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Reparations are payments made to a person or country for damages caused to their property and or livelyhood.
The intent is to help the victim or, in the case of war, victor repay their costs and rebuild their lives. Reparations were used as a tool of peace in wars prior to World War II. The loser was usually required to pay a large sum to the victor to cover war costs. This proved ineffective in the aftermath of World War I, and was one of the direct causes of the rise of Nazism and World War II.

A short argument for reparations to descendants of slaves

Suppose my father stole a car from your father a long time ago, without my knowledge. The crime goes unsolved, and my father and your father are both dead now. I inherited the car from my father. Now, finally, the crime is resolved. Clearly, I have to give the car to you.

Slaves were robbed of their property, namely the fruits of their labor. Property rights are inalienable. The slaves are dead now, so their descendants deserve compensation from the slave owner's descendants, who benefitted from the crime.

See also: Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Blacks are a Bad Idea for Blacks - and Racist Too

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