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In the Classroom > African Americans Lessons > Ministers Owned Slaves

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Possible Answers to Discussion Questions


Rights of slaves:

  • liberty
  • comforts of life
  • exemption from being treated as property to be sold
  • family unity
  • spiritual freedom
  • fair treatment

Sewall's views about slaves:

  • they "can seldom use their freedom well"
  • they shouldn't "embody", or commingle with us
  • they will "never grow up into orderly families"- their family structures will not be as they should be according to white society
  • they are "poor silly Wretches"

Why Sewall is against slavery:

  • We are all of one blood and as such, slaves have as much right to liberty as anyone else
  • It goes against the teachings of the Bible
  • Slaveholders do not exhibit Christian behavior by holding people against their will
  • We are going against the golden rule of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us


How slaves are equal to Europeans:

  • They are entitled to become Christians
  • They are men too- we are all of one blood
  • They are children of God too

How slaves are inferior to Europeans:

  • They need Europeans to take care of them
  • They are ignorant, wicked, base, with poor miserable souls
  • They are possessions

Best way to treat slaves:

  • With charity
  • Turn them into good Christians- help them to convert their souls
  • Treat them as men, neighbors, brothers
  • Govern & protect them
  • Feed & clothe them, offer them times of rest, make them comfortable
  • Love them as you love yourself

How a minister is doing good work by keeping slaves:

  • He is converting them to Christianity and allowing them to be children of God too
  • He is instructing them in the ways of Christianity

Why the views of people in the 18th and early 19th centuries are different from ours:

  • On the whole, theirs was a much more religious society than ours, thus making for different values or a different emphasis on some values.
  • Many believed that those of a non-European origin were inherently less intelligent, and not enough scientific or psychological experiments had been developed or performed to prove otherwise.

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