Slavery As A Cruel Institution Essay, Research Paper
Slavery as a Cruel Institution
Cruelty can be defined as an inhumane action done to an person or group of people that causes either physical or mental injury. Slavery, at its really nucleus, was a cruel and inhumane establishment. From the thought behind it to the manner that it was enforced, it degraded the lives of human existences and prohibit the basic autonomies that every adult male deserves under the Constitution of the United States. Three major countries where inhuman treatment was particularly prevailing were in the slaves working conditions, populating conditions, and loss of cardinal freedoms.
Working conditions for slaves were approximately every bit bad as can perchance be imagined. Slaves worked from morning boulder clay twilight and sometimes even longer. Solomon Northrup describes his experience as a slave on his Louisiana plantation:
The custodies are required to be in the cotton field every bit shortly as it is light in the forenoon and with the exclusion of 10 or 15 proceedingss, which is given them at midday to get down their allowance of cold bacon, they are non permitted a minute idle until it is excessively dark to see, and when the Moon is full, they frequently times labour till the center of the dark ( Northrup 15 ) .
The slaves lived in changeless fright of penalty while at work, and it was that fright that drove them to obey. Northrup continues to state that, No affair how fatigued and weary he may be a slave ne’er approaches the gin-house with his basket of cotton but with fright. If it falls short in weight if he has non performed the full undertaking appointed him, he knows he must endure ( 10 ) . He goes on to explicate that after weighing, follow the tannings ( 10 ) . This was non the terminal of the working day for a common slave though. Each slave had his or her ain several jobs to make. One feeds the mules, another the swine another cuts the wood, and so forth ( Northrop 11 ) . Then there were occupations to make in the slaves quarters, occupations that were necessary for their basic demands and endurance:
Finally, at a late hr, they reach the quarters, sleepy and overcome with the long twenty-four hours s labor. Then a fire must be kindled in the cabin, the maize land in the little hand-mill, and supper, and dinner for the following twenty-four hours in the field prepared ( Northrup 12 ) .
The slaves got really small slumber because, an hr before twenty-four hours light the horn is blown, and it was an discourtesy constantly followed by welting, to be found at the quarters after dawn ( Northrup 14 ) . Then the frights and labours of another twenty-four hours get down ; and until its stopping point there is no such thing as remainder ( Northrup 14 ) .
After an highly hard twenty-four hours of labour, the inhuman treatment continued when the slaves returned to lodging that could be described as inadequate at best. Jacob Stroyer, one of 15 kids, was born on a plantation in South Carolina in 1849. He relates the conditions that his household lived in:
Most of the cabins in the clip of bondage were built so as to incorporate two households ; some had dividers, while others had none. When there were no dividers each household would suit up its ain portion as it could ; sometimes they got old boards and nailed them up, stuffing the clefts with shreds ; when they could non acquire boards they hung up old apparels ( Stroyer 14 ) .
Families were forced to populate under less than ideal conditions, and sleeping was a challenge:
When the household increased the kids all slept together, both male childs and misss, until one got married ; so a portion of another cabin was assigned to that one, but the remainder would hold to stay with their female parent and male parent, as in childhood, unless they could acquire with some of their relations or friends who had little households, or unless they were sold ( Stroyer 14 ) .
The hot summer months made it impossible to kip indoors so, when it was excessively warm for them to kip comfortably, they all slept under trees until it grew excessively cold ( Stroyer 16 ) .
Francis Henderson was another slave who, after get awaying from a slave plantation outside of Washington, D.C. at the age of 19, described living conditions on his plantation:
Our houses were but log huts- & # 8211 ; the tops partially open- & # 8211 ; ground floor- & # 8211 ; rain would come through. My aunt was rather an old adult female, and had been ill several old ages ; in rains I have seen her traveling from one portion of the house to the other, and turn overing her bed clothings about to seek to maintain dry- & # 8211 ; everything would be soiled and boggy. I lived in the house with my aunt. My bed and bedframe consisted of a board broad plenty to kip on- & # 8211 ; one terminal on a stool, the other placed near the fire. My pillow consisted of my jacket- & # 8211 ; my covering was whatever I could acquire. My bedtick was the board itself. And this was the manner the individual work forces slept- & # 8211 ; but we were comfy in this manner of sleeping, being used to it. I merely retrieve holding but one cover from my proprietors up to the age of 19, when I ran off ( Drew 45 ) .
These living conditions caused many to fall back to immoral methods of endurance, as Henderson relates:
Our allowance was given weekly- & # 8211 ; a batch of sifted maize repast, a twelve and a half herrings, two and a half lbs of porc. Some of the male childs would eat this up in three days- & # 8211 ; so they had to steal, or they could non execute their day-to-day undertakings. They would see the hog- pen, sheep- pen, and garners. I do non retrieve one slave but who
stole some things- – they were driven to it as a affair of necessity. I myself did this- ( Drew 48 ) .
