Slavery was meant for the African and a few poor whites. This is the general view that has been revealed in the journey through the African American slavery in the past years of America starting with the Transatlantic trade that deprived Africa of it able and strong men thereby causing not only demographic imbalance in the society but also causing poverty, diseases and lack of developmental skill in the entire continent. As African were bought as slaves to work in the white owned fields of the Americas, there was the much needed human labour that would ensure massive production in agriculture and the consequent growth of the American economy and also to expand towards the west. The deprivation of humans their rights to life and freedoms was not the best way to build a massive economy but dehumanizing and disobedience to the will of God and the men slaves themselves as society in America rejected , despised, discriminated against and treated with indignity the Africa Americans. The effects of this slavery are the discussion of this paper and slavery must be seen as the worst form of treatment any African American deserved ever and has to be completely shunned and abolished in whatever form it would present itself in the present world system.
Africans were bought, sold and used as labour tools in the many fields of the Americas. This appears to be untrue considering the founding principles of America as nation that upholds democracy. It is then true and consistent that America was then in the past living in a crisis too difficult to resolve due to the constant conflict with its establishing principles-Democracy. Slavery was therefore a test to be used to determine the disunity among the many founding personalities with some fronting very piously from freedom yet work was not complete in the fields.
The use of slave labour in the past was a common place and a practice that for years would continue in America but who was found “industrious” enough to be picked, or more sarcastically, who was the culprit in this case. Seriously, had it to be the poor black Africa boy and girl, fathers and mothers who probably were least considered to be potent enough to build Africa or was it just unfortunate or may be fate had its hand on this one too.
This paper exposes the slavery witnessed in America and the hard labour carried out by the blacks to build and fortify the American nation only to be segregated and dumped.
Many African did not know what they got themselves into but had a glimpse of it at the onset of transatlantic trade. The horrible journey begun by the development of territorial zones at a period when workers were required to ensure a growing economy of a new found heaven on earth or new world as one would call it. Apparently not only African were taken in for the slave labour but poor white were as well caught by the throat into the band with a contract period that would last for to seven years but this was not so.
Definition of terms
Slavery- This was a term that was used to define the state of a slave. According to Parish, slavery rested upon a basic contradiction the south of America where the guiding principle was that a slave is the property of the master with an everyday practice demonstrating the inability to live up to or down to the denial of the humanity of the slave. The masters were not willing to soften their hard stands. Parish says that the master learned to treat his slaves both as property and as humans (1997). This was possible due to the harsh lines of status as well as class, race and colour that drew a line between the owner and the slave catching up to a complex web of compromise, adjustments, inconsistency, ambiguity and deception.
Right- Channing is stating what a right is asserts that the question that must be considered is, “not what is profitable, but what is Right” (1836, pp. 1). Right is considered as the supreme good and includes all other goods and in seeking it, it is important to ensure that we secure the true and only happiness for us as well as those around us. In the American context, right was to be their own and not the less fortunate of other societies or even their own world.
History of the American Slavery
West Africa was part of the network where most of black fathers and mother were drawn long before the arrival of the Europeans. Hatt, reports that from the ancient times there were trade routes that were established across the Sahara linking the North and West of the continent. The trade in ivory, gold and kola nut was just but the start of something that would boil to a mind blowing racket all over Europe and America. Hatt states that large cities in Africa developed their trade, the few wealthy empires of Benin and Songhai begun to be dominated by the whites as so the goods begun to be exported. As Africa begun to increase in trade, the America had also to witness the arrival of the Europeans with the entry Christopher Columbus who claimed the land and the Spanish soon arrived forcing local people to work for them in mines and plantations. Hatt records that many Native Americans died as a result of brutal treatment or from unknown diseases of which they had no immunity (2006, pp. 10).
Horton and Horton, reveal that slavery played a very profound role in making the Americas since the institution grew from a handful of Africans to over four million Africa Americans held in bondage at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861 (2005).
While slavery in Africa was considered as a minor institution, it became apparent that the borderlands were heavily to be influenced by the Islam who begun to model the Islamic system of slavery by having slaves perform largely domestic and religious functions serving as everything from concubines to sacrificial victims even to agricultural labour. Klein records that as in most societies where slaves were to be found they were not crucial to the production process that remained largely in the docket of other mighty ones (1988). It however became very exceptional to have a society where slavery was clearly a fundamental institution that played a very important role in the economic, social as well as political life of the American states.
