Everyday Life of Slaves in the 1850's

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Life for slaves has been extremely difficult since the beginning of time. During the 1850’s people were just starting to finally realize just how wrong slavery was. If you were a slave, your life was extremely difficult. You were treated as if you were an animal rather than a human being. Slaves were generally kidnapped from Africa where they were taken away from their families and stripped of their culture. They were brought over to America and sold by slave traders to plantation and factory owners in the south (Wiki p.1).

Without the use of slaves, plantation owners in the south would have had no way of harvesting their crops due to the lack of technology. Although most plantation owners knew what they were doing was wrong, they believed that they had no way around it. Plantation owners were unable to harvest their entire crop without slave labor (Davis, p.502). Slavery was the economic necessity of the south.

Life on the plantations involved terrible living conditions. Slaves were forced to work from sun up to sun down and were expected to do this with eating very little food. Slaves were generally given cornmeal, salt, herrings, and eight pounds of pork or fish each month for food. They would be given all of the leftovers that the master thought was unappealing. Sometimes the plantation owner would give their slaves a small piece of land, a “truck- patch” as they were called, to grow vegetables (Davis, p.503). Other than that, they were fed just enough to keep them working. The slaves were always hungry and usually showed signs malnutrition (Gates, p.14).

During the harsh cold winters slaves were extremely cold and had to struggle to stay warm. Slaves figured out that the harder they worked the warmer they would stay. Slaves usually tried to keep working as hard as they possibly could through the freezing winters to maintain body heat (Franklin p14). Every year the slaves would receive clothing rations that would have to last them all year long....
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