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Slave owners - Thesis Example

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This article will explore the subject of slave owners under the following divisions: the intentions of the slave institution; labeling black as inferior; legal rationales put forward by slave owners; a medical rationale; the slave codes; punishment…
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Download file to see previous pages This research will begin with the statement that the institution of slavery was a dark era in the history of the American nation. Although now criticized as morally intolerable, several in colonial America believed that the economic growth of the United States was dependent upon forced laborers. Although it was a very popular form of labor during the early stages of American growth, it was very cruel and evil type of labor and Americans understood this; to be a slave owner you had to of had a mindset that was just purely focused on wealth and status and no respect for the black race at all. The owner and slave relationship was characterized by the domination of the owner over the slave. Force was the basis of this relationship and this idea was clearly articulated in the 1829 decision by a judge in North Carolina concerning the relationship between an owner and a slave. He wrote:
With slavery ... the end is the profit of the master, his security and the public safety; the subject, one doomed in his own person, and his posterity, to live without knowledge, and without the capacity to make anything his own, and to toil that another may reap his fruits…. The power of the master must be absolute, to render the submission of the slave perfect.
Another common aspect of American slavery was isolation. Africans were stolen away from their homes, families, and culture. Everything that was familiar to them was stripped away and they were then isolated in a new world....
laims of birth, they were also denied the right of creating family ties that would be recognized by the law.5 Selling children away from their parents was a common practice. The law did not recognize African slave relationships, and families could be ripped apart if masters desired. Selling husbands away from wives or children away from mothers was a common practice in America and was sometimes used as a threat of punishment.6 Some masters tried to keep families together; however this was rare. "Kenneth Stamp forcefully insists that the great majority of slaveholders chose business over sentiment and broke up families when under financial pressure."7 For most masters, monetary success tended to be more important than the happiness of slaves. African slaves in America were deemed social outcasts. They were thought to be strange and assumed to be savage. These were the major components in that sense of difference that provided the mental margin between masters and African slaves. They were never considered equals to whites and were placed at the bottom of the social hierarchy. As Winthrop Jordan wrote: They did not belong to the same community as Christians, or civilized Europeans. The focus of this "we-they" distinction was at first religious, later racial. …to be Christian was to be civilized rather than barbarous, English rather than African, white rather than black.8 African slaves were considered strangers by the white population and also among each other. They were taken from various areas throughout Africa and the chances of being enslaved with others from the same area or clan were slim.9 Owners could use slaves for whatever they pleased; slaves had no rights. They could not make basic decisions on their own such as what or when to eat. Slaves could not choose ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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