Slavery is Business…

Robert Cruishank’s image “John Bull Taking a Clear View of the Negro Slavery Question!!,” illustrates that slavery was gainful and helpful to many people. The picture is a form of propaganda used to tease the abolition of slavery. Looking at Equiano’s Narrative, he believes that slavery should be abolished, but realizes that the economy profits from slavery in this quote:

“Tortures, murder, and every other imaginable barbarity and iniquity are practised upon the poor slaves with impunity. I hope the slave-trade will be abolished. I pray it may be an event at hand. The great body of manufacturers, uniting in the cause, will considerably facilitate and expedite it; and, as I have already stated, it is most substantially their interest and advantage, and as such the nation’s at large…”(Equino 116).

In this quote, Equiano refers to the abuse and slander that slaves are treated by their masters and that the slave trade needs to be abolished completely. I personally do not believe that this image illustrates anti or pro slavery because as mentioned in the quote above, the economy was fueled by slavery although it was wrong. The image shows Quakers who are interested in East India Sugar which again, proves the economic interest.

Many of my peers, as well as myself are quick to choose that the image, as well as the text are either anti or pro slavery. However, as I was reading one of my classmate’s blog posts, I realized there’s a middle/medium to every story or argument. The telescope in the picture is covered by a drawing or illustration of what seems to be a barbaric treatment of slaves. What it’s covering are the foreigners in the background that seem happy and at ease. I believe this picture represents a form of propaganda to be funny and make a mockery of out slavery. However, it should not steer away from the issue that slavery truly is and was wrong.

-Rahma

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4 thoughts on “Slavery is Business…

  1. I think this is the most important statement in this blog: “I believe this picture represents a form of propaganda to be funny and make a mockery of out slavery.” However, I would have liked to see this argument played out more. Based on the quote you chose to use from Equiano’s narrative, I didn’t see how the two were related. I also am not clear on what part of the image was comical, or how it mocked slavery. I would have liked to see you start with this statement and then give examples of how you came to this reading by analyzing the image/text.

    Extra Credit: 12/25

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  2. The main topic made seems to be, “I personally do not believe that this image illustrates anti or pro slavery because as mentioned in the quote above, the economy was fueled by slavery although it was wrong.” You could definitely improve it if you include an alternate view, like Equiano’s narrative.

    extra credit 12/25

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  3. The most original idea you have in this blog post is “I believe this picture represents a form of propaganda to be funny and make a mockery of out slavery”. To make this post stronger I suggest invoking more imagery from the cartoon to support your middle of the road argument.

    Extra Credit 11/25

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  4. It is very true that many economies benefit from this human trade. I would have liked to see this in a perspective from someone who sees monetary gain more important as that would be a more controversial perspective. 😮

    EC 12/15

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