My Life In Essays

My Thoughts on Life

42 notes

"Why couldn’t Lincoln just BUY the slaves from the south, then set them all free?"


I’ve seen this argument bouncing around a lot lately. It was kind of kicked off by former judge and human toenail Andrew Napolitano, and it goes like this:

The civil war and reconstruction of the south cost a great deal more than the combined price of every person held in bondage in the United States and its territories, and slavery could have been abolished if the Lincoln administration had allocated the money to purchase all the slaves and grant them their freedom. 

Of course, this argument makes no sense. 

First of all, anyone with the slightest bit of economics is aware of the concept of supply-and-demand. If you buy up the entire stock of a product, you’ve increased demand, and the supplier of that product will increase supply. 

By buying, and freeing, all the slaves, Lincoln would have essentially given the institution of slavery a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. Not only would it give a financial  reward to white slavers for the owning and sale of slaves, but it would create a demand for more slaves in the south as well. 

Despite the fact that the transatlantic slave trade was not legal by Lincoln’s time, it still happened rather regularly, and to purchase all the slaves and set them free without outlawing slavery itself would have a consequence of “no more slaves,” not “no more slavery.” More and more slaves would be imported in this scenario, and the institution of slavery would come back stronger than ever. 

If simply outlawing slavery without war breaking out were an option, it could have been done without purchasing the freedom of the southern slaves. Even if the slaves were to be purchased and set free, a civil war would still have broken out if a law was established outlawing the institution of slavery

But for the main reason this proposed solution wouldn’t work, I’d like to re-tell the story of the goose that laid the golden eggs.

A married couple of farmers has a goose that lays a single solid gold egg every night. Every night, they get a golden egg that buys them food for that day and then some. They start to believe that this goose might contain an enormous lump of gold in its stomach, so they kill the goose to get it. 

However, once they’ve done it, they find that this goose is physically no different from any other goose. It’s just a goose, with no gold inside of it. 

They gave up a steady, self-renewing source of gold in the hopes of getting one big lump sum of gold. If they had let the goose live, they would have been set for life, but they killed the goose and they are left with nothing.

So knowing that fable, if you had a golden goose, and someone comes up and tells you they’re willing to buy it from you for $10,000, you would say no. If you sell, you get $10,000 and that’s it forever. 

If you don’t sell, you get an egg worth $1,000 every day, so if you wait ten days, you’ll make as much as the buying price and you’ll still have more coming in every day after that. 

The thing is, the institution of slavery was immensely profitable for the southern planters. After all, they were selling a product they didn’t personally make, and they were taking the profits of those sales for themselves, as well as stealing the wages that should have gone to the people who were doing all the work. 

Slavery was pure, self-sustaining profit for the south. They barely had to do anything and the money kept rolling in. If the government came along and said they would pay a lump sum for all the enslaved workers, they almost certainly would have refused. 

They especially would have been unwilling to sell their slaves in the event that slavery would be outlawed immediately following emancipation. That proposition would have, to a southern planter, sounded something like this:

"Hey, so I know you have this source of free labor that creates a strong, steady flow of cash and brings you in a ton of money that you don’t have to share with anyone, but how would you feel about this? In exchange for setting your slaves free, we’re going to give you a fraction of the amount of money you could make if you keep them, then, if you agree to this plan, we’re going to make a law saying you have to spend pretty much all that money paying workers, because you wouldn’t be allowed to make people work for free anymore."

It’s despicable, of course, but it’s important to remember that since the cause of American Black slavery was white greed, the slaveholders would certainly not be agreeable to any proposed solution that involved a net loss in their profit. 

The institution of slavery in the American south was thriving and growing prior to the civil war. The southern states were so dedicated to preserving the institution of slavery that, in response to the potential for abolition (which racists will tell you is actually “states’ rights” or “economic reasons,” even though the states’ right in question was the right to decide on their own whether or not to preserve the institution of slavery, and the economic reason was “if you abolish slavery I won’t be able to stay as rich as I am”), they were willing to commit treason, attack their own country, and spark one of the bloodiest wars in history. 

There is no scenario in which the southern states would have been willing to cooperate in the abolition of slavery. The only way to liberate the slaves from the southern states was by force. 

There is also the point to be made that, in a way, the civil war was actually going on for a long time before the first shots were fired. It was, however, a black resistance movement against the society that allowed them to be held captive. There were many slave revolts and uprisings, a great deal of underground resistance among both enslaved and free black populations, and this was against both halves of the country. 

