The Mistreatment of Slaves

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The Mistreatment of Slaves

In no way shape or form can I agree with those that believe slavery was justified or with those that say slavery never existed. Facts have proven these hypotheses otherwise. I also cannot agree with those that believe that slaves were treated fairly. Information passed down through generations as well as concrete written evidence proves the mistreatment of slaves for many reasons. They range from the fact of slaves across the world not being considered a whole person (3/5 of a person to be exact), them being the property of their owner, some even say that slaves were uncivilized and deserved to be treated as such. The list goes on and on with reasons and ways slaves were mistreated. I will attempt to cover a great deal of them but cannot truly grasp slavery’s true form due to biases of authors and an attempt from other authors to cover up the wrong doing on slaves of African descent.

The nature of the way slaves were captured as well as their journey to their slave land predicted their future treatment. From the many sources I’ve come across, they all seem to mention how slaves were captured. Whether it be Europeans or French capturers, upon landing in Africa, slaves were taken from their homeland regardless of gender or social position in their tribe. Men were captured more often women. Men could be used for more physical labor and women for physical labor but more housework. In no way am I stating that women did not work as hard as men during slavery. Children were also captured for labor. Some infants were abandoned by their slave parents. They were left to die or to be taken into a family by somebody who passed by. The parents did this because they were not able to take care of the baby. If they did keep the baby, the master’s wife would raise it. Parents did not want their children to go through the harsh conditions of slavery. It went from capturing them on the main land to mistreatment on the slave ship. Slaves were squashed into wooden crates where they were then clamped in chains. They were then loaded onto the ships in which there were two ways they could be loaded. There was the “tight pack”- where they would be laid on their sides like sardines, therefore you cold fit more slaves on a ship and then there was the “loos pack” where they were allowed to lay on their backs with just 14 inches of space each. Either way no one was particularly comfortable especially because they were laid on rough wooden shelves and clamped together so no one could move without moving the rest of their row with them.

The conditions below the deck were very unhealthy. During the 4-7 week journey, the ships may have been cleaned once every few weeks. Most of the time this took place while the slaves were exercised. Below deck the place reeked of urine, vomit, sweat, feces, and was described as a “bile puking smell.” The excruciating heat made these conditions no better. Many of the slaves got very sick. They either got sick from being so close to other sick slaves, lying on their own excretions or from untreated wounds. Friction burns and sores were very common from the rough wooden shelves and the whip. Though the whip was not used very often, when used they left nasty bruises and open flesh wounds. They quickly became infected due to the lack of medical treatment and hygiene. Slave capturers took no proper care of their slaves. A great number of them never made it off the slave ship because of death but, the fact that there were so many of them and capturers saw them as replaceable property didn’t help the situation.

The actual auctioning off of the slaves was a very demeaning and excruciating process. When the slaves reached their final destination whether it be North America, South America, or another place, they were auctioned off as property. Exhibited in a public space, slaves were examined for their health and physical strength. More muscular, taller male slaves went for a higher price than...
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