Effects of Slavery on American Society

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, American Civil War Pages: 5 (2125 words) Published: December 10, 2013
African American slavery has a dramatic impact on slaves and it changed all time periods in American society throughout America’s history. From the 1600’s when slaves first arrived from Africa, through the Civil War, Great Depression, Civil Rights Era and up until today, slavery’s impact has been felt in America. Slavery was brought to America as early as 1619, but we chose to keep it here for over 200 years, longer than any other country who also adopted the ways of slavery. Our economy flourished with the cheap labor of slaves, and as new inventions, and products came to our attention, we always had a cheap way to produce a mass quantity of it. The South is known for being Pro-slavery, while the Northern states where known for being against slavery. Even after slavery was abolished, racism, discrimination and segregation existed for many more years. Then came the Civil Rights era, winning the elimination of Jim Crow laws and legally making blacks equals, however, the hate crimes and racism still carried on, and until whites set aside their differences and the laws began to be strictly enforce against hate crimes and segregation, the blacks did not get the same privileges as the previously preeminent white race. Slavery came to America in 1619, and stayed until 1865, and the effects lasted all the way through the 1900’s. As a plantation economy arose in the South, it created a need for more slaves. Slavery had been practiced in British North America from early colonial days, and was firmly established by the time the United States' Declaration of Independence was passed in 1776. After this, there was a gradual spread of abolitionism in the North, while the rapid expansion of the cotton industry in 1800 caused the South to side strongly with slavery, and attempt to extend it into the new Western territories (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Slavery_in_the_United_States). The first slaves were brought to America on a Dutch Ship in the year 1619 and docked at what is now Jamestown, Virginia. In 1925 there was all of 23 Africans in the colony of Virginia (Vox 1). The number of slaves increased at an incredibly slow rate, as there was not that much work that required their labor. As mentioned before, the cotton industry boomed, and all that cotton needed to be picked and cleaned and woven, which became slave labor. Cheap labor was a better profit and slaves provided that inexpensive labor and their bodies were able to tolerate the harsh abuse, and punishments their owners would give them. As the Argument against slavery grew in the North, the South’s flourishing plantation economy had come to rely on an enslaved labor force (Danzer et al 157). In the narrative, The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass by Fredrick Douglass he believes that slavery is bad for the slave as well as the owner. An example from his story is “…he (Mr. Covey) rushed at me with the fierceness of a tiger, tore off my clothes, and lashed me till he had worn out his switches, cutting me so savagely as to leave the marks visible for a long time after.” This shows that slavery not only hurts the slaves, but also turns whites into savages. The author also discusses how his soul, body, and spirit were broken. This quote, “Mr. Covey beat Douglass so horribly that it not only hurt his body but also deprived him of his manhood,” exposes the fact that being beaten not only inflicts pain on someone’s body, but also crushes their dignity. What is of more importance is what Douglass says about how he regained his manhood. He states how he attains his dignity in the quote, “Douglass beat Mr. Covey, and regained his sense of pride and manhood.” This shows that there is hope for better treatment for slaves. Douglass describes his horrible experiences with being a slave and how he was deprived of his manhood but explains how he emerged from it as a new man. In the narrative The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano he is...
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