According to Professor Sylvester of the Long Island University, the first Africans in America arrived as indentured servants at Virginia where the slaves were to earn their freedom working as labourers and artisans for the European settlers. The Africans could become free to enjoy certain liberties later just like other new settlers but history judged them harshly as none was to be treated with ease as the contract suggested (1998). According to the professor while many European settler came to the Americas o exercise their religious beliefs and practices, slavery was a form of persecution and it has to be justified and therefore, the black slave became an easily identifiable group. These African slaves were considered as inferior, subhuman and destined for servitude and it was very unfortunate that the church then did not take to the task of eliminating this dehumanizing concept until much later when the effects was already set with obviously negative consequences. It was wrong for one Boston theologian, Cotton Mather, as recorded by Sylvester, to state in 1693 that “Negroes were enslaved because they had sinned against God”. This implied that slave code had to be the order of the day and it truly robbed the African of their freedom and rights to life as well as will power. Sylvester states that slaves did resist the treatment and the result was strict and cruel punishment given for being disobedient to their masters. African slaves were forbidden from carrying guns, taking food, striking their master and running away and this means that all slaves were liable to be flogged or even murder for either resisting or breaking the rules-the slave codes.
Effects of the Slavery
Slavery indeed from it definition is considered the worst of things any human being would want to go through since it is very frustrating. Horton and Horton reveal that slave trade and the many products that were created by the slaves’ labour especially cotton provided the basis for America’s wealth as a nation, and this became the starting point of the country’s industrial revolution and enabling it to project its power into the rest of the globe (2005).
This idea presents a glimpse of the positive side of the slavery that was eventually realized. It implies that an effect can be considered positive or negative depending on it results based on the state of the carriers. Horton records that despite the brutality of the oppressive system, African slaves brought any new cultures to America and skills that helped to shape America and its peculiar blended culture. African slaves were very much and deeply committed to liberty and becoming a living testimony to a powerful appeal of freedom. It is well known that the American slavery profoundly affected the concept and actual development of American freedom and it provided a touchstone for patriots’ demands for liberty and representative government.
The effects of the slavery can be very hard to understand since the slavery and brutality expressed to the African at the time was in great contradiction at the heart of the American democracy with a very strong belief that a freedom loving people would so passionately tolerate human bondage that violated the values they professed to hold dearest.
Shillington writes that the effects of slavery of the African people varied according to the regions and also through time but it was ultimate that the impact definitely was detrimental to the Africans and the Africa continent which was constantly deprived of it man labour resource and also skill (2005).
Negative Effects of Slavery
Slavery was not something to enjoy or be very fascinated about because it had very devastating effects. Hatt records that African slaves ensured that the population and traditional ways of life of the African people had to be broken down as the European encouraged the African states to turn against each other. The American strong personalities who were predominantly white had influence in the Northern part of Africa supplying weapons to have the stronger communities and empires of Africa to capture and sell their own people into slavery (2006).
Slavery has very diverse effects and has currently been used in other forms such as those who were enslaved before had to be segregated from the common free states of America. In these states, Ingersoll records, that slavery was not very difficult to deal with but colour came in. The African later became known as Negroes and were regarded as nuisances allowed in only certain specific states while most states they were not even to be received. Ingersoll states that many whites regret why the many free blacks in the suburbs of Philadelphia are not slaves. They think of the African American as disgusting filth, sloth, habitual vices and can only engage in crimes. These were notions build due to slavery and it is very clear that even in the present world it is very difficult to have some conservative whites accept blacks as humans but rather subhuman (2009).
The American white preferred young men who would work in plantations and this had very profound demographic effects upon the African population targeted as labour sources with the number of males within the society being reduced (Shillington, 2005). The depopulation of the young men in Africa led to the development of skewed sex ratios in certain areas that were targeted for the trade and buying of the slaves. According to Shillington in the Americas the result was a sex ration among the slaves heavily towards the males over the females. It is said that the slavery of Africans lead to injustices being done on the part of most weak African states. The slavery targeted communities in Africa that were least able to organize themselves politically against any encroachment from the raiders of white descent.
