afprl midterm Essays

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Michelle Yu
Emancipation of slaves in the Americas
To understand the abolishment of slavery, examining the nature of the early contact between Europeans and Africans during the fifteenth century is important. In an article Legitimate Trade, Diplomacy, and the Slave Trade, M. Alpha Bah’s discusses the nature of the institution of slavery in Africa, the Middle Passage, abolition, and the effects of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, as well as the continuing debate among scholars, such as Philip Curtin and J.E. Inikori. The desire to control the African gold trade, to break the Islamic-Arab control over the trans-Saharan trade, and to find the route towards the East for spices ultimately led to European and the Portuguese fascination to explore West Africa. In 1497, the Portuguese explorers had already established fortresses along the western coast of Africa, culminating explorer Vasco da Gama’s 1495 expedition to India. The trade between Africans and Europeans initially began with necessities, such as gold, ivory, cloth, and guns. However, during the latter fifteenth century, Slavery and the slave trade predominated, shipping millions of captured Africans across the dangerous Atlantic Ocean towards the New World. Britain had abolished slavery between 1807 and 1834, for it was informal. There was no redeeming value towards Slavery, and the exploitation of human labor led to an engrained institution, resulting in racism and dehumanization of Africans through the course of history.
Diasporic Africans and Slavery by Raymond Gavins explores the evolution, nature, and destruction of African slavery on the North American mainland in the United States. According to Gavins, the appropriate or theoretical approach to studying the cultural contact for New World slavery created an interrelation between Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians. However, the hemispheric perspective considers that a consequence to that interaction is the debate of the effects in historical history and whether they were decultured or not. Many writers such as Joseph E. Holloway and Portia K. Maultsby took part in the debate. In the south of the United States, slavery became the most highly profitable enterprise, with its many plantations of cotton, tobacco, indigo, and sugar, resulting in the importation of thousands of Africans. Black population increased, becoming a tenth of the total population in British North America after 1650. It persisted even through the Declaration of Independence, denying the humanity of African Americans, serving to maintain unfree labor system through coercion, preserving a caste structure of masters, non-slave owners, and slaves, and regulating race and class relations by utilizing proslavery ideology. Antislavery movements traced to colonial times expanded when the northern abolition took place.
Early efforts to the abolition movement by a former slave who had been known as Frederick Bailey while in slavery, Frederick Douglass, founded The North Star, a black abolitionist paper. The anti-slavery paper’s title was a reference given to runaway slaves attempting to reach the Northern states and Canada by following the North Star. While black abolishment was readily being published in writing, Harriet Tubman, a former slave, actively led slaves to freedom. After escaping from slavery herself, she made repeated trips into Dixie to help others (Broyld 2). Tubman was an agent of the Underground Railroad, a system of "safe houses" and way stations that secretly helped runaways. The trip might begin by hiding in the home, barn or other location owned by a Southerner opposed to slavery, and continuing from place to place until reaching safe haven in a Free State or Canada. Efforts by pro-slavery members of the U.S. congress by the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 hindered the ability of Free States to protect escaped slaves. Consequently, Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency in 1860 prompted Southern states seceding from