When the two halves turned against one another, this movement largely sided with the north because it was the lesser of two evils and was slightly more willing to help their cause, and the north’s eventual willingness to lend its force to the cause of black liberation simply gave the existing groups working towards that cause the power necessary to break the hold their captors had over them. 

Now, it is fair to say that the civil war could have been avoided if the question of slavery had been solved through economic or diplomatic means. It’s also fair to say the civil war could have been avoided if the question of slavery had been resolved with fairy dust, or unicorn tears, or a time machine that allowed Abraham Lincoln to go back and repeatedly punch the person who invented the system of American slavery in the dick until they agreed not to do so. 

The point is, though, that simply buying the slaves was not a viable solution for two basic reasons:

  1. The main reason the institution still existed was the fact that it was so wildly profitable, and throwing money at it would be about as effective as trying to put out a fire with gasoline
  2. The south was unwilling to sell their slaves into freedom, as shown by the fact that Abraham Lincoln actually tried to do this and southern states refused

(via raptorific)

Filed under Reblogged essay history civil war

171,778 notes


fucking rich white people laughing at how poverty is some diet they should try.

Except they wouldn’t even be skinny because the food that’s cheapest and easiest to preserve tends to be high in calories and low in nutritional value, which is why obesity is such a problem in the US. Also contributing to this are food deserts, which are areas without grocery stores that provide produce, so even if the people there could afford healthy food, they have to travel a long way to get it.

Also, speaking as a telecommunications major focusing on production, not all cameras add ten pounds. That comes from the fact that several shows are filmed in a way that distorts the aspect ratio, causing the image to look unusually wide. So no, she wouldn’t be looking great, she’d look like a stretched out skeleton.

(Source: sandandglass, via notsoheadless)

Filed under Fox news just needs to stop nutrition poverty SNAP/EBT food stamps obesity Not an essay

312,790 notes

Depression does not always mean
Beautiful girls shattering at the wrists
A glorified, heroic battle for your sanity
Or mothers that never got the chance to say good-bye

Sometimes depression means
Not getting out of bed for three days
Because your feet refuse to believe
That they will not shatter upon impact with the floor

Sometimes depression means
That summoning the willpower
To go downstairs and do the laundry
Is the most impressive thing you accomplish that week

Sometimes depression means
Lying on the floor staring at the ceiling for hours
Because you cannot convince your body
That it is capable of movement

Sometimes depression means
Not being able to write for weeks
Because the only words you have to offer the world
Are trapped and drowning and I swear to God I’m trying

Sometimes depression means
That every single bone in your body aches
But you have to keep going through the motions
Because you are not allowed to call in to work depressed

Sometimes depression means
Ignoring every phone call for an entire month
Because yes, they have the right number
But you’re not the person they’re looking for, not anymore

by “Alexandra” Tilton, NH (Teen Ink: November 2013 Issue)

(Source: capellinis, via exeptionally-ordinary)

Filed under Poetry Depression

223,730 notes


the first step towards confidence is not being afraid to be ugly

once you get over the fear of being unattractive and stop equating beauty with other good things in life (friends, love, happiness) it’s a lot easier to love yourself unconditionally

your job is not to sit around and be pretty and easy on everyone else’s eyes

your job is to do whatever the fuck you want and look however the fuck you want while doing it

(via exeptionally-ordinary)

Filed under Related to what I'm writing about rn

0 notes

My adventures in getting my life in order

I consider myself a creature of habit. My default state is sitting in my bed trying unsuccessfully to convince myself to get out of bed. Sometimes, I am vaguely successful, and go from sitting around, to slumping around like a zombie while making a noise I can only compare to those people who smoked so much they have to have a machine in order to make their vocal chords work.

Sometimes, though, my anxiety works in a direction vaguely resembling my favor, and I am convinced that because I don’t have my life in order, I will never be happy in my life (1), so I decide to do some organizing. This ends up being a struggle, because I so rarely do anything vaguely resembling organization (2). So I am stuck in the awkward crevasse where I don’t know where to begin, yet feel the sting of failure for not doing anything. Eventually, I reach the decision that something is better than nothing, and so I get started on changing everything.

For a period shorter than a day, I have things together. My space of living is clean, or I have my stuff organized, or I feel better, or I have a new productive habit. 

Then it falls to shit.

