Slavery and the Old South

Slavery was characterized by poverty and forced labor. Slaves never had freedom and rarely enjoyed material comfort beyond the bare basic needs. Their lives were characterized by diseases, suffering, and poor diet. They were subjected to hard labor with beatings that reflected the authority of their masters.

Their housing were majorly crowded with poor sanitation. The routines of work consisted of long working hours. They experienced both physical and mental torture since their masters employed force and violence to obtain what they required from them. The nature of slavery worsened because they received poor treatment that lead to high death rates.

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The major cause of the changes in slavery was the hatred towards oppression (Goldfield, et. al, 39).The changes occurred in the attitudes of the slaves towards the white in the South. There was a general feeling of antagonism and resistance. They saw their master as people who used them as beasts of burden; hence, suspicion and resentment among the slaves grew into hatred.

The culture of the slaves greatly influenced their lives of being defiant. They were also influenced by the African culture that they maintained. They believed in the spirits, and made their accomplishments in music and dance. They believed in religion and their families served as a source of support. However, their families were disintegrated by the sale of their members.

The slaves tried to defy the slavery system and used religion as a tool to support the revolt. Faith sustained them and enhanced a sense of racial identity. The resistance to slavery was through fearless revolts. The consequences of rebellion were important to the slaves in various ways. Most of them got an opportunity to become literate by knowing how to read and write (Goldfield, et. al, 54).

The geography of the South greatly influenced the revolts; however, the militias were prepared to suppress the revolt. This experience changed the slaves’ actions. The freed slaves worked as manual laborers and changed various working sites. Furthermore, the rebellion also included theft and runaways. Due to the increase in political conflict between the North and the South, fears increased over the slave rebellion which led to increased restrictions on the slaves.

Fugitive slaves were captured, aided by the Law that also required that those who never owned slaves to support the slavery system. The manufacturers in the South felt the impact of using the slaves. Slave ownership was translated into political power and it was a basis of wealth and free standing. It guaranteed wealth due to the production of cotton in large scale. Hence, it was held as an investment and a commodity since slaves were highly valued ((Goldfield, et. al, 57).

In conclusion, the slave system was embedded into the economic development of the South. However, the conflict in slave ownership led to antislavery movements. The end of the row between the slave owners and non-slave owners narrowed down slavery. This aggravated the risks in entering into the cotton business since the cost of the slaves increased.

The slave system was finally abolished due to the thought that the system weakened the economy of many whites and the South. Slavery in the South declined due to immigration that provided cheap labor. There were more revolts against oppression that led to abolitionists, expansion westwards that made slave codes harsher.

Works Cited

Goldfield, Davis, et. al. The American Journey: The History of the United States. Second Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001.

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