America was considered the land of fortunes that flows with milk and honey but the contributors of it to that status were bitterly rewarded. Racism was a result of slavery of the African Americans. The institutionalization of race-based slavery in America was the earliest and harshest forms of correlation between racism and poverty. The imported Africans were considered as inferior together with their race. Lawson and Lawson state that the slavery grew rapidly and by the time of its eradication there were states in the South of America that developed a social and economic hierarchy. The bottom of this hierarchy was blacks who according to the white elites were biologically and spiritually inferior and therefore were born to be slaves (2008).
There result of these classification from the notions that were built over the period of slavery meant that African were not to own any property and thus were subjected to live in the ramshackle huts and therefore were not to enjoy any legal rights and did not even own themselves.
The rights of a person must always be respected even if the society is not happy with their colour or race since they are human beings and somehow they add value to the wellbeing of the society in one or more ways at a given time.
Effect on Identity
Race was considered by colour and this meant that obviously all blacks were to suffer. The impression that slavery left on all the white minds was that African Americans are different and unequal biological beings. This though has been very contradictory from the fact that the founding fathers of America believed in freedom, dignity, equality and human rights; however the freedom and rights was but meant for only the European American man who had property. The forces that sparked the slavery were for instance the white men’s need for ample cheap labour they required in the development of the agricultural economy. The result of slavery was racism and this unfortunately for the African American was justified and therefore prejudice and discrimination were evidently manifested. Winters and DeBose assert that racism led to the constant enslavement of many African Americans in order to build the economy and ensure its survival.
Effect on Social status, Education and Political rights
The racism that resulted from slavery meant that many Africans were not considered in many aspects of the societal development and these included the very adverse effects on education, political rights as well as occupation. According to Winters and DeBose, many Africa Americans could not be allowed to go to schools with other whites since nobody was left then to till the land or work in the factories (2003). A very dehumanizing concept is that African Americans were not considered as human beings and therefore had to work long and hard in the fields without any rewards and the profits gotten from the slave labour went directly to the owners who had to ensure and maintain control over the slave population. Slavery made the social status of most African America families crush under it brutality to the male as they were separated from their families to a great extent. Men therefore were no longer accorded the status of the traditional man to provide for their families and these forms of slavery emasculated the African American men with devastating effects till presently. Winter and DeBose state that the patterns of family, society that exposed men to inhumane states were very disheartening and these have slowly been transforming such that the African American are beginning to respond to the level of a society considers as improved social circumstance (2003).
Effect on the Christian Faith
Not only did the social and economic aspects of the society get tampered with during the enslavement of the African but also the spread of the Christian faith. According to Pinn, American slavery brutalizes man, destroying his “moral agency and subverts the moral government of God” (2006, pp. 316). In a discussion with a President, Pinn records that a conversation
“I am opposed to slavery, not because it enslaves the black man but because it enslaves man. And were all the slave holders in this land men of colour and the slaves white men, I would be as thorough and uncompromising an abolitionist as I now am; for wherever and whenever I may see a being in the form of a man, enslaved by his fellow man, without respect to his complexion, I shall lift up my voice to plead his case, against all the claim of his proud oppressor and I shall do it not merely from the sympathy which man feels towards suffering man, but because God, the living God, whom I dare not disobey, has commanded to open my mouth for the dumb, and to plead the cause of the oppressed.” (Pinn, 2003 pp. 319)
Slavery in this context was a tool that could be used to divide the people and distance the blacks from the religious pious and not just that but slavery was disobedient to the Word of the Almighty and went constantly against the faith of many a Christians that lived in the Americas. Pinn underlines that the African black being God created but a little lower than an angel crowning him with glory as well as honour had but slavery hurling him down from the elevated position to the level of brutes. This is considered a strike to the glorious crown on man’s head compelling him to labour not just with but like the ox through summer’s sun and winter snow without rewards (Pinn, 2003). According to Pinn, slavery tore a child from her mother’s reluctant arm and “separated the groaning husband from the embrace of his distracted and weeping wife”.
It the aspect of education as reason dictates, when a slave desired to educate himself or the children in obedience to God as well as to reason, he was not able to do without the consent of his master hence slavery restricted men and women to train and use the knowledge they have acquired to pass on information or the gospel to others of their brethren. It was even unlawful to preach the gospel to the slaves and the patrons would make even white Christians who had the passion to preach, swear that they would not return to preach to slaves.
