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The National Debate
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Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division

Idealization of the South

Pro-slavery propagandists argued that the objective of slaveholders was not to make money, but to Christianize and "civilize" the slaves. It is only when they failed at their business, because they had given priority to their slaves' welfare, that they would resort to selling some of them. According to the plantation legend, debt was at the basis of reluctant sales; but usually, it was claimed, traders sold only the "bad" elements. This myth is still alive today, and on tours of Southern plantations, tourists are almost always told that there was never any sale there.

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