would have them if you had the money.

    Now for my answer. Having slaves was horrible, no question about that. But it was the norm of life back then. You need to judge them based on what they have done. George Washington fought for independence, Thomas Jefferson protected independence, etc.
    Before I am attacked or thumb downed, I am not justifying slavery in any way, all I am trying to ask is for you to look at this and not take slavery into account. For example, today it is quite a norm for everyone to eat meat. What if in 300 years that will not be a norm? Will you want to look at president Obama and say that he was a bad person simply because he ate meat when it was okay to eat meat? No, you won't. Times were different back then.

    0|1
    0|0
    • There were whites who were abolitionists. Some of them even considered black and white people equal, like John Brown. "But everyone did it!" is not a good excuse in my opinion.

    • Show All
    • Those people might be in slave-like conditions due to poverty, but they are not slaves. No one owns them, legally defines them as 3/5's of a person or tears their families apart. Animals are an entirely different issue.

    • I'd like for you to go see in what conditions they live in then call them not slaves. Slavery is pretty great when you don't know it exists.

  • Of course not.
    A person who owns/owned slaves has/had no respect for other human beings or for the human life.
    So, saying that they are good people is a lie.

    0|0
    0|0
  • Hitler was nice to children, does that make him forgiven of his crimes, no. There is no such thing as 100% good or evil. Slave owners like the founding fathers built this country for white males, it doesn't matter if they were nice to people when they were no doubt white supremacists who believed enslaving black people was doing us a favor.

    0|0
    0|0
  • Mmm maybe. Maybe if they owned them to prevent them from being owned by someone else? So they fed them and were relativley equal (I mean cmon let's be somewhat realistic) and treated them well. Their jobs were fair and after a certain amount of time if the slaves wanted their freedom they could be free. Dunno sounds like the best situation in the worst of times.. So I guess it's relatively good?

    0|0
    0|0
  • #NO

    these answers are disgusting.

    0|1
    1|0
    • Yours is on top and I'm kinda scared to look down now, lol

  • Sure since slavery was totally normal at the time. Its existed for centuries.

    0|0
    0|0
  • Thomas Jefferson is not a good slave owner. He raped his slave, and had children with her, and he denied about it until his death. George Washington was a good slave owner.

    0|0
    3|0
    • So you do think there's such a thing as a good slave owner.

    • Yes, because Washington never abused his slave. In fact, he freed his slaves on his own.

    • In his will, and excluding Martha's slaves.

  • Yes. He could have been a Slave owner but treated them really well.

    0|0
    0|0
    • That's a horrible excuse.
      If I kidnap your daughter and I lock her in my basement but I'm really nice to her, don't hurt her and feed her everyday that makes everything okay?

    • Show All
    • 3mo

      No.. I just don't believe that doing one thing that's not ethical makes someone automatically a bad person.

    • 3mo

      Yes, because owning people is just one little thing.

  • Yes. I think so.

    0|0
    0|0
  • I think during that time, owning slaves was the thing to do. I'm sure many people believed it to be wrong and treated their slaves kindly. As in they were fed, families were kept together, they weren't beaten, etc. I think they would be considered good given the time and place.

    Obviously there aren't any truly good ones because they were all wrong.

    0|0
    0|0
  • No.

    Greatness (achievement) and goodness (morality) aren't the same thing.

    0|0
    0|0
  • Not in my eyes.

    1|0
    1|1
Loading...