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An Empire for Slavery - Essay Example

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Let us first discuss how profitable slavery was in Texas during the early to mid 1800's. It stands to reason, first of all, that slavery was indeed quite profitable as the individuals who were kept as slaves were made to work long and tedious hours with minimal to no compensation…
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An Empire for Slavery
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Download file to see previous pages So it becomes clear that though slavery was very profitable to those who owned slaves, such as cotton farmers, the overall effect was not only incredibly detrimental to the African-American population taken as slaves but also to the overall economy.
As far as actual figures, it can be said that a single slave working in a cotton field would yield roughly $1,000 in crops per year. This is a sizable figure for that time period. Because slavery was so widespread and acceptable in Texas, many seeking wealth and profit relocated to Texas where slavery was expanding and growing conditions were optimal. The soil and weather conditions in Texas made the growing of crops a very profitable business. Other states were slowly doing away with slavery as Texas continued to capitalize on slavery. These states were invaded by federal troops that sought to free slaves. By the year 1860, nearly a quarter of a million slaves were working on Texas plantations. It was not until the year 1865 that the Texas slaves were freed.
Due to the horrible conditions that most slaves had to endure, the overhead for bondsmen was low compared to the profit that it yielded. One would assume that the inhumane act of owning slaves would ultimately prove to be exceedingly profitable and in addition prop up an economy; however, this proved to be untrue as the state of Texas ultimately suffered for its hunger for money and bondsmen as its overall effect was one of delayed industrial development. Certainly, when the federal troops were commissioned to free Texas slaves at last, Texan plantation owners were then forced to come by their profits honestly through paid labor instead of forced slavery. An alternative would be for the once slave holders to farm their land themselves which was unthinkable to most. The sudden need for laborers would give individuals who did not own a plantation an opportunity for employment since slavery was no longer legal. The presence of slave labor really took hundreds of thousands of possible jobs away from the working people that hired themselves out as laborers. This too, is part of why slavery was so harmful to the Texas economy overall.
Another important aspect of Campbell's look at slavery in Texas is how the legal system supported slavery. Obviously, there would have been no slavery in Texas if the legal system of the time did not work as somewhat of an accessory to taking and keeping slaves. Originally in the Texas revolution, Texan colonists fought fiercely for the right to hold slaves as Mexican law forbade it. It is common belief that slavery prospered in Texas and also in the South as a result of the revolution and ultimate separation of Texas from Mexico. It was the slaveholders of the time that possessed the wealth in Texas and this ultimately meant that slaveholders were in fact the individuals with positions in public office. The slaveholders were the politicians so they were the ones ensuring laws in favor of slavery.
Laws did exist that prohibited masters from mistreating their slaves; however, it is important to understand that these laws were a gray area in that there was no clear definition of the master-slave relationship. Also, if the individuals with the money ( the slaveholders) were the ones making the laws, it is safe to say that these "masters" were not looking out for the best interests of slaves. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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