Why in 1860 did white southerners remain committed to the institution of slavery and its expansion? How did the South defend the use of slavery?
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In 1860, white Southerners remained committed to slavery for economic, legal, historical, and religious reasons. Arguments for slavery included: without slavery, the South’s economy would collapse; that freed slaves would create a reign of terror; that slaves do not have rights; that slavery has always existed; and that God himself approved of slavery.
First, they argued that ending slavery would detrimentally impact the South’s economy, which was built on slave labor. The large plantations needed...
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