Through the progression of slavery, we see a gradual but dramatic change the way people viewed slaves. Many factors helped progress the treatment of slaves from people to property. Whether it was the beginning of the African Slave Trade or the profitable of cash crops in the Americas, each factor deteriorated the human aspect of a slave. We must first look at the beginnings of slavery to understand the steps that were taken to dehumanize a race.
Slaves in the early east Africa were generally war captives of conquering dynasties. Islamic religion helped to maintain the humanity of these war captives. They were accepted as a member of the family (nation) but the lowest ranking one. Islamic members who owned slaves had obligations to educate and convert them to Islam. They also made it illegal to sell children from their parent which in turn was a cultural device to bring outside people into the society. After two generations of slavery these families were accepted into the society. Slaves during this time would also live to the same standards as their owners. This means a slave owned by a wealthy person would have a better lifestyle (clothes, food, etc.) than a poorer one. Slavery was still not a positive experience but when we compare to the lifestyle of Caribbean/America slaves one can see a huge difference.
The first major step towards chattel slavery was the discovery of the New World and development of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Before this time slavery was not a major factor in the labor force because Europe had an overabundance of it. The supply was well over the demand for any type of labor. This all changed when the profit of cash crops (sugar) and the unreliability of the Native Americans as a slave labor became apparent. The European countries turned to African slave labor because of the sheer number of potential slaves that were created from war in Africa. African slaves were also a more reliable labor force compared to the...
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