Afro-American slavery - Essay Example

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In the paper “Afro-American slavery” the author analyzes two systems of American slavery: the task system and the gang system. The characteristics of each of these systems are analytically presented so that the power of each system on slaves’ life to be fully understood…
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Afro-American slavery
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Download file to see previous pages Slavery in America has been highly supported by the law. In 1686 the exchange of goods between blacks or between blacks and freemen was declared as not legal (Gikandi 244). In 1705 the House of Burgesses in Virginia promoted a series of laws aiming to ensure that slaves in the region would not be able to fight for their freedom in the future (Wood 11); also the above laws aimed to protect the interests of landowners in regard to their involvement in slavery (Wood 11). At the next level, in 1714, another law ‘prohibited blacks from planting their own corn, rice or peas’ (Gikandi 244). These laws aimed to control the efforts of slaves to improve their living conditions and to increase their autonomy. In practice, these laws were not fully applied, mostly because of the conflicts of interests developed in each particular region; for instance, in South Carolina masters preferred to allow a greater autonomy to slaves so that slavery is continued without problems, while in Virginia, a different attitude regarding the control over the slaves’ life was developed. This trend has led to the development of different systems of slaves’ control. In South Carolina the task system was promoted allowing to the slaves to use their free time as they wish; in Virginia the gang system was based on the close supervision of slaves almost all day prevented slaves from organizing their life. The cultivation of each section was assigned to a particular slave (Olwell 46), meaning that each slave had the total responsibility for the cultivation of the specific section. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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