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By christelt Dec 31, 2013 724 Words
The Semantics of Slavery and the 13th Amendment

In today’s society, the idea of slavery is something that happened long ago, and it is an idea that today, we would consider taboo and most certainly illegal. This is because the very root of slavery is twisted and muddled. Slavery was caused by economic factors of the English settlers in the late 17th century. Colonists continually tried to allure laborers to the colony. The head right system was to give the indentured servant, a method of becoming independent after a number of years of service. Slavery was caused by economic reasons. Colonists chiefly relied on Indentured Servitude, in order to facilitate their need for labor. The decreasing population combined with a need for a labor force, led colonists to believe that African slaves were the most efficient way to acquire a labor force that would satisfy their needs.

This is to say that slave owners needed cheap labor, and instead of hiring or paying their workers, they bought them and worked them to the bone. Slavery was certainly an opportune moment in history, allowing the colonists to buy and sell humans in order for their own profit. This, although at the time was not recognized as such, is human trafficking. People who used other human beings to their own advantage, and traded and bartered for their lives, and didn't think that it was in the slightest way wrong or immoral.

The 13th Amendment clearly states that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” There is certainly a reason why this decree was passed, and not for the gain of President Lincoln, but because it was justice to all people. Slavery was abolished for a reason, and the reason is that the very notion of owning a life and keeping a person against their will is immoral and wrong, not to mention socially, mentally and physically degrading, as well as supremely unethical. Although slavery today does seem 'obviously wrong' there are more than enough reasons to justify it's depravity. Not only did slavery exploit and degrade the human body, it violated human rights, treating one brand of human better than another. The message that slave owners beat into their captives were that as African-Americans, they couldn't dream to meet the standards of the Caucasians. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly forbids such behavior and prohibits slavery and practices associated with it.

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. -Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This decree clearly states that slavery is wrong, and that all people, white or black, big or small, are equal. They are to be treated with dignity, respect and given rights, and these rights should not be able to be stripped of them, especially not by selling their entire livelihood to the highest bidder. But not only does the constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human rights oppose slavery in all it's forms, but humans, without the documents and the laws found it to be sickening and wrong all on their own.

Looking back on history, one can see that not everyone in America, during the time slavery was legal, supported it, or owned slaves of their own. Slavery was concentrated predominantly to the southern states, so much so that they seceded from the Union and fought their own country in a brutal and bloody war. But it is clearly seen that the northern states opposed such treatment of people, and were shocked at the brutality and violence these people suffered at the hands of their owners. Abolition groups formed, people who were strongly dedicated to helping slaves escape from their oppression, risking to get caught and sent to prison for standing up for what they believe in. If you fellow human beings have such a visceral reaction, if your kinmen can see what you are doing is wrong, that it is sick, then that in and of itself is the greatest proof you can have that slavery was, and still is wrong to the core. Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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