Historical Novel: A Mercy - Research Paper Example

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Slavery has existed as long as the history of humankind itself; people in various circumstances will tend to dominate and exercise dominion over other people through actions that compel others to obey their orders and follow their wishes. …
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Historical Novel: A Mercy
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Download file to see previous pages Even the Bible mentions slavery in several instances and other religions also tolerate slavery within certain limits. People in dire straits or circumstances will accept slavery under certain conditions, such as seeking the protection of a more powerful and influential individual from other people who might prey on them because they are perceived to be weak. In this regard, this paper examines the nuances of a period in early American history when slavery was still incipient and in its infancy, going back to 1682 and the notion of a slave trade was not yet ingrained in the consciousness of inhabitants. It might be useful to note also that before the advent of the infamous Atlantic slave trade (from the early fifteenth to the late nineteenth centuries) of white people importing black people from Africa, there existed centuries earlier a reverse slave trade in which Arabs and Africans were capturing white people and other Europeans (mostly those living along the Mediterranean coast such as Italy) to be sold into slavery in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by the Barbary pirates, during the period between the eight and tenth centuries, when Arab dominance was paramount and extensive in most parts of the known civilized world. It is also worth noting when reviewing the novel that there were variants of this slavery in American history during its darkest moments, such as full-blooded white children sold into slavery by their impoverished and deadbeat parents while there were also many blacks who were never enslaved, or if they were former slaves, managed to obtain or buy their freedoms and then went into the slave trade too. II. Discussion – black slaves in America were brought in by the European colonizers for use in their big plantations such as sugar, coffee, cotton and tobacco. The Atlantic slave trade was triangular in which European ships first set sail from major European ports such as Lisbon, Liverpool, or Bristol carrying finished or manufactured goods for sale in the New World, go to Africa to load its cargo of captured slaves and bring them to the Americas, and then load raw materials such as molasses, spices, cotton and tobacco before going back to their European ports of origin. In the order of volume of slave trade during this period, Portugal was first with the most number of slaves it sold, followed by the countries of England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. However, Portugal and the Netherlands were the most notorious for their cruelty in the slave trade; the slaves on ships were considered as ordinary cargo and to be shipped and transported as fast and as cheaply as possible, by not treating the sick and giving just enough food and water for bare sustenance. This attitude considered a ten percent mortality rate among slaves during the long Atlantic voyage as normal but it can go as high to 30% up to 40% at times during stormy weather or if illness strikes the ship. The slave trade was very profitable for those engaged in it, because it provided a very cheap and practically free labor. It was England which was the first country to formally abolish slavery, despite it being profitable, due to a growing moral and ethical consciousness in British society to the horrors of slavery. The rise of the new Industrial Revolution in England gave it many distinct economic advantages, hence it was able to forgo this competitive edge by not using slavery, without suffering any adverse economic consequences. It outlawed slavery sometime during 1808 and urged other European countries to do the same.1 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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