American slavery has been heavily debated and researched throughout the years. Though there are many who are engaged in study on this topic, they are often from different schools of though and obtain opposing views on the subject. Two contributors to the study of American slavery were Ulrich Bonnell Phillips and John W. Blassingame. After reviewing both articles, there is a varying difference between each author's perception of the relationships between slaves and their masters.
In Ulrich Phillips piece, American Negro Slavery, he portrays planters as nice humane masters that rarely used flogging. According to Phillips, a Yale historian and expert on the Antebellum South, " they refrained from selling slaves except under the stress of circumstances; they avoided cruel, vindictive and captious punishments, and endeavored to inspire effort through affection rather than through fear." This article also makes reference to the certain freedoms that planters allotted slaves. Negroes were allowed to choose their denomination of Christianity and worship freely.
In reading the American Negro Slavery article, it is evident that slave masters did not think most slaves needed freedom, nor did they think slaves could handle it. In the will of Howell Cobb, a local Houston County, Georgia slave owner, he grants two slaves freedom, and stated that "The liberation of the rest of his slaves was prevented by a belief that the care of generous and humane masters would be much better for them than a state of freedom. "In this instance, slaves are seen as docile, infantile, and dependent beings that benefit from slavery as much as the slave owners did.
Phillips, depicts slaves as grateful, loyal servants that accept their way of life, and embrace their masters. In one account, a slave master recalls being welcomed home by a slave who said, "I never though to see you again, now I am happy; Ah, I never thought to see you again.