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Introduction to Africana Studies Assignment - Essay Example

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While a lot of evil things have happened in the history of mankind, slavery stands out as the most cruel. It is an issue that evokes intense feelings. The American civil war of…
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Introduction to Africana Studies Assignment Question 2 Slavery is the treatment of a human being by another as a property that can be bought and sold. While a lot of evil things have happened in the history of mankind, slavery stands out as the most cruel. It is an issue that evokes intense feelings. The American civil war of 1861-1865 was largely caused by differences over the practice between the northern states (the Union) and the southern states (the confederacy). Resistance to slavery took both overt and covert forms (Winant 82).
The first and most effective resistance tool against enslavement is sabotaging production. This could be done through delayed menstrual cycle, breaking tools, feigning illness, slowing down work or breaking tools. This was the common recourse when slave owners provided meager rations, punished too severely or increased workloads (Winant 85). The effectiveness of this method was due to the fact that in as much as it angered the slave masters, there was little they could do to stop them without risking prolonged breaks in production.
The second form of resistance is showing defiance. This could involve publicly defying the master by failing to plead for mercy when beaten. A slave would disobey an order or fight back to prevent a beating. Defiance carried the risk of inviting more severe punishment.
The third and most desperate form of resistance involves making oneself incapable of working. This could be achieved through self-mutilation. Some slaves would murder their slave masters and mistresses. Others would commit suicide by drowning themselves in rivers or jumping out of windows.
The fourth form of resistance is running away. Groups of slaves would came together to plan escapes. They would run away and hide out in swamps and the forest often attacking plantations to save other slaves. Individual slaves would also run away to the North. Most escape attempts were unsuccessful.
Question 3
The American civil war was caused by a complex set of economic, social, political and psychological differences. In the course of the American Revolution and the making of the constitution, differences between northerners and southerners were overtaken by their mutual interest in building a new nation. However, once this was done, those differences started growing with the south seeking to separate from the Union. It took the leaders of a national stature to hold the Union together. The deaths of Daniel Webster and Henry Clay in 1852 left a vacuum that was replaced by sectional spokesmen who were unwilling to compromise.
In the 19th century, the South was largely an agrarian society whose economy was heavily dependent on slavery and the plantation system. This system produced the crops cotton which fed the Southern economy. Though the North had its agricultural resources, it emphasized industrialization and developed more than the South commercially. The South feared a disruption of their economic and social order.(Byrne, Coleman, and King 47).
The abolition movement grew in the North. Public sympathy against slavery was aroused by the Dredd Scott Case and Harriet Beecher Stowes hugely popular Uncle Toms cabin. The fight between slave proponents and abolitionists became polarized. The South feared that slavery would be abolished while the North feared that it would spread to the states in the West.
The South believed in greater state rights while the North believed in a strong federal system. They believed that a state wishing to leave the Union should be allowed to do so. The economic prosperity in the North made the South anxious about maintaining their position as an equal in the Union.They were uncomfortable with paying taxes that were used to build roads and railways in the North.
The election of President Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was a watershed moment because he held strong Anti-slavery views. The establishment of a new Confederate government under Jefferson Davies left war as the only recourse to keep the Union and end slavery in all the states. The April 1861 successful attack on Fort Sumter by Confederate troops enraged the North and inspired the South. It led President Lincoln to issue a call for troops marking the start of the civil war (Wade 2).
The American civil war was caused by differences over sectionalism, tariffs, state rights and slavery. It is unfortunate that it had to take a war to ensure the abolition of slavery in the United States.The slaves that sought greater autonomy resisted. It is wonderful that a nation which had to go to war over slavery currently has an African American as its president.
Works Cited
Byrne, James P, Philip Coleman, and Jason King. Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and
History: a Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.
Wade, Linda R. Slavery and the Civil War. Edina, MN: Abdo Pub, 1998. Print.
Winant, Howard. The New Politics of Race: Globalism, Difference, Justice. Minneapolis: University of
Minnesota Press, 2004. Print. Read More
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