Submissive slaves wanted

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Treatment of slaves was characterized by degradation, rape, brutality, and the lack of basic freedoms. The treatment of slaves in the United States varied widely depending on conditions, time, and place. Generally speaking, urban slaves in the northernmost Southern states had better working conditions and more freedom than their counterparts on Deep South plantations. As slavery became more entrenched and slaves both more numerous and valuable, punishments for infractions increased.

Treatment was generally characterized by brutality, degradation, and inhumanity. Whippings, executions, and rapes were commonplace, and slaves were usually denied educational opportunities, such as learning how to read or write.

After well-known rebellions, such as that by Nat Turner insome states even prohibited slaves from holding religious gatherings due to the fear that such meetings would facilitate communication and possibly lead to insurrection or escape. Isolated exceptions existed to the generally horrific institution of slavery. For instance, there were slaves who employed white workers, slave doctors who treated upper-class white patients, and slaves who rented out their labor. Yet these were far from common occurrences. Slave women in the United States were frequently subjected to rape and sexual abuse.

Many slaves fought back against sexual attacks, and many died resisting.

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Others carried psychological and physical scars from their attacks. Sexual abuse of slave women was rooted in and protected by the patriarchal Southern culture of the era in which all women, black or white, were treated as property, or chattel. The result after several generations was a large of mixed race, or mulatto, slaves. At the same time, Southern societies strongly prohibited sexual relations between white women and black men in the name of racial purity. Treatment of slaves tended to be harsher on larger plantations, which were often managed by overseers and owned by absentee slaveholders.

In contrast, small slave-owning families sometimes provided a more humane environment due to the closer relationship between owners and slaves. Following the prohibition placed on the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the early nineteenth century, some slave owners attempted to improve the living conditions of their existing slaves in order to deter them from running away.

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Some proslavery advocates asserted that many slaves were content with their situation. African-American abolitionist J. Sella Martin countered that the apparent contentment was merely a psychological reaction to the exceedingly dehumanizing brutality that some slaves experienced, such as witnessing their spouses sold at auction or seeing their daughters raped.

Slaveholders remained fearful that slaves would rebel or try to escape.

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Most slaveholders attempted to reduce the risk of rebellion by minimizing the exposure of their slaves to the world beyond their plantation, farm, or workplace, restricting access to information about other slaves and possible rebellions, and degrading the slaves by stifling their ability to exercise their mental faculties.

Depriving slaves of such exposure eliminated dreams and aspirations that might arise from an awareness of a larger world. Education of slaves was generally discouraged and sometimes prohibited because it was feared that knowledge—particularly the ability to read and write—would cause slaves to become rebellious. In the mid-nineteenth century, slaving states passed laws making education of slaves illegal. Education was not illegal in Kentucky, but it was virtually nonexistent.

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In Missouri, some slaveholders educated their slaves or permitted the slaves to educate themselves. The quality and extent of medical care received by slaves is not known with much certainty. Some historians speculate that the quality must have been equal to that of white people, assuming owners acted to preserve the value of their property. Others conclude that medical care was poor for slaves, and others suggest that while care provided by slaveholders was neglectful, slaves often provided adequate treatment for one another. South Carolina plantation slave houses : This image shows slave quarters on a South Carolina plantation.

Slave codes were laws that were established in each state to define the status of slaves and the rights of their owners.

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Slaves codes were state laws established to regulate the relationship between slave and owner as well as to legitimize the institution of slavery. They were used to determine the status of slaves and the rights of their owners. African slaves working in seventeenth-century Virginia, by an unknown artist, : Slaves were kept tightly in control through the establishment of slave codes, or laws dictating their status and rights.

Many provisions were deed to control slave populations and preempt rebellion. For example, slaves were prohibited from reading and writing, and owners were mandated to regularly search slave residences for suspicious activity. It was common for slaves to be prohibited from carrying firearms or learning to read, but there were often important variations in slave codes across states. In Virginia, slaves were not permitted to drink in public within one mile of their master or during public gatherings.

In Ohio, an emancipated slave was prohibited from returning to the state in which he or she had been enslaved. Slave codes in the Northern colonies were less harsh than slave codes in the Southern colonies, but contained many similar provisions.

