John Thompson was born in Maryland to a slave family around the year 1812. He grew up in the lifestyle of slavery, but later on in his life, he found a way to escape to a free state. After escaping, Thompson wrote an autobiography of his life that, in my opinion, gave a clear insight into his lifestyle, and the people and events around him. He told stories in such a way that the reader could actually picture the scene, and hear the very words. Part of the reason he wrote this autobiography was because he needed to give the people who were already against slavery, valid evidence of how corrupt the system really was, and give them motivation to put an end to slavery. This may not have been Thompson’s sole purpose, but I think this was one of the main reasons he wrote this autobiography.
In several different stories Thompson shared incidents that had the power to make the reader cringe in a way of pity and sorrow. At one time, Thompson was prepared to give up his life so that he would not have to suffer through all of the cruel beatings that were, some of them, inflicted for no valid reason. He was ready to kill the constable and be hung at once to put an end to the cruel suffering. He was not the only young man with this thought. This, in and of itself is valid proof that slavery is morally evil. A plantation wife beat an 8 year old slave girl because she broke a dish, she beat her until she bled out on the floor, again this is a memorable occasion that provides evidence that the system was morally evil. Throughout the book he provides incidents that demonstrate that slavery was no doubt, morally evil. While I went through each chapter I could actually picture the scene, Thompson had the ability to generate the sympathy of the reader.
The way Thompson was treated, and the way he saw his fellow slaves treated was not necessarily the same way all slaves were treated. Some slaves were treated much better, but none the less, a plantation owner claims to possess a human being. The slave does not have the freedom to do as he pleases, he lives his life for the benefit of another man, and in most cases, gets nothing in return. No matter how well the owner treats his or her slaves, slavery is a corrupt system. It is, of course, morally evil on a deeper level in the case of an owner continuously beating his slaves without cause. But even if the owner treats his slaves in the best of ways, forcing another person to work all of their lives for the owner’s benefit is wicked.
Was the information that Thompson provided actually correct? Yes, I believe that it was, if not exact, I believe that it was pretty close. There is a possibility that he exaggerated on select stories, but I do not think that he made up any of the stories he shared. Thompson provided persuasive evidence that the South’s slave system was morally evil.