Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
“To all the good people of France, I write before you with the hope that you have an open heart for the change that I believe shall take place, to truly make France a better nation. With that being said, I, Lafayette believe that slavery shall not, under any circumstance, be permitted to continue to exist in this great nation. Regardless of party politics, we cannot claim “rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression” when we persist to desire the limitation of the slaves, who are people just like us and aren’t able to access the basic rights that we cherish. But, I, a man of good faith and belief in: liberty, property, security, and abolishment of slavery can no longer remain silent. My good people, we should be ashamed of ourselves, that we would even allow such atrocious behaviors such as slavery to be tolerated, even for financial gain. No longer can we continue to allow money, to be the moral justification for any and everything that we deem fit. With all due respect, it is about time, the people of France, that we wake up and we speak out against slavery!
Some of you may be wondering questions like why is slavery bad and why do I have such strong feelings against it? Well, I assure you, good people, that within this article I shall outline the very answers to these questions. Moreover, I do not expect that you simply take what I say and just believe it, but instead allow me to at the very least help you gain perspective.
It is important to consider the idea that slavery does nothing, but decrease the overall joy of an individual’s life. This is due to the mere fact that you cannot treat humans like property and expect them to be satisfied with their life. I believe that it is inherently important that we recognize all humans should be treated with at least some level of dignity. The good people of France consider this, who would we really be if we allowed slavery to continue to exist? Was this revolution not founded upon the very ideals that freedom is everyone’s right. Not to mention, a society in which not many found any joy in. Thereby, I ask that you recognize the hypocrisy of not abolishing slavery, and reflect on the simple fact that slavery relinquishes any drop in happiness for the individuals enduring it. So I ask, who are we to choose a man’s fate for him?
Not only is it wrong to treat them as property, but I believe that it is also wrong to treat them only as a means to an end for the desired outcome. As I have mentioned before, slaves lack the human dignity we give each other at the most basic level. It is important to note that, we treat them without any moral regard and they become nothing more or less than just a tool. It is outrageous to believe that any man could be less than that of his counterpart. Humans are not beings that are meant to be oppressed and in chains their entire lives, and we somehow forget that these “slaves” are humans. They do not want to be chained, oppressed, and forced to do things any more than we do. There is no distinction between us and them, except for the one that we created. Slavery is simply a byproduct of the system, in which we are in pursuit to abolish. Good people, it only makes sense to eliminate slavery from our very way of life as it does to eliminate the rule of just one person. It is evident that in both cases power can, will, and has been corrupted. The only reason we believe in slavery to be justified is that we were told it helps our economy. So, I ask you to do something even more daring than listening to others, but to reason what you think. It is important that you not allow this period of enlightenment passes you by. Therefore, it is with this enlightened thought that allows us to rise beyond the views of what many may hold true. For that reason, we obtain the ability to think not what others only think, but what is right and following our moral obligations. However, even though it will not be an easy task, I believe that this thinking will not only abolish slavery but also make a way for future France.
In addition to violating the joy of human beings, slavery allows for the degradation and even the exploitation of people as well. In the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, I wrote, “Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good”. However, we persist to recognize the slaves in Saint Domingue as inferior, but I assure you they’re not. In my opinion, the degradation of these individuals does not benefit society. It doesn’t benefit the revolution, it doesn’t benefit the people of France’s well being, and it certainly doesn’t benefit our values of a republic. Therefore, I believe it’s role in our society should be outlawed as it has no place in the general good of the people, nor what it needs.
As I have mentioned before, not only does slavery degrade individuals, but also exploits them. Unethically we have made full use of these slaves and reaped all the benefits, leaving them with so little, if not nothing at all. It wasn’t so long ago that we were enraged by our King, my good friend and the existing hierarchical system that forced us all to work until our last breath, yet still be at the bottom of society. I want to exclaim, good people, that I refuse to repeat the cycle of seeing innocent people in shackles and chains, we need to learn that it’s not right. Perhaps, we need to learn from the mistakes of our old ways and continue to reach for a better outcome. I only ask that you all continue with me to make France a better place not only for you and me but for the generations that follow.
Not to mention, slavery only perpetuates abuse. It is displeasing to hear the treatment of the slaves in Saint Domingue, so bad that death is considered to be a better outcome. In my honest opinion, it is disheartening that we could ever allow slavery to continue to exist, especially being aware of the slaves’ conditions.
Without a doubt, slavery is in violation of any basic human right and therefore is immoral. It would be inappropriate to be content with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and still have slaves doing our bidding, going against almost everything I wrote in the Declaration. Regardless of the money, we should cease from using slaves as an engine for economic growth, and instead recognize them for the human beings that they really are. Human beings that are both capable and deserving of dignity. However, nothing will change, good people of France, if we persist to neglect our obligation to ensure equal protection under the law not only for us but those who have suffered from France’s mistakes. It is only right that we eliminate the wrongs from our old values.
In response to the ongoing issue of slavery, I have become a leading figure and founder of the French Society of the Friends of Blacks. Our group seeks to encourage the emancipation of slavery on the French colony of Saint Domingue. I also privately, believe it or not, good citizens bought a plantation. Hence, with this plantation, it is my goal to free the slaves by paying, feeding, and treating them the right way. Therefore, in hopes of this experiment be a successful show that it is possible to abolish slavery. Likewise, it is my hope after, my fellow citizens read this article that you not only have a sense of perspective but yearn to see the see emancipation of slavery as I do. Good citizens, I encourage you to speak out for what you truly believe is right in your heart, and of God’s will. For I believe that all which is right, is at the center of man’s heart, as we are born pure and honest.
The good people of France, I want to continue to convey the fact that slavery has no place in the new republic of our great nation. The presence of slavery has no benefit at all for the good of the people nor the well- being of our country. I call upon the citizens of France to join me in my pursuit to abolish slavery, and to put all faction politics aside. We cannot allow these people to suffer for the doing that wasn’t our own but instead allows our ideals of the revolution to spread to the slaves, that are in Saint Domingue.
As I have mentioned before, slavery only brings the people: degradation, exploitation, lack of joy, and abuse. We should be ashamed of ourselves to call our revolution a success, overthrowing our old values, but may the monarchy still live. It is important, citizens of France, that you see not abolishing slavery is only becoming the very thing that we seek to eliminate from our society. Therefore, we would be continuing
the process of abusing power and would be no better than the very entitled status that we have fought so hard to get away from.
It is time that we begin to act on moral values, rather than self-interest. Furthermore, I believe that it is the self-interest which drives human beings in the opposite direction of what is right and our own moral obligations. However, I shall act as an example that some people really do act on their moral values. Why may you ask? It is because it is our moral values that not only contribute to the lives we live but actually to the common good in itself. Therefore, we can ensure that the future of this country is not plagued by the same diseases, that were present for us, but instead a future that shows our commitment to human dignity and morality.”