Slavery In America Analysis
The slavery era is one of the striking periods in the history of the United States. There is evidence that the first slaves from Africa arrived in Virginia in the early 17th century. Slavery had numerous effects on the American society some of which are felt to date. It is considered to be one of the most inhumane activities that have been done to the blacks in the history of the United States.
Although slavery was made illegal in the northern states in the late 18th century, slavery was still legal according to the United States constitution until 1808 amendments which made slave trade illegal.The invention of the cotton gin, the high demand for cotton from the southern states and the fugitive slave acts in the late 18th centuries were the main factors that contributed to massive slavery especially in the southern states. Slavery did not however end until the defeat of the southern slave powers (the confederation) by the northern antislavery powers (the union) in the American civil war which led to emancipation . The main reason why the slavery era has been a fascinating period in the history of the United States is how the immigrants from Europe turned from promoters of human dignity and liberty to slave masters.
The European settlers introduced Christianity in the land but later turned into inhuman landowners. Slavery established itself in the seventeenth century progressively as a source of free labor. The highest number of slaves was found in the large plantations in Virginia and other southern states. The high number of slaves in Virginia was after the white settlers had discovered the enormous profits accrued from growing of tobacco in large scale using free labor from the slaves . There were many forms of slavery throughout the slavery era. Slaves served in different capacity both in the United States and Europe.
They were mainly used as servants for their masters or forced to fight in wars. In some parts of the world, slaves were also used as sacrifices. However, as the world society advanced, new forms of slavery emerged. Forced labor in the lands was introduced in the new world in the second half of the 18th century resulting into large importation of slaves from Africa. The large number of slaves facilitated the large scale production of both food crops and commercial products such as tobacco and cotton.
This was more pronounced in the southern states who were the biggest cotton and tobacco producers in the world.The majority of the slaves working on the expansive cotton plantations in the southern states were Africans while most of the masters were white settles from the European countries . There is no doubt that slavery played major role in the history of America. The United States is as it is today because of the slave era. It should however be noted that slavery existed in all British colonies all over the world.
But it is interesting to note that the founding fathers of the United States were large scale farmers who owned large number of slaves.It is important to note that looking at the first 12 presidents of America; eight of them were slave owners. This indicates that the American society was powered by the forced labor from slaves. Slavery dominated the political and social debates in America in the 18th and 19th century. This eventually led to the American civil war, the only civil war in the history of the United States.
The uprising between the southern states that were depended on forced labor for agricultural production and the northern states who were opposed to slavery ended slavery.Although slavery was banned after emancipation, the African Americans continued to struggle with the legacy of slavery and the resultant racial biasness and discrimination throughout the reconstruction era until the mid 20th century when all formal discriminations were made illegal . Some historians have argued that the use of slaves in the slavery era was inevitable. The slaves were mainly brought to America by the Dutch traders among others but the landowners tried to use forced labor from the Native Americans. Other races such as the Indian men were forced to work in the plantation which was against their traditions.However, the majority of slaves were Africans while the other races formed an insignificant percentage.
The landowners believed that the Africans were better slaves compared to other races. Moreover, the land owners did not prefer Native Americans as slaves in their own land because it was easier for them to escape therefore preferred to sell them. There was also a threat of violence when the large number of natives captured in wars especially from Central America being made slaves in the plantations . Being an important era in the history of the great country, it has received mixed responses from different people around the world.There is however a general agreement that slavery amounted to crime against humanity.
Though some people consider as an involuntary act, slavery was very dehumanizing and lowered the dignity of the black race which has taken centuries to heal. The slaves were denied both their constitutional and natural rights as human being leading to poor living conditions and marginalization of their descendants. The greatest crime against the slaves was however depriving them the future. There is no doubt that there are a large number of African Americans who are very successful in life.However, most of them are immigrants while the descendants of the slaves remain marginalized.
The African Americans have struggled throughout history with inequality. This is because even after changes in the laws of the land, racial prejudice is still evident among the members of the dominant races . The emancipation after the American civil war assured all slaves freedom. However, this was not enough. The slaves were guaranteed freedom from slavery but they were not free from starvation, outbreak of diseases and remained homeless.
The freed slaves were not given support due to the racial prejudices and could not have been considered free. The free slaves endured the same suffering they were subjected to by their master but now on the hands of the entire society and nature. There is no doubt that the descendants of the slaves will continue to be marginalized for many centuries . Some people have argued that though slavery was inhuman to the blacks, all benefited from the wealth created by the forced labor from slave which powered the United States to the greatest economy in the world.Others maintain that stating that slavery negatively affected the black race in American soil negatively is an understatement. This is because although slavery ended one and half century ago, the ramifications will be experienced by many generations to come.
The hatred and racial divide that exist in the American society today is as worse as the prejudice in the slavery era. Despite the American constitution upholding that all men, either black or white are equal before the law, equality of all races in America is a dream that is yet to be realized.Tensions between different races remain high in the country and it can only be blamed on slavery in the 17th and 18th century. The pains among the descendants of the slaves and prejudice against them by the dominant races are evident in the society . The events of slavery have resulted into the perception among the Americans that the freed slaves and generally the blacks had no ability to initiate a thought and therefore must be told what to do. There is no doubt that since the end of slavery and the civil war, there has been a brutal influence on how the society views the African Americans.
It is therefore partly responsible for the sufferings that have been experienced by millions of slaves’ descendants . In conclusion, the slavery era remains one of the most important eras in the history of the United States. Its impacts are still evident and will be felt by many generations to come. Although it led to creation of massive wealth, it can be blamed to have caused the Americans civil war as well as the racial prejudice which has resulted into racial divide in the society.