Modern research seems to prove what novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe said with her 1859 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The dehumanizing experience of slavery affects every member of society. Many African American humans were really affected by slavery. Slavery was a problem that faced all Americans in the years prior to the American Civil War. Many Americans wanted to bring about an end to it but were unable to come up with a workable plan.
Slavery in America stems well back to when the new world was first discovered and was led by the country to start the African Slave Trade-Portugal. The African Slave Trade was first exploited for plantations in that is now called the Caribbean, and eventually reached the southern coasts of America. Slavery was a practice which was much favored by the South. In the North, Americans were more industrial oriented, and had little use for slaves. The woman slaves usually worked in the homes, cooking and cleaning, whereas the men were sent out into the plantations to farm. Slaves were of all ages and sexes so the young girls would usually help in the house also and young boys would help in the farm by bailing hay and loading wagons with crops. The slaves made up nearly a third of the South’s population around the year of 1860. Their was nearly 4 million slaves in the southern states. As you can see slavery was very common in the southern states. George Washington was America’s hero. He was America’s first president. He was a slave owner. He deplored slavery but did not release his slaves. His will stated that they would be released after the death of his wife. Washington wasn’t the only president to have slaves. Thomas Jefferson wrote, “All men are created equal,” but died leaving his blacks in slavery. Owners housed their slaves and provided them with food and clothing. Field hands worked long hard days, longer than any other slaves. Their workday generally lasted from sunrise to sunset. Some of these slaves were housed as well as free workers, but many others were lived under the worst conditions. Most house slaves lived with in their owner’s home. They worked fewer hours and had more privileges than did the field hands, but were more subject to the wishes of the owners families.
No Southern State gave slaves the legal right to marry, own property, testify in court, or earn their freedom. If the slave disobeyed, the owner replied on punishment, such as lashings, short rations, and threats to sell members of the slave’s family. These punishment you can imagine was a very unequal contest, the owners held all the powers of reward and punishment. The slaves although used flattery, sabotage, and many other tactics to outwit their owners.As slavery continued and as it did more and more slaves tried to escape to the free states or into Canada. A runaway slave would be found by bloodhounds, that were trained to find black slaves. Then the slave, upon returning, would be executed or severely whipped.
The “Underground Railroad” was a project that helped black slaves escape into Canada, especially Amerstburg. The system involved 3,000 white helpers and freed an estimated 75,000 people after the civil war.
During the early 1800’s, abolitionists started a crusade to end slavery.Southerners then began to defend slavery in what became known as the proslavery movement. Some Southerners in the movement argued that slavery reflected “the law of nature,” that permitted the strong to rule the weak. Southerners also insisted that the Bible supported slavery and still others claimed that Southern slavery provided blacks lifelong security and better living conditions than they would have had in Africa. By 1860, most Southerners identified their honor and destiny with the continuation of slavery. Then in 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued which made slavery illegal in the states the rebelled and allowed black slaves to serve in the army and get other jobs, or continue to work on the plantations, as employees making money.
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin showed all different aspects of what the slaves had to go through and the way they worked with masters at their sides at all times. Harriet Beecher