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History Of Slavery In The United States Of America - Essay Example

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The colonization of the United States of America required a large amount of manpower and slavery was the direct result of this. The paper "History Of Slavery In The United States Of America" gives information about emergence and history of the development of slavery…
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History of Slavery in the United s of America History of Slavery in the UnitedStates of America 1. The colonization of the United States of America required a large amount of manpower and slavery was the direct result of this. Slavery provided the colonizers with a lot of labor and the costs that the institution involved were minimal when the output was taken into account. The urgency that the early settlers showed in setting up the economic foundations of the state is what led to the consolidation of the institution of slavery. Much of the revenue that was generated in America in the seventeenth century was siphoned off to Britain. Most of the crops that were grown were, thus, cash crops and this required a massive amount of labor, in the absence of mechanization. This led to a flourishing slave trade that started in 1619 when slaves were brought to Virginia by traders who were Dutch. Later on, the invention of the cotton gin in 1793 led to the foundation of a new phase of slavery (Slavery in America, n.d.). 2. Tradition creates a way of life for people which, in simple terms, they get accustomed to. Without the support of these traditions and frameworks of life, people remain unable to create meaning out of their life. Slavery and kindred institutions flourish as a result of such traditions that make people feel a certain sense of marginal belonging to a community. Set in their own zones of comfort, fostered by tradition, slaves found it almost impossible to move out of their daily routines where, paradoxically, they felt a certain kind of stability. Theories of structuralism make it clear as to how even in circumstances of extreme privation, people find it difficult to rebel. The impetus to rebel finally arrived when the industrial North fought for the institution of mechanized economies instead of the agrarian economies that were prevalent in the South. 3. Vestiges of racism coupled with the historic socio-economic deprivation of African-Americans are the two chief factors which contribute to the racial prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans. The repercussions of the economic deprivation that Black Americans faced during the era of chattel slavery and racial segregation continues to prevail in contemporary America. National Poverty Centre, University of Michigan reported that in 2010 that a shocking 38.2% of children under the age of eighteen living in poverty were racially Black (How does the United States measure poverty?, n.d.). Poverty amongst a vast majority of African-American families results in their children not receiving quality education, resulting in turn in widespread unemployment amongst the African-American youth. These social phenomena, detrimental in themselves, also lead to emergence of numerous derogatory stereotypes regarding African-Americans, whereby they are perceived to be intellectually and culturally inferior. Furthermore, the relationship between race and crime in U.S.A. has been a much debated and controversial topic as statistics have consistently shown perpetrators of organized and sporadic crimes to be colored in more occasions rather than White. However, rather than unjustly labelling an entire race to be inherently violent, it is vitally important that all Americans take cognizance of the socio-historical factors which are the causes for contemporary social patterns and trends. 4. Discrimination, poverty and lawlessness are in fact the three elements of a vicious cycle which is opposed the very principle of democracy. The New York Times reveals that in times as contemporary as the 1980s, a study conducted in Georgia revealed that “more than 20 percent of black defendants convicted of murdering white victims received the death penalty, compared with 8 percent of whites who killed other whites and 1 percent of blacks who killed other blacks” (Glater, 2007). It is a common misconception to assume that America has largely been free of racism after the Civil Rights Movement. Cases studies like the one quoted above show that racial prejudice remains ingrained in many facets of the American society. The practice of racial profiling practiced by law and order authorities coupled with discrimination in professional spaces perpetuates a mutual distrust and antagonism between the races. This antagonism manifests itself in hate crimes and social and cultural segregation of the races, thereby forming a continual loop of cause and effect. 5. While legally the state provides for complete equality between people of all races and thus an egalitarian society, in practice, racial discrimination continues to exist in the American society. The chief way in which this can be eradicated is by encouraging a multicultural ethos in educational institutions and workplaces, thereby allowing people from diverse ethnic backgrounds to socialize on a common, racially neutral platform. Parallel non-government bodies can perhaps be constituted to keep check on the working government organs, chiefly the police and the judiciary, to ensure that all individuals get justice and the right to defend themselves when accused of committing a crime. Racial profiling should be made illegal, since it usually engenders prejudice and discrimination. Wherever possible, the state should undertake special welfare measures to provide education, housing and employment opportunities to people from historically deprived pockets of the society in order to integrate them with mainstream Americans. References Glater, Jonathan D. (2007). Race Gap: Crime vs. Punishment. In The New York Times online. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/07/weekinreview/07glater.html How does the United States measure poverty? (n.d.). In University of Michigan online. Retrieved from http://www.npc.umich.edu/poverty/ Slavery in America. (n.d.). In History.com online. Retrieved from http://www.history.com/topics/slavery Read More
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