The Slaves of Freedom Essay

Words: 1820
Pages: 8

| The Slaves of "Freedom" | Slavery Term Paper | | Cara Harbaugh | 11/15/2012 |
Stout - 6


Arriving in Virginia in 1619, the African American race was given a fresh start to re-cultivate their lives and culture in a new country, or so they thought. That was the beginning of slavery in North America. Slavery became the new workforce throughout the colonies, spreading down into the South more because of more crop farms. But not everything was so easy on these farms. Slave owners who put the slaves to work, would usually practice violence among their slaves if they proved to be unsatisfactory. Also, because of the new growth in the agrarian economy, slavery started to spread everywhere. Due to the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, Slavery was more of a necessity now than ever. The cotton gin was created to pick out the seeds in cotton, so more cotton could be picked by the slaves and processed through the cotton gin. This created more of an obstacle for slaves to become free in society. The harsh torture and abuse, both physical and mental, were used to oppress the African American race leading to rampaging rebellions, which in turn either emotionally and physically deteriorated slaves or inspired them with a new sense of hope for their freedom. In the South during the 1800s, slavery was looked upon as a "blessing" to most , but today, many would describe slavery as a brutal punishment for the color of one's skin. Slavery was one of the many ways to oppress the African American race. Slave holders would mutilate their slaves just to feel empowered, making the blacks believe that they always have been and always will be inferior to white people. Bestowing any kind of horrid treatment on their slaves was a right of way (not against the law) due to the fact that the master literally bought, owned, and could sell the rights and freedom of their slaves or "property". In the Narrative of Solomon Northrup, Northrup described one of the female slaves he knew, who was caught between her master with his sexual desires and a jealous mistress who constantly whipped the once jubilant slave . In the end, she was lacerated so severely that "she was unable to stand" ( Northrup 3). The following days after the horrible whipping, "she lay in her cabin upon her face, the sores preventing her resting in any other position" (Northrup 4). He then explains that she was never the same again and that "if there was ever a broken heart- one crushed and blighted by the rude grasp of suffering misfortune (of slavery) - it was Patsey's (the female slave)" (Northrup 4). I think that this definitely describes how the white farmers treated their "property", who did nothing wrong. William Lloyd Garrison, an active abolitionists, compares himself to a slave in one of his many inspirational speeches. He stated that if he were a slave, "my wife is to be sold from me for the vilest purposes; that my children are to be torn from my arms, and disposed of to the highest bidder, like sheep in a market" (Garrison 2). The part in the quote where Garrison compares the treatment of animals to the same treatment of his children, speaks volumes. Many of the things white slave owners did to their slaves was inhumane and unspeakable. White people, ironically, thought that slaves were volatile humans that needed to be oppressed because of their murderous behavior, when truthfully, slaves were both physically and mentally abused by monsters who had the right to own them. Slaves, in the eyes of many, had no rights. This meant no religious views, no black congregations and no tolerance for any vocalized resistance. Many slaves wanted to escape but were terrified by the repercussions if captured. Margaret Garner, a slave who escaped with her husband, in-laws and four children were found and captured by white officers. Before they were captured though Margaret "seized a butcher knife that lay on the table, and with one stroke cut the throat of her