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There are so many phenomena and events that take place in the physical world around us today. Most of these phenomena and events take place at the same time while others occur at different times resulting to different situations and conditions of the physical environment around us. For one to describe the changes that take place in the physical environment around him/her in the present day world, s/he must be in a position to analyses changes in the situations and conditions of the physical environment over time. This is the whole purpose of compare and contrast essay.
The contrast and comparison essay enables the writer to point out the similarities and differences of trends of different situations, circumstances and events over the same or different periods of time. In the first part of the compare and contrast essay, the writer will be required to first single out all the similarities in the events, situations or conditions of an object/subject after which the observed parameters will be presented in a clear manner that shows how close they are to one another.
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The second part of the compare and contrast essay deals with the differences between the objects, events, situations or conditions under the review. The writer will first make an assessment on all the observable traits after which s/he will develop a full list of differences on the things under review. If the differences are brought out in a clear yet logical manner, the readers will definitely tell the extent to which the objects or subjects under review differ from each other. For one to tell the differences and similarities in the world around him/her the comparison and contrasting skills are very instrumental.

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Upon gaining independence from Great Britain in 1783, the institution of slavery was already well-entrenched in the United States. Nearly as old as the colonization of the North American continent itself, slavery had become a pillar of the Southern economy and by turn the United States itself. The Constitution of the United States (1789) was largely silent on the matter and left the door for wide interpretation on the matter open. Arguments evolved from a range of leading American figures from Thomas Jefferson to Jefferson Davis to Abraham Lincoln. Slavery would last another eighty years until the South was defeated in America’s great Civil War. During that period, different philosophical arguments both for and against slavery were developed, ultimately leading the debate onto the battlefield.
While not overtly pro-slavery, the American Constitution (1789) at the very least condoned slavery as an American institution. Beyond the fact that the original constitution did not recognize black men as citizens, it allowed slaves to be counted as 3/5 of a person in legislative districts which had a profound pro-slavery effect on early American history. This clause in the Constitution affected all three branches of government in the antebellum period. As a result of the “3/5 Clause,” slave holding states were given unequal representation in the U.S. congress which. This advantage in the congress led to pro-slavery decisions such as the Missouri Compromise (1820) which allowed slavery into the newly acquired Louisiana territory. On the local level, the southern states drew their legislative districts in a way which would rest all voting power in the slave-holding areas, thus marginalizing potential abolitionists. The disproportionate representation of the slave-holding states affected the presidential elections as well. The Electoral College representatives were based off of the number of congressman a state had, thereby once again giving an advantage to the South. Consequently, the judicial branch, nominated by the president, consisted of more pro-slavery members than not. This resulted in perverse Supreme Court decisions such as Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) where it was ruled that no person of African descent could be considered a citizen. Although the Constitution did not clearly support or oppose slavery, its relative silence coupled with the infamous “3/5 Clause” had an indelible effect on the pro-slavery argument in American society preceding the Civil War.
Advocates of slavery during the antebellum period developed a deep philosophical argument for its necessity in the United States. As the slavery debate heated up in the decades before the Civil War, several prominent thinkers such as George Fitzhugh and John C. Calhoun developed philosophical arguments in its defense. Fitzhugh, a social theorist and racial-based sociologist, argued that slavery was in fact a form of protection for African-Americans. Believing that African’s were intellectually inferior and incapable of surviving in a capitalist society, he said that slavery was actually a good thing. According to Fitzhugh, slavery served to civilize and protect African’s in a society which they were ill-equipped to survive. Calhoun, a leading Southern politician, disagreed with other pro-slavery colleagues that the institution was a “necessary evil.” Instead, he argued that slavery was not evil but in fact a natural and “good” institution. Calhoun pointed to other societies around the world in which an elite group prospers off the labor of another. As a senator from South Carolina and later Vice President to John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson, he was a vocal proponent of slavery on the national level. He believed that the slaves’ condition in America was actually more humane than the condition of the poor in most European countries. It was natural in a country consisting of two different races for one to become subordinate to the other, according to Calhoun. Therefore, he argued, the United States benefited greatly by the subordination of the blacks and was to the benefit of both races.
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These two influential pro-slavery thinkers held great sway during the antebellum period but received strong criticisms from the emerging abolitionist movement.
The abolitionist movement grew out of not only disgust of the institution itself but also the unfair advantage that Southern states were getting in the political level. Early abolitionist thinkers such as Thomas Jefferson and Frederick Douglass argued that the institution of slavery was in direct contradiction of the enlightened principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The institution of slavery was also attacked by foreign observers from countries like Great Britain, which had outlawed the practice in 1833. Despite being a the hated enemy of the U.S. federal government, the British would not support the rebel cause during the Civil War in part due to the institution of slavery. Other abolitionist groups in the United States such as the Quakers believed that slavery and subjugation was immoral and that the United States would one day have to atone for its sins. This day of atonement would be realized when civil war broke out between the North and the South. President Abraham Lincoln, whose own views on slavery evolved during the Civil War period, would be at the forefront of the quest to end the practice once and for all in the United States.
From the time of the country’s independence until the Civil War, the slavery debate was a key political issue which dominated all levels. Arguments for and against its existence formed during this period and influenced the combatants on both sides of America’s greatest blood-letting. Leading politicians from both the North and South were forced to take a stand on the issue in the decades preceding the Civil War. Key legislation passed during the decades before the Civil War only served to further exacerbate the situation. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 signaled to the South that major changes to the institution of slavery were imminent. The Southern states chose secession rather than further debate on the matter. Ultimately it took war for the United States to realize the simple creed written in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.”

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