The slave codes of the tobacco colonies Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia were modeled on the Virginia code established in In addition, a runaway slave refusing to surrender could be killed without penalty. Regulations for slaves in the District of Columbia, most of whom were servants for the government elite, were in effect until the s.

Slaves were allowed to hire their services and live apart from their masters, and free blacks were even allowed to live in the city and operate schools. The code was often used by attorneys and clerks who referred to it when drafting contracts or briefs. Following the Compromise ofthe sale of slaves was outlawed within Washington D. Free blacks were an important demographic in the United States, though their rights were often curtailed. Almost all African Americans came to the United States as slaves, but from the onset of American slavery, slaveholders freed both male and female slaves for various reasons.

Sometimes the heirs of deceased slave owners did not want slaves. In other instances, slaves were freed as a reward for good service, and others still were able to pay slaveholders money in exchange for their freedom.

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Free blacks during the antebellum era—which began with the formation of the Union and ended with the outbreak of the Civil War —were very outspoken about the injustice of slavery. Free blacks in America were first documented in in Northampton County, Virginia. Byapproximately eight percent of African Americans were free. Quakers and Moravians in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware were also influential in persuading slaveholders to free their slaves.

In the Upper South, the percentage of free blacks soared from one percent before the Revolution to 10 percent by Byon the eve of the American Civil War, the nationwide percentage of free blacks remained at 10 percent, but included Black men enlisted as soldiers and fought in the American Revolution and the War of Some owned land, homes, and businesses, and paid taxes. In some Northern cities, blacks were even able to vote. This paper, as well as other early pieces written by blacks, challenged racist conceptions about the intellectual inferiority of African Americans, and added further fuel to the attack on slavery.

Ironically, some also became slave owners. Some did so with the intention of protecting family members by purchasing them from their owners. Others, however, participated fully in the slave economy. Freedman Cyprian Ricard, for example, purchased an estate in Louisiana that included slaves. Other planters settled property for their children, while others still simply freed their children and their respective mothers altogether.

Though fewer in than in the Upper South, free blacks in the Deep South especially in Louisiana and Charleston, South Carolina were also often mixed-race children of wealthy planters. As such, they too had more opportunities to accumulate wealth. Sometimes they were granted transfers of property and social capital. For instance, Wilberforce University, founded in Ohio in by Methodist and African Methodist Episcopal AME representatives for the education of African-American youth, initially received most of its funding from wealthy southern planters who wanted to pay for the education of their mixed-race children.

Many blacks who were elected as either state or local officials during the Reconstruction era in the South had been free in the South prior to the Civil War. Additionally, many educated blacks whose families had long been free in the North moved South to work and help their fellow freedmen. In many Southern households, the way in which slaves were treated depended on their skin color or on their relation to white individuals in the home. Many mixed-race families dated back to colonial Virginia, when white women, generally indentured servants, produced children with men of African descent, both slave and free.

The result was numerous mixed-race children. White and black individuals often were linked together in very intimate ways. Many mixed-race house servants were actually related to white members of the household. Often these relationships were the product of unequal power structures and sexual abuse; however, the children resulting from these relationships were sometimes offered greater opportunities for education, skilled professional development, and even freedom and acceptance within white society.

Darker-skinned slaves worked in the fields while lighter-skinned slaves worked in the house and had comparatively better clothing, food, and housing.

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Sometimes planters used mixed-race slaves as house servants or favored artisans because they were their own children or the children of their relatives. In its early years, Wilberforce University, which was founded in Ohio in for the education of African-American youth, was largely financed by wealthy Southern planters who wanted to provide for the education of their mixed race children.

Some planters freed both the children and the mothers of their children. Though fewer in than in the Upper South, free blacks in the Deep South especially in Louisiana and Charleston, South Carolina were often mixed-race children of wealthy planters and received transfers of property and social capital. Despite their familial connections and freedom, many mixed-race individuals still faced discrimination and prejudice due to the color of their skin. Slave patrol : A woodcut from the abolitionist Anti-Slavery Almanac depicts a slave patrol capturing a fugitive slave.

Examine the prevalence of sexual abuse perpetuated by white males against black slaves throughout American history. Southern rape laws embodied race-based double standards. In the antebellum period, black men accused of rape were punished with death whereas white men could rape or sexually abuse female slaves without fear of punishment.

While free or white women could charge their perpetrators with rape, slave women had no legal recourse.

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