Freedom and Slavery
The United States promotes that freedom is a right deserved by all humanity. Throughout the history of America the government has found ways to deprive selected people this right by race, gender, class and in other ways as well for its own benefit. This is a boundary of freedom. Boundaries of freedom outline who is able to enjoy their freedom and who isn’t. These people alter with time and as history unfolds. Slavery and the journey of their freedom was a big part of the foundation of the United States. At the beginning of the Civil War, Lincoln’s goal was to restore the Union and planned on keeping slavery present in the states. African American’s journey to freedom and what freedom means was a long and turbulent one. With the British colonies being established in the New World, a source of cheap labor was needed. The Slave Trade was introduced into the colonies from Africa. Slaves were an important part of the success of this new economy being built. 7.7 million African Americans were estimated to be transported to the New World between 1492 to 1820. They were treated like other goods and were sold through the triangular trade route across the Atlantic. Slavery had its advantages to Englishmen. They couldn’t claim the protections the English law offered, their time of work never ended and their children were born into slavery and owned by the master as well. They also had encountered many diseases known to Europe and were less likely to capitulate to diseases. Slavery began to replace indentured servants on the Chesapeake plantations. To the normal plantation owner, it became more economical to buy labor for life, or a slave that you owned until they died. Slaves could be sold, passed on to family members, and leased. No black could own arms or put their hands on a white or else they were faced with extreme consequences. Also, if off the plantation, a white person could ask a black to provide their freedom certificate or a...
Bibliography: 1. Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!. NY: WW Norton, 2009.
2. “Liberating Indentured Servants” (1784) Document 37 in Eric Foner, ed. Voices of Freedom (NY: WW Norton, 2008), p.122.
3. “Petition of Slaves to the Massachusetts Legislature” (1777) Document 38 in Eric Foner, ed. Voices of Freedom (NY: WW Norton, 2008), p.123.
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