HIS335 CIVIL WAR
MICHAEL J PERRY
The institution of slavery, the two authors James M. McPherson and Stanley M. Elkins agree on many of the same points of view. The institution of slavery was hard on the slaves themselves often making them live under hard conditions that would not allow for a good life to be lead. These two authors discuss the harsh realities of being a slave, such conditions as unhealthy living conditions, forced labor in the cotton, tobacco, and hemp fields from sun up till sometimes when there was a full moon into the middle of the night with only a short 5 or 10 minute lunch break at noon to eat a few pieces of cold bacon. Families were often spilt up by being sold and religion was something that the master didn’t think that a beast would understand. They agree that in the North with the industrial revolution and the rapid growth there wasn’t much need for slavery but in the South the institution of slavery was seen by the people there as needed. McPherson states on page 41 of Ordeal By Fire that the institution of slavery undermined the work ethic among Southern whites. When most kinds of manual labor are associated with bondage work becomes servile rather than honorable. He further talks about how slaves were forced to do the work and kind of just go through the motions of conducting work without really doing it making them ineffective at their jobs. While Elkins discuss how the institution of slavery was effective with America was being a capitalist economy and the slaves being the major force behind this thriving economy. The major differences between the Latin and North American slave system was that in Latin America they had a open system, where the slave had rights and could purchase their freedom and then go on to live a normal free life, were as in America we had a closed system were the slaves, their children and their children’s children would be born into slavery owned by the same master until...
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