Slavery is a big part of America’s history. It has been around America since 1620 and was abolished in 1865. The beginning of slavery in America started because of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Since then slavery became bigger and grew across the United States. Slavery was mainly used in the south to work on plantations. Slaves struggled very much in America. They were treated badly by their owners. They did not have freedom and were very limited on what they could do. Eventually, they started to fight for their freedom and people in America began to realize that slavery was not right. Slavery has been an enormous part of why the United States is where it is today.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade (also known as the Triangular Trade) exchanged goods and labor. It was important to the countries involved because it was a part of the colonial economy. It was mainly important to America because it brought slaves to the country. The beginning of the Transatlantic Slave Trade started slowly in the 1400s. The main countries responsible for the beginning of the Slave Trade was Britain, Portugal, and the Netherlands (Hanel 5).
In the 1430s, the Portuguese first sailed to Africa. They were mostly interested in gold and began to exchange goods with Muslim traders. Portuguese left Europe with horses, cloth, wine, and guns. They would sail home with gold, ivory, and pepper (Hanel 11). The Portuguese distinguished that Africans traded humans not only goods. Africans had been trading slaves for goods for centuries (Hanel 12). Africans that were captured to be traded were often people that lived as hunters and gatherers. Many slaves would die on the journey where they were being shipped off to. The survivors were dispersed to lands like Egypt.
At this time, people from different parts of the world were beginning to travel and explore the ‘New World.” Countries began to realize the availability of raw materials. The Europeans were mainly impressed by the ‘New World” and its land. They began to settle on the ‘New World.” Europeans needed help to work the land, and they were not accustomed to climate in America and would get sick from the diseases. They eventually got slaves from the existing African Slave Trade. The Europeans figured that this was a promising solution because the slaves were accustomed to the similar climate like the one in America. Also, because many of the slaves were farmers before (Hanel 15). The slaves’ journey to America was awful. The ships that the slaves were on were quite large. The ships carried about five-hundred slaves and the small ships held about one-hundred. The slaves were kept below the deck in dark, close, and filthy quarters (Hanel 25). Many slaves would get sick and sometimes many would die.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade is an important reason on how America discovered slaves. Slavery and slaves were a big impact on America. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was one struggle that many slaves had to face. Although, the slaves struggled on the trip to America. The struggles the slaves went through in America were just as worst. They were not treated as humans at all, they were treated as objects.
Once slaves arrived in the Americas, they were put up for sale at slave auctions. When auctioned, a slave stood apart while men placed bids, and the slave was sold to the highest bidder. Male slaves who appeared young and strong commanded the most money, while women and children were sold for less. If the auctioneer could not get a good price, he would try to sell the slave elsewhere. Slaves were expensive. A healthy slave could demand $650 in 1845, which would be about $14,500 today. In the days just before the United States Civil War in the early 1860s, a slave could be sold for as much as $2,000 (Hanel 23).
As one can tell, slaves were just sold like they were objects. Their opinions did not matter. The slave owners did what pleased them.
In America, the slaves did not have the rights to anything. They did not have the rights to education or just freedom. Slaves were beaten by their owners; some owners would go too far and almost beat them to death.
He was a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slaveholding. He would at times seem to take great pleasure in whipping a slave. I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart-rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, whom he used to tie up to a joist, and whip upon her naked back till she was literally covered with blood. No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood-clotted cowskin (Douglass 5).
Although the owners treated the slaves horribly, the slaves were very important to them. They help produce raw materials to be traded with the other countries.
Once slaves were sold, they were immediately put to work on the plantations. The owner’s wealth was based on the hard work of the slaves. If it were not for the slaves working in tobacco fields, cotton fields, rice fields, or sugar fields, the plantation owners would not have anything to trade or sell to other countries. On plantations, the men worked as craftsmen and the women worked on the fields. The women had to work on the field even if they were pregnant. If the slaves were not working hard enough or did something that the owners did not like they would get punished.
Slaves would even get punished if they were learning to read and write. Plantation owners did not want slaves to have an education because they were afraid that the slaves would rebellion on them. States made it illegal to teach a slave to read or write. If a slave was founded guilty of learning how read or write, they were punished.
For example, in 1740 South Carolina passed the following legislation: “Whereas, the having slaves taught to write, or suffering them to be employed in writing, may be attended with great inconveniences; Be it enacted, that all and every person and persons whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach or cause any slave or slaves to be taught to write, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe, in any manner of writing whatsoever, hereafter taught to write, every such person or persons shall, for every such offense, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.” Slave owners did not want slaves to do anything. They would always find a way to stop slaves from having some kind of privilege or freedom.
After many long years of being treated unfairly, slaves finally got their freedom and abolished slavery in 1865. The Civil War was the main reason why slavery ended. It was also a reason why African Americans got the rights they deserve in the constitution.The African Americans got three constitution amendments passed: The 13th amendment, 14th amendment, and the 15th amendment.
The 13th amendment in the constitution formally abolished slavery. The 13th amendment was passed on December 6, 1865.The 14th amendment was ratified on July 9, 1868. It grants citizenship to all the people born in the United States, and even grant citizenship to former slaves. The 15th amendment granted African Americans the right to vote. It was passed on February 26, 1869. Although the slaves fought hard for their freedom, they were not treated right by the white people. The white people did not see African Americans as people.
After the Civil War, people would treat African Americans like they were a disease. They were granted freedom, but their freedom was limited. They were separated from the whites. They could not go to the same restaurants, use the same bathroom, did not have the same job privileges, could not have the same education, and could not be seen by another white person.
The Civil War started in 1861 and ended in 1865. The reason why is started because the northern states wanted to get rid of slavery, but the southern states did not. This created a conflict between the south and north. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, he wanted to get rid of slavery. The southern states did not like that and created their own union. The issue of slavery caused a division of the United States.
The northern states did have more advantages than the southern states because of all the factories they had. Their army was better trained and better prepared. The south really had no chance of winning the war, but they fought with all their power. The south did not want to get rid of the slaves because they helped them make money. Without the slaves, they would not have anything to sell or trade.
Slaves are very important to America. They help America become wealthy. They also helped America become more united. It showed the United States that people should not be sold or treated different because of their color or where they come from. Without slaves, America would not be the same.
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