18th Century Authors Defending the Institution of Slavery Analysis

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Length: 600 words minimum (excluding name, date, class, and title)

Format: Text entry, or file via personal message/email (backup)

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Drafts: If you would like me to review an early draft, please send it via email or personal message with a note requesting my comments. The campus Writing Center at LARC 229 can also offer essay-writing assistance.

Please submit an essay that answers ONE of the following prompts.

Prompt 1

Why do 18th-century authors like William Murray Mansfield or Malachy Postlethwayt defend the institution of slavery? Support your conclusions with examples from at least one author.

Primary Sources:

William Murray Mansfield, “A Letter to Philo Africanus, Upon Slavery” (1787)

Malachy Postlethwayt, “The Advantages of the African Trade” (1772)

Prompt 2

Compare John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract. Which author do you agree with the most, and why? Support your argument with examples from the excerpts.

Tip: Although you are selecting one of the two works as your preference, do not analyze one author to the exclusion of the other. A good essay will explain why one of the two is better, and why the other is worse.

Tip: All academic writing is already presumed to express your opinion, so you don’t need to tell the reader that what you’re saying is your opinion. It also hurts your persuasiveness by drawing attention to the fact that it is just “your opinion.” Avoid redundant first-person statements like, “I believe…” or, “I think that…” Instead, make assertive statements from a neutral perspective like, “X presents a more compelling vision for the preservation of freedom than Y.”

Primary Sources:

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract (1763)

Feel free to ask any questions

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