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The Treatment Of Men During Slavery - Essay Example

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Marysue Andreozzi The Treatment Of Men During Slavery Slavery is an ancient institution that has existed in different societies at various times. It depicts a situation in which a person has the ownership of somebody else, contrary to the natural order. Slavery has always represented the aristocratic/hierarchical social structure with slaves at the bottom…
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The Treatment Of Men During Slavery
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Download file to see previous pages Slaves in the ancient Roman Empire consisted mostly of prisoners of war, captives sold by pirates, or even children of Romans in penury who had been sold. The slaves were engaged in farming, businesses, working for private households, and in the construction of infrastructure for public use including aqueducts, bridges, roads etc. It was common for the owners to treat the slaves cruelly, and even kill them and not be punished for it. But some slave masters were also kind and considerate to their slaves (Nardo) as indicated by the saturnalia festival which was an occasion for the slaves and masters to be thankful to each other and enjoyed peaceful time together. Also, a hallmark of Roman slavery as compared to the modern variety was manumission or the formal release from slavery by the owner. Contrasting the ancient system of slavery in Rome with the system that existed until the end of the 19th century in the Americas, in particular North America, the glaring difference was that the latter was based mainly on race. Marysue Andreozzi The import of slaves from Africa to America began mainly due to the shortage of labor. And the blacks were believed to be hard workers. Furthermore, the practice did not meet with any religious disapproval either, since the Church law did not prohibit black slavery. Thus began slavery with racist overtones. Gradually, the slaves themselves became a trade commodity. Thus, what began as a need to overcome shortage of labor became the means to acquire more wealth (McKay et al., 2008). It is believed that in a span of a little more than 300 years (between 1500 A.D. and mid 1800 A.D.), around 12 million black slaves from Africa to the Western Hemisphere. A first-hand account of the harrowing life of the slaves aboard the ship on their voyage from Africa to America has been given by Alexander Falconbridge (1788) who was the British surgeon on four of those voyages. As mentioned in the narrative, the blacks who refused to eat had their lips almost scorched by red-hot coal that was brought on a shovel very close to their lips and also issued dire threats that they would be made to swallow the embers if they continued to resist eating food. The author mentions that he heard of a captain pouring molten lead on some slaves who obstinately refused to eat (p. 23). On the voyages Falconbridge saw that the Blacks were provided extremely uncomfortable accommodation on the half deck with planks to sleep on. Lying on the bare planks caused their skin and in even flesh of the emaciated men to get rubbed off from their shoulders, hips and elbows due to the constant motion of the ship (p. 28). Exercise being deemed necessary to keep the slaves healthy, they were forcibly made to dance on the deck even in foul weather when it was difficult to be on the deck. They were flogged if they showed any reluctance or were not Marysue Andreozzi active (p. 23). On longer voyages such as from the coast of Guinea to the West Indies, the food ration was very small, which led to quarrels among the slaves (Falconbridge, 1788, p.22). Also, the allowance of water was restricted to about half a pint per head per meal. The life of the slaves once they reached the shores of America became just a shade better. They were housed in slave pens a description of which has been provided by Abdy ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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