Slavery in America - Research Paper Example

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African slaves were imported to America as early as early17th century to work in tobacco indigo plantations which thrived well in these regions.Studies have estimated that approximately 6 to 7 million slaves were brought to America during the 17th and 18th centuries…
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Slavery in America
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"Slavery in America"

Following the American Revolution, many colonists began campaigning for the abolition of slavery and a ban on the further import of slaves to the US was adopted by the new constitution. While most of the northern states abolished slavery the institution thrived in the southern regions despite laws and regulations that abolished the practice of slave trade. However, this was not the case to be as after the invention of the cotton gin that allowed easy removal of seeds from the raw cotton plant, cotton plantations increased in the southern states of the country and along with it the demand for slaves. Their lives, marriages and having children largely depended on their masters. A large majority of the masters made their slaves completely dependent on them and imposed a lot of restrictions on their living. They were prevented from gaining basic education, and their marriages were not legalized by law and their day to day activities were strictly monitored and restrictions were imposed at random. There were several revolts against the oppression by slave owners which did little to curtail slave trade. It was only after the rise of the abolition movement and the emancipation that followed the civil war during the Lincoln government slaves across America were freed. The 13th amendment of the US constitution officially declared the abolishment of slavery. Slavery in America was a fitting example of the authority and power of the masters over the life of their slaves. Masters generally governed every aspect of the life of their slaves. By preventing them from gaining basic education that would enable them to learn other forms of labor or trade and allow them to support their living, slave owners made the slaves completely dependent on them for their food, clothing and shelter which also were provided in minimal quantities and to enable the slave to carry out the orders of the master. However, on a comparative basis slaves residing in urban settlements lived in more favorable conditions compared to those in the rural areas and in plantations (Boston). Both men and women slaves were made to perform tough tasks that drained them both mentally and physically. All the slaves were beaten by their masters and no mercy was shown to on the basis of their gender or age. While black men were initially employed as slaves, African women were brought as slaves by the Dutch only to provide company to these men; however, while the men folk was largely employed in carpentry and as blacksmiths, the women were slowing drawn to the fields to perform agricultural labor. In fields where both the men and women were employed work was divided on the basis of the physical activity involved with the men assigned with more strenuous work. While the primary responsibility of African women was motherhood which were highly respected, African women slaves were allowed to get pregnant and beget children solely with the intention of increasing the labor force for the master. Though marriages between slaves were not legalized until they gained their freedom, masters encouraged these unions between men and women slaved solely for the purpose of increasing the slave population. In addition, the masters also reasoned that slaves who had families were also less likely to escape from bondage and would be forced to continue to work at least for the sake being with their families. In some cases both the mother and father belonged to the same master while in some relationships the partners belonged to different owners and the husband and wife met only after completing their obligation to their masters (Williams). Slave women were entitled to some benefits during their pregnancy such as more food and less work; however following child birth Read More
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