Twelve Years a Slave

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 1002
  • Published : April 10, 2005
Open Document
Text Preview
Whites have longed argued that slavery was good for slaves because it civilized them and that slaves were content to be held in bondage. But such is not the case, at least not according to those who were actually held in bondage. The accounts of slavery are greatly known by emancipated or run away slaves. One recorded account of slavery is by Solomon B. Northup's autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave which was published in 1853. Solomon Northup was born a freeman in New York in 1808 (3). His father, who had been a slave until his owner death had granted him his freedom in his, wills (5). In 1829, Northup married Anne Hampton and worked as a laborer in Hartford (6). However, Solomon was captured after being tricked by slave traders to work for them while working in Washington in 1841 and sold as a slave into Louisiana (15). A slave was considered in law as property, or chattel (Lecture Notes, 9-12-03), and was deprived of most rights ordinarily held by free persons. Slavery typically occurs in societies whose economy is of a market type capable of producing surpluses. Slavery existed over two—hundred and forty years. Slaves were considered property rather than persons (AP, 96). They had few legal rights: in court, their testimony was inadmissible in cases involving whites (246, 247); they could make no contract nor own any property; even if attacked, they could not strike a white person (80); they could not be away from their owner's premises without permission; they could not assemble unless a white person was present; they could not be taught to read or write; and they were not permitted to marry. Offenders were subject to punishment, including whipping, branding, imprisonment, and death (81-83).

Magnolia Myth conception is singularly insulting, since it implies that slavery is ok, as long as slaves are treated well (Lecture Notes, 10/27-31/03). And it implies that as long as slave owners weren't beaten then bondage might even have been good for the slaves....
tracking img