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The institution of slavery in the American South of the antebellum period - Essay Example

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Summary
Slavery refers to a system in which people, known as slaves, are regarded as property. The slaves, who could either be captured or bought, lost their human rights and were on the contrary treated at the master’s discretion…
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The institution of slavery in the American South of the antebellum period
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The institution of slavery in the American South of the antebellum period

Download file to see previous pages... The institution of slavery, as expressed by Zinn Howard in his book “A people’s history of the United States,” is a vividly visible element of the American history. The institution developed under the watch and possible support of the then governmental administrations and thrived over time. The extent of growth in the institution of slavery in the nineteenth century was evidenced by both increase in the number of slaves and the economic output of products due to efforts of slaves in the period. Zinn for example argues that the number of slaves swiftly grew from about half a million in the beginning of the antebellum period to about four million at the end of the period. Similarly, he notes that the level of output due to slavery’s labor input also increased from a yearly output of a “thousand tons of cotton” to a “million tones output” as was reported in the year 1860....
This is because once an individual entered the institution as a slave, he, or she was subjected to be at the owner’s choice location. The owner would for example order for presence of slaves at a particular farm and the slaves would have no alternative but to be there. Similarly, the slaves would work at the owners’ schedules without any right to complain (Zinn, p. 1). At the same time, the laws that could have protected the slave’s interest were undermined. The syndicated institutions that involved management and ownership of the slaves ensured that slavery was practiced without interference of provisions of the law. As a result, any legal requirements that intended to protect the rights and freedom of the slaves at the time were disregarded, subjecting the slaves to torture and suffering. Though the slaves had moments of merry, it was not due to happiness in their lives but an avenue for rejuvenating their hopes in suffering. They for example sang songs of joy amidst physical abuse such as beatings and being chained. The hostile environment to which the slaves were subjected even led to some deaths as were reported between the years 1850 and 1855. The transactional network that could sell a slave away from family members and friends infringed the slaves’ right and freedom of association. This meant a psychological pain of losing friends or relatives with little hope of ever seeing them again or knowing what their fate would be. Such was the pain that one Abream Scriven and his family and friends had to go through when he was sold off by his master in the year 1858 (Zinn, p. 1). Though the slaves seemed to cope with the slavery in a docile, submissive, and helpless attitude that was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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