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Write a critical essay in response to the definition of “paternalism” and your reading of the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
Essay Question: Do the events and conditions of enslavement described by Douglass serve as examples of the idea of paternalism as defined by the American Promise and described in the excerpt by William John Grayson? Explain your answer. Provide examples from the Narrative to support your argument.
Cite references to the Narrative and other sources with parenthetical citation (FD, 47). Include a Works Cited page.
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Paternalism: The theory of slavery that emphasized reciprocal obligations between masters and slaves, with slaves providing labor and obedience and masters providing basic care and direction. Whites employed the concept of paternalism to deny that the slave system was brutal and exploitative. (The American Promise, Glossary)
Excerpt from William John Grayson, The Hireling and the Slave, second edition (Charleston: John Russell, 1855)
Slavery is that system of labour which exchanges subsistence for work, which secures a life-maintenance from the master to the slave, and gives life-labour from the slave to the master. The slave is an apprentice for life, and owes his labour to his master; the master owes support, during life, to the slave. Slavery is the negro system of labour. Slavery makes all work, and it ensures homes, food and clothing for all. It permits no idleness, and it provides for sickness, infancy, and old age. It allows no tramping or skulking, and it knows no pauperism . . . What more can be required of Slavery, in reference to the negro, than has been done? It has made him, from a savage, an orderly efficient labourer. It supports him in comfort and peace. It restrains his vices. It improves his mind, orals and manners. It instructs him in Christian knowledge.

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