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Slavery and Racism in Early American History - Essay Example

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Slavery and Racism in Early American History The characteristics of social phenomena are often difficult to be identified not only because of the potential time since between the appearance of these phenomena but also because of the lack of theoretical frameworks for explaining the interaction of these phenomena in the context of modern societies…
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Slavery and Racism in Early American History
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Slavery and Racism in Early American History

Download file to see previous pages... The second part of the paper is based on the following sources: Senator Lincoln's speech of September 18, 1858, and Frederick Douglass' 1852 speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" In both parts of the paper the following fact is made clear: racism is closely related to slavery; the relationship between these two concepts is so strong that, often, the terms of their interaction are too difficult to be identified. Moreover, the following issue needs to be highlighted: both racism and slavery have been highly developed in America; the intervention of these concepts in the country’s social and political life is still high. The elimination of racism and slavery would be required for securing social justice. The terms of elimination of racism and slavery in America would be differentiated across states because of their different legal framework, at least up to a level, compared to the legal rules of federal government. Racism seems to be well established in the American history. In any case, the historical development of racism has been related to slavery. In order to understand the role of these two concepts in the American history, it would be necessary to refer to the initial perceptions of Englishmen on blacks. According to Winthrop (3) the first visit of Englishmen in West Africa took place about at 1550; it was then that Englishmen had their first contact with blacks (Winthrop 3). However, it seems that at that period, Englishmen did not perceive blacks as potential slaves but rather as buyers of goods (Winthrop 3). This phenomenon continued up to the mid seventieth century (Winthrop 3). However, it seems that the color of natives has attracted the interest of Englishmen (Winthrop 3), meaning that the difference in regard to physical characteristics implied also differences in terms of physical performance. Also, the difference in color implied the existence of other characteristics, meaning especially the dirt (Winthrop 3). It was in this context that the first ideas on the low social status of blacks were developed; the potential use of blacks as slaves followed (Winthrop 3). However, slavery, as a social phenomenon, has not appeared before the 17th century, a period where the initial cases of use of blacks as slaves were reported. Indeed, as Winthrop notes, the enslavement of blacks has started almost since their arrival in America (Winthrop 26). Indeed, the first blacks arrived in Virginia in 1619 (Winthrop 26). A few years later, approximately by 1640, the first signs of enslavement appeared (Winthrop 26). In fact, it is noted that ‘between 1640 and 1660 there is evidence of enslavement’ (Winthrop 26). Reference is made to ‘the statute books of colonies’ (Winthrop 26), as evidence for proving the appearance of slavery in America. Through the decades, slavery was highly expanded across America (Winthrop 148), up to the elimination of the particular phenomenon due to its prohibition by the law (Winthrop 148). The term racism, as a term reflecting the rejection of equality among human no matter their physical characteristics (Winthrop 15), has appeared much later, approximately at 1950s (Winthrop 15), a point where the study of Winthrop (15) is aligned with that of Stannard (270). According to the issues discussed above, racism and slavery have been common concepts in American history. At this point, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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