Slavery is or was a legal way of treating people as property (History of Slavery par 1). The laws came in place to govern how people treat slaves and ensure they do it in a legal way. One could have the authority to buy and sell slaves and hold them for as long as they can (History of Slavery par 1). The action was brutal to the slaves as they had equal or worse treatment than animals. The cruelest side of the trade was that human beings are depriving their lesser beings for their selfish reasons. Life was hard for the slaves, and most of them ended up dead from brutality, sickness, neglect, and old age. Most of the slaves who went to America came mainly from Africa and a few from Asia (History of Slavery par 2). It took a long time before America abolished slave trade but even with the laws in place; there are signs of modern slavery in recent times.
History dates the beginning of slavery in the 6800 B.C (Slavery in History par 2). It began in the city of Mesopotamia where landowners captured enemies and made them work for them. During the time, technology was at its first stages and propelled the starting of the war. In 2575 B.C, the Egyptians captured slaves through special expeditions across the Nile River. The slaves made most of the temples and palaces in Egypt. In the year 120 A.D, Roman military men capture slaves in thousands. Their presence in Rome changed the population of Romans and slaves since the slaves were equal to the amount of Romans. By the year 1000, slavery became a normal practice in England’s rural and agricultural sectors (Slavery in History par 5). Destitute workers offered themselves and their families under their master’s authority to help offset some of the debts owed. At the time, people could offer themselves as slaves to offset debts that they accumulated with time.
As time went by, the need and hunger for slaves led to the search for other continents for slaves. In the year 1380, the Europeans traveled to North America and the Middle East and came back with ships full of slaves. They selected the able men and women from the continents as slaves. Africa became the hub for the slave trade as the Portuguese came to the continent in the 1444 (Slavery in History par 8). They had the largest ship of slaves who came from West America and destined for the Europe. The ship brought about the inception of the Atlantic slave trade. In the year 1526, Spanish explorer brings in the first bundle of African slaves to the soon to become America. The slaves were responsible for the first ever slave revolution known in America.
The year 1619 marked the start of slavery in the northern American colony of Jamestown in Virginia (Staff par 1). They came to help produce lucrative crops like tobacco. Before the Africans came in as slaves, Americans used European’s rejects as slaves but they were too weak to perform the tasks. The situation changed when the first ship with 20 Africans docked in Jamestown. The African slaves were cheaper, able-bodied and had value for their services. The Americans began more and more shipment of slaves to America. Their population grew by thousands to close to 7 million in the 18th century alone (Staff par 2). Their presence branched off to other parts of America but mainly in the rural and farm areas. However, their importation brought about the depletion of strong Africans in their continent since most of the traders picked the best men and women. Another factor that led to the increase in numbers was the creation of the cotton gin in 1793. The cotton gin made the process of cotton weaving easier and increased the orders for the products.
Between the 17th and 18th century, the slaves worked on rice, tobacco, and indigo farms on the southern coast (Staff par 3). However, towards the end of the 18th century, tobacco started depleting, and farmers changed to cotton production. At the time, the cotton market was in a steady growth as the fashion industry began its first steps. The exportation to Europe advanced, as the textile industry required more raw materials than what they got locally. The South American side farmers bought the cotton gin to help in weaving and mass production. It is the reason the south became more popular in the slave trade.
The slaves lived in risky conditions; the kind that no human should live. They lived in large farms under their masters (Staff par 5). The masters could have than 50 slaves working for him in all places of the farm and house. They ensured the slaves depended on them for everything in a bid to make them loyal to him. The plan worked at the beginning since most slaves worked until their old age since they did not know where else to go. The masters prohibited the slaves to read and wrote because they fear they will overpower them with time. They restricted their movement and interaction with other people. Most of the masters raped love women while their wives beat the women who seemed to seduce their husbands. Some of the slave women bore children due to rape, and the children were sent to other farms in their tender age. It was meant to make the women concentrate on their jobs and not the children.
The rebellious slaves went through series of brutality from their masters. Those that obeyed got rewards from their masters (Staff par 6). The slaves slept on floors and covered themselves with small materials through the year regardless of the season. Winter composed of the major deaths in the region as the weak slaves and children died from the extreme cold. However, slaves had the freedom to interact with each other and had relationships. Some married and raised children, but the state did not recognize their status. However, some of the masters divided the families through removal and sale to ensure they continued to work for them.
Slave rebellion began in the 1830 with a movement established in the northern part of United States (Staff par 7). Frederick Douglass, a free slave, began the movement with white supporters like William Lloyd Garrison. He was the founder of The Liberator, a radical newspaper. Another supporter was the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher. The book was voted the best in antislavery novels in the 1852. Many abolitionists believe that slaveholding was a form of sin while others saw it as inefficient, regressive and did not make economic sense. The free slaves and supporters helped fugitive slaves to cross to the northern side through a loose network composed of safe houses in the 1780s. The mission gained the name Underground Railroad and helped more than 40,000 slaves secure freedom. However, the movement brought about the rebellion of the southern white farmers and traders.
There were never ending battles between the north and the south about the slave trade. In 1860, the Southern Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln, became the president (Staff par 10). Within the three months in office, seven southern states formed the Confederate States of America. Four others followed the civil war between the 1861 and 1865. In January 1, 1863, Lincoln brought to the end of slavery in all states by issuing an official statement. The move made more than 3 million black slaves free from their masters.
However, slavery still exists until today. However, the tactics are different from the early years. People enter into slavery through prostitution, child trafficking and exploitation. Due to its nature, few people would see it as slavery since many people do it without knowing. Agencies have a hard time trying to even out the odds by fighting the ringleaders, but they fail because of the protection they have (Slavery in History par 10). In conclusion, slavery cannot stop if people do not stand up for equal rights of people regardless of their social status.
History of Slavery. 2014. Web. 28 April 2015. < http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID=cio >
Slavery in History. 2014. Web. 28 April 2015. < http://www.freetheslaves.net/about-slavery/slavery-in-history/ >
Staff, History.com. Slavery in America. 2009. Web. 28 April 2015. < http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery >