Slavery In Unted States
Slavery is something that should have never happened, but unfortunately it did. This paper is about the history of slavery in America, and the terrible unfair reality that slaves had to deal with. Slave trade many years ago was a lucrative business in United States. Slavery has been defined as the state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slave holder or household. As there are many different definitions the most popular one is forced labor for little or no pay under threat and violence.
Slavery has existed on every continent. In the beginning of the sixteenth century eleven million people were taken from Africa during the transatlantic slave trade, by the nineteenth century the population has risen to more that four million in the United States. Men, Women and Children were captured and sold. Africans who were sent to the south worked on cotton or rice populations.
This paper therefore tries to discuss in details, slavery in United States of America. Also, the history of slave trade in the country will be examined.As a matter of fact, the first recorded slaves in the United States, in 1619 twenty Africans were brought by a Dutch soldier and sold to the English colony of Jamestown, Virginia as indentured servants. Many slaves were owned by plantation owners who lived in Britain.
Later on however, Series of complex colonial laws began to reform the status of Africans and their connection to slavery. The United States outlawed the transatlantic slave trade in 1808, but the domestic slave trade and illegal importation continued for several decades.Captured Africans were sold at auction as “chattel,” like inanimate property or animals. Many literate ex-slaves discussed the degradation and humiliation they felt when they were treated like “cattle. ” The life of a slave is a life that who should pray to experience, even for a second. A slave is forced to do labor through mental or physical threats and/or abuse.
He is subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment by the ‘owner’. Thus, Slaves are generally owned by and controlled by an ‘employer’ who can sell or buy them just like any other property or good.Their freedom is no longer in their own hands, but is restricted. It’s rather unfortunate that this illegal and inhuman trade still continues to this present day. Slavery has been defined as a crime against humanity by a French law of 2001. (wikipedia.
org). Experts estimate that today there are 27 million people enslaved around the world 600,000 to 800,000 people are traded and exchanged every year. Around eighty percent of which are women and children. Shocking as it might sound; some are even in the United States.
There are an estimated 14,500 to 17,000 smuggled into the United States each year.It must be noted that slavery was officially abolished worldwide at the 1927 Slavery Convention. Even with the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights, the 1956 United Nation Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, and the Slave Trade and Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery, slavery still exists in many countries, especially in United States. Although slavery still exists in the United States till today, it was abolished in the confederacy by the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 during the American Civil War.The proclamation declared that that all slaves in the Southern secessionist states free. (Britannica Encyclopedia).
Slaves in many parts of the south were freed by Union armies or when they simply left their former owners. Many joined the Union Army as workers or troops, and many more fled to Northern cities. Legally however, slaves within the United States remained enslaved until the final ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution on December 6, 1865 Slave women and women and children were forced into prostitution or working hard labor in sweatshops.Slave culture developed in stages. During the eighteenth century the slave population stabilized and the majority of slaves became native born. Slavery was a result of debt and existed in early times and African people had the custom of putting up wives and children as hostages for an obligation and the hostages became permanent slaves.
Supporters of reparations argue that African Americans continue to suffer from the trace of slavery and the discrimination that followed the emancipation. Flowing from the above, the end of the Civil War did not result in the integration of former slaves in American life.Although slavery has been illegal in the United States for nearly a century and a half, the United States Department of Labor occasionally prosecutes cases against people for false imprisonment and involuntary servitude. This shows the fact that slavery still continues in the American society, though at a lower ebb.
A very prominent president of the United States who fought slave trade is Abraham Lincoln. He took practical steps in making sure that slavery is abolished in the country. Lincoln viewed slavery as wrong because he believed in the words all men are created equal.Thus it could be said that slavery contradicts the very ideals of United States which believes that all, men are created equal, and should therefore be treated equally. After its abolition in the United States, some of these freed slaves were nationalized and became citizens of the country. This started the ethnic and cultural conflicts between the slaves and the whites.
Slaves were not allowed to enjoy most of the rights accrued to citizens of the country. Blacks (who were mostly the freed slaves) were banned from attending schools reserved for white pupils.This can be seen in the celebrated case of Brown v Board of Education. This form of discrimination is endless.
For instance, slavery was seen by many in the South to be a way of life, as well as an essential part of its existence. Although some abolitionist movements sprung up in the South, they were in no way as influential or widely supported as those in the North. Another point that must be noted is the fact that the issue of slavery had major political implications from the founding of the United States after the Revolutionary War.There was already great contention over the issue of slavery at the time of the writing of the Constitution. More specifically, there was disagreement over how slaves were to be counted when assigning the number of representatives per state, and also over the slave trade (Kernell 53). Delegates from southern states naturally wanted slaves to count fully when House seats were being apportioned and for any regulation of the slave trade to be postponed as long as possible, while Northerners wanted just the opposite.
In the first section of the 13th amendment to the United States constitution, the abolition of slave trade is stated as follows; “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction” theses words in the 13th amendment of the United States constitution really concludes a process that had been taking place throughout the mid-19th century.The path taken by the nation to achieve the abolition of slavery, however, was almost as profound as the outcome itself, as the entire political landscape in the United States changed dramatically within a relatively short period of time. However, slave trade still continues, but not on a large scale as was it the case in the mid-19th century.Finally, all forms of slavery in the United States should be abolished, before the country can be said to be a country of freedom. Freedom is defined as the quality or state in which somebody is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any, or to any undue, restraints and restrictions. Slavery does not grant this state of being.