I start slacking off on my habits. I don’t start putting things back where they belong, I skip days on whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing, figuring I’ll pick it back up. And then it just stops for good. Soon I’m back to living in my own filth (3) as usual. However, sometimes a teeny bit of organization sticks with me, putting me one step closer to being a satisfactory human being.

(1) I mean, I’m usually convinced of this, but this is when it has a general direction rather than the vague feeling of failure and disappointment.

(2) Except for the things I do out of habits since otherwise I’ll forget everything and fall into the whole “die unhappy, never have anything good, etc. etc.” pattern.

(3) I cannot stress enough that this is a hyperbole. Although I am passive-aggressively trying to get my roommate to take out the trash by not doing anything about it…

Filed under Life Organization Cleaning Essay

1 note

Why you don’t ask Quid Kids about alcohol

I attend what some might call a “party school”. Granted, we also top lists on academics, but when decrying my school as a hotbed of sin (1), people don’t care about how our programs are some of the best in the country. So, naturally, I hear about all the crazy shit that happens when a school of 40,000 undergrads has a binge drinking culture (2).

The key word here is “heard about”. You may be surprised to hear this, but I’m not exactly a big partier. So when the school paper (3) ran a story about some girl who went crazy at tailgate, everyone was huddled around a copy Corey picked up before quiddich practice. I was standing behind Corey (4) when Garrett asked me if there was Jello in a Jello shot.

Well shit if I knew.

I flat out said I don’t know, and then mocked Garrett for his decision to ask me this question when he’s standing right next to Corey (5). The conversation shifted from how this girl could get that drunk and not die, to whether or not there is jello in a jello shot. Corey answered the question and then proceeded to list the ingredients in a jello shot. Garrett asked me if I was uncomfortable with the question, and I explained that I wasn’t, although I didn’t say I was judging him for asking me of all people. 

So, TL; DR: Don’t ask quid kids about alcohol because while they’re an even mix of people who party and people who stay in, they are also very easily distracted. Especially when Corey is involved.

(1) I’m waiting for Brother Jed to use those actual words to describe IU. Anyone want to take bets on that?

(2) In the exact words of the school paper

(3) Can I stop calling it the school paper? It makes me sound like I’m on a kid com about middle school students trying to figure out who pooped in the computer lab.

(4) On my tiptoes, because at 6’5” Corey is a giant. A ginger giant.

(5) For those of you who don’t know him, there are two things Corey is good at: 1. Telling crazy stories about what other people did while drunk 2. Making up stories about how he’s the heir of Slytherin and I’m a serial killer trying to leave the country.

Filed under vignette alcohol College Life TL;DR Original I think 6 footnotes is a record

5 notes


hey everyone let’s talk a little bit about funding for public education in the great ol united states of fucking america!!!!!!!!

if you ask people how the government determines how much federal funding a school or school district gets, a lot of people will say test scores. which is not??? true???? so i’m here (as an elementary education major who literally gets lectured on such things) to tell you what really happens!!! school funding is essentially based on home values in the area. a certain percentage of property taxes go to funding public education. if you have a more expensive house, you pay more property taxes, so more money goes to the schools around the area. likewise, houses with less property value pay less in property taxes, so less money goes to the public schools.

so what this means is!! if you live in a nice affluent neighborhood, you’re fine! you get the good school with the good resources and you can live happily ever after if you so choose. BUT! if you live in an area where the property values are low, your school has lower funding!!!! so the resources are scarce and the teachers aren’t paid nearly as much as they should be i mean that’s an all-teachers thing but especially in these areas!!!! which really sucks because these are often the people who don’t have the resources at home in order to help elevate them to where they need to be!!!!!!!!

so basically people in nicer areas get pretty easy Access to a good education and can use this to get into college or get a job or whatever and they can easily continue to be those people in the nice neighborhoods with the nice schools. this also means the people in the places with the bad schools are getting access to an education that is probably not to a standard that it should be so students aren’t well prepared for college or good jobs so then they often get trapped into becoming one of the people who lives in the poorer areas with the underfunded schools for the rest of their life!!! it’s this cycle that’s really hard to break because that’s how the system works!!!!!!!!!!!!

when we talk about systemic problems with the US, this is one of those things!!!!!!! basically we have systems in place that make it so the rich stay rich (and get richer) and the poor stay poor (and get poorer) and i know we acknowledge that in a lot of areas here on but i don’t think this is mentioned enough and a prof talked about it today so i wanted to explain a thing. here you go

Filed under Public education Education American School system