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Slavery and Human Decency

Uploaded by Admin on Dec 08, 2000

Discrimination is very old in its origins. From the earliest periods of human existence, groups developed prejudices toward others and then discriminated against those whom they regarded as different or inferior. Many attempts were taken to maintain or increase power, prestige, or even wealth; groups found it easy to invent or accept the idea that others were somehow inferior to them and thus not deserving of equal treatment. Among the many differences that could be used as a basis for discrimination, people quickly discovered that physical appearance was the easiest to identify. It required no subtle analysis, no careful contemplation, but only a superficial glance at those visual features that would later be used to identify “race”. The shape of one’s nose, color of one’s hair, or even the color of one’s skin describes the universal nature of what we now call racial consciousness. Slavery is a perfect example. Racial animosity grew in both the North and South, and in many instances led to physical violence.

The era of slavery should have been called the era of inhumanity. Slavery was inhumane, barbaric, and ultimately disgusting. In 1800 the population of the United States included 893,602 slaves, of which only 36,505 were in northern states (Phillips 18). Slaves were treated as if they were a piece of meat. The defined characteristics of slaves are as follows, “ their labor or services are obtained through force; their physical beings are regarded as the property of another person, their master; they are entirely subject to their master’s or owner’s will” (Phillips 17). Slave life according to historians has never been and will never be classified as a so-called idyllic experience. There was little in the way of recreation and other forms of entertainment to pass the time. It must be remembered that, slaves had no time they could call their own. Rarely did slaves get any “free time” at all, but when they did it was spent recuperating from long sixteen-hour workdays. Most slaves were not well taken care of. Many slaves went for days without eating, and in turn this caused their work pace to slow. According to Collier, plantation slaves worked sixteen-hour days in the summer, and were only given three pounds of bacon or pork and roughly twelve quarts of cornmeal a week (26). Many slave owners or overseers would peruse the plantations and lash out at any given slave...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   12/08/2000

Category:   Slavery

Length:   5 pages (1,132 words)

Views:   1943

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