The Institution of slavery in the American South of Antebellum Period - Essay Example

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Instructor Date The Institution of slavery in the American South of Antebellum Period The Antebellum slavery which was experienced in the American South lasted between, 1830-1860. Hunter (73) argues that during this period the African American were exposed to slavery of all forms ranging from being enslaved in homes, to the outside fields…
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The Institution of slavery in the American South of Antebellum Period
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Download file to see previous pages This inhuman practice humiliated the enslaved blacks to an extent that they could never erase it from their minds as long as they lived. According to Hunter (73) the actual picture of slavery in Southern America was that of large farms plantations with a lot of slaves. In fact, slavery here was institutionalized were a few people owned slaves in their institutions with the aim that they provide cheap labor. Almost 3/4 of the Southern Americans did not own slaves, but they were solidly behind the slavery institution, as much as they did not benefit much from it. Though many of the Southern whites resented the privileges enjoyed by the few people who owned these slavery institutions, they did not speak against slavery (Hunter 74). However, all they wished for is for them to get an opportunity of owning slaves, so that they can also enjoy those privileges. Furthermore, slavery presented an opportunity to even the poor whites, of feeling superior to the blacks. A great number of slaves spend much of their time in the cotton plantations, carrying out various activities (Hunter 74). Each of these cotton plantations had approximately fifty slaves, although some plantations which were relatively large had about a hundred slaves. Different plantations raised a wide range of cash crops such as rice, sugarcane and corn, but cotton at time, was the major cash crop. The slaves planted these cash crops as well as harvesting them. Apart from doing these two major activities in the farms, they also cleared land, slaughtered livestock and repaired buildings as well (Hunter 74). While black men slaves were expected to be drivers, mechanics and carpenters, black women were on the other hand expected to care for their masters’ families. There were two main categories of slaves; those who worked in their masters’ homesteads and those who worked in the fields. Hunter (74) asserts that from such categorization, one may think that those working in the homes were relatively better than those in the fields. Unfortunately, that was not the case since those working in the homes had no privacy, operated under their masters’ close scrutiny and could be called for duty anyhow. By being close to their masters’ home slaves formed complex relationships with their masters. Children of both the white and black races born in such a scenario, mingled freely until they attained a certain age when they started understanding what was going on (Hunter 74). The diets of the slaves were inadequate, hence could not meet their workload demands (Hunter 75). Those working in homes though ate comparatively better since they could access their masters’ food stores. The poor eating conditions and the climatic conditions made the slaves to be so much prone to diseases. On falling sick the slaves were not given adequate treatment and sometimes they forced into work though sick. Although that is not inhuman enough, slaves were constantly being sold when they become inadequate. This instilled a constant fear in them as they could suffer from being separated from their families. The women slaves also suffered from sexual exploitation such as rape. Hunter (75) explains further that slaves were punished for working slowly, disrespecting authority or running away. Punishment was administered in many ways such as imprisonment, whipping or even ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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