Mealtime was far from a joyous juncture. In respect to cookery, sometimes many had to cook at one fire, and before all could acquire to the fire the superintendents horn would sound: so they must travel at any rate ( Drew 50 ) . Slaves like Henderson ne’er sat down at a tabular array to eat except at crop clip ( 50 ) . He says, This ( eating at harvest clip ) was more like people, and we liked it, for we sat down so at repasts, ( 50 ) . The slaves did non experience like people for they were treated as animate beings. They were beaten on a regular basis, and most of the clip unjustly accused. Henderson describes how one of his maestro s four boies remained at place to be a driver. He would frequently come to the field and accuse the slave of holding taken so and so. If we denied it, he would flog the grown-up 1s to do them have it ( Drew 51 ) . Though the boy would frequently penalize them for idling, under the rough conditions, idling is evidently an excusable act. If any had been idle, the immature maestro would see him with blows ( 51 ) . And possibly the most barbarous and unmanful act that this maestro s boy committed was his mistreatment of adult females. Henderson relates that, I have known him to kick my aunt, an old adult female who had raised and nursed him, and I have seen him penalize my sisters terribly with hickories from the forests ( 52 ) .
Possibly the most blatantly barbarous and most obvious component of bondage is the fact that the slave loses his/her freedom. Slavery is the ownership of another individual as one s ain belongings, thereby alleviating them of their basic autonomies and freedoms. This entire discourtesy for humanity was shown in a assortment of ways. The slave had no rights whatsoever. Henderson tells about the state of affairs with the hapless white patrols that would pay the slaves for goods they ( the slaves ) stole, and promote them to steal whatever they could. Henderson says, It & # 8217 ; s all speculation- & # 8211 ; all a affair of self- involvement, and when the slaves run off, these same bargainers catch them if they can, to acquire the wages. If the slave threatens to expose his traffic, he does non care- & # 8211 ; for the slave & # 8217 ; s word is good for nothing- & # 8211 ; it would non be taken ( Drew 56 ) .
White Southerners did non see slaves as people, and therefore did non handle them as such. Former slave Josiah Henson wrote an autobiography in which he explains the deficiency of rights afforded to slaves. He describes a scene in which his male parent is being hunted because he attacked the superintendent who was seeking to molest his female parent. The fact of the blasphemous act of raising a manus against the sacred temple of a white adult male & # 8217 ; s organic structure & # 8230 ; this was all it was necessary to set up. And the punishment followed: one hundred ciliums on the bare back, and to hold the right ear nailed to the whipping- station, and so severed from the organic structure ( Henson 32 ) . They finally captured his male parent and inflicted this punishment. His male parent was shipped off and for a while his household lived in comparative peace, until the proprietor of the plantation died, and they were forced to go forth. Henson laments that:
Our term of happy brotherhood as one household was now, alas! at an terminal. Mournful as was the Doctor & # 8217 ; s decease to his friends it was a far greater catastrophe to us. The estate and the slaves must be sold and the returns divided among the inheritors. We were but property- & # 8211 ; non a female parent, and the kids God had given her ( Henson 35 ) .
Henson farther describes the slave trade experience with astonishing item, stating:
Common as are slave- auctions in the southern provinces, and of course as a slave may look frontward to the clip when he will be put upon the block, still the full wretchedness of the event- & # 8211 ; of the scenes which precede and win it- & # 8211 ; is ne’er understood till the existent experience comes. The first sad proclamation that the sale is to be ; the cognition that all ties of the yesteryear are to be sundered ; the frenetic panic at the thought of being & # 8220 ; sent south ; & # 8221 ; the about certainty that one member of a household will be torn from another ; the dying scanning of buyers & # 8217 ; faces ; the torment at farewell, frequently everlastingly, with hubby, married woman, child- & # 8211 ; these must be seen and felt to be to the full understood ( 35 ) .
In an accurate word picture of what an unbelievable load bondage was on households and how barbarous it was, Henson remembers how the remainder of his household was sold. My brothers and sisters were bid off first, and one by one, while my female parent, paralyzed by heartache, held me by the manus. Her bend came, and she was bought by Isaac Riley of Montgomery County. Then I was offered to the assembled buyers ( Henson 36 ) .
Henson s female parent wept abundantly and begged the adult male who purchased her to purchase him every bit good, but he merely disregarded her and kicked her out of the manner. This is a all right metaphor for the manner that slaves and African-Americans were treated in the early 1800 s. Slavery was a barbarous establishment, and the slaves were treated cruelly. The slaves were treated inhumanely. Possibly Henson amounts it up best with his reaction to the intervention of his female parent at the slave trade: This was one of my earliest observations of work forces ; an experience which I merely shared with 1000s of my race, the resentment of which to any person who suffers it can non be diminished by the frequence of its return, while it is dark plenty to dominate the whole after-life with something blacker than a funeral chill ( 36 ) .