This slavery had not so little grave effects on the spread of Christianity and with these effects came discrimination.
Effect of Discrimination
Discrimination is the aspect of segregation where certain clustering is adopted for treating people of different members of the society. The society must be considered as a unit that is unified for a purpose and like the body every component required another since each part of the body has a purpose. After the slavery, exclusion and discrimination made it possible that many Americans and immigrant get into employments with greater prospects hence racism generated income and wealth that flows to present-day recipients. Many African due to the slavery period were locked out of jobs and those who managed to get jobs had their earnings established and then forcibly discontinued by “private practice and by conscious, active, wrongful interventionist public policy” (Conrad, 2005 pp. 329). It was very unfortunate as discrimination had very strongholds to result into African Americans being exploited; excluded and discriminated hence they bore the brand of those used to produce unjust enrichments.
Effects on the Abolitionists
These were the group of people who had been fronting for the release of the African Americans and to give them the freedom every human being deserves. The abolitionist existed over the entire periods of slavery of the Africans with most being Christian sympathizers or evangelists as well as activists for human rights. One of the US Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, during his election, the country was weakened politically on the principles of freedom. Abraham won the nominations and being a Republican, the Democratic Party split and so Abraham won the election due to the unity of party issues. Lincoln had built a reputation as an opponent of slavery and this was considered to be a dividing issue in the country. The slavery issue then led to the civil war in America because many did not want the African Americans freed and so the disunity escalated into one of America’s most dreadful and bloody wars. The chance to fight in the Union Army was a method the African Americans had to use for relinquishing their chains and proving their inclusive worthiness to the American nation. In that period many felt that the war should not involve the Blacks even Lincoln had the same views just for the sake of the few blacks who were still not yet free and serving other masters. According to Sylvester, by the end of the Civil War, over 186,000 men of African descent had served in the US Armed forces and over 38,000 died in an effort to be part of the America’s inclusive freedom. This is not only the people who fought in the battle but there were others who had on their own been anti-slavery.
Analysis of the Slavery
Slavery produced tremendous results in America benefiting the country for over two hundred years. Slavery being used in agriculture to provide labour in the fields helped to produce commodities that benefitted since manufacturing and service industries were developed greatly. Conrad argues that without the labour or slavery in America, the nation would not have expanded west as it did but also to the detriment of African Americans. Indeed it is probable that the US would never have become a continental nation, this being a fact in justifying the crucial role of slave labour in creating the basis for the expansion and total continent wide development (2005). Conrad states that the African American slaves made it possible for many whites to access more rewarding jobs, gain more skills and acquire lifetime earnings.
Slavery in the Americas was too much to just do nothing about it and the white went to great strides to declare that African were deserving of slavery justifying this that African Americans were on subhuman and less of less biologically. These notions over time have not changed since the emancipation of the African Americans with poverty states and low levels of education a number of able bodied men and women were subjected to simply because of the colour and being of African descent.
Discrimination took toll on most industries as well as states that African Americans were not allowed to stay or live in. These were elements that became very difficult deal with and gradually has been changing to allowing blacks work in white predominated cities and factories even though with mild reservations on the part of conservative whites.
The sale of one black African to the Americas meant that freedom and all human rights taken away almost automatically. One of the fundamental rights as human beings would be violently taken with the coming of the whites and therefore life would no longer be the same for the millions of African Americans taken into slavery. There is a possibility that all the African slaves were commanded and beaten in the event of refusal to obey the masters. Abraham records that the African man and woman were the slave labour that would provide muscle for the agricultural development in the new world (2007). Even if development was good and very healthy, the ills of misuse, dehumanization, discrimination, and at the worst slaughter were not even seen by the white as anything to regard. This was although against and contradictory to the beliefs of the founding fathers who had set dignity, respect for humanity and justice as the guiding principles of the nation except for a few Abraham Lincolns who battled with the need to end completely slave trade and the slavery of the African Americans.
The negative effects that have been discussed above would be summarized as the discrimination and deprivation of freedom. Freedom to acquire knowledge was no longer the portion of the African Americans, leave alone freedom to life because the slaves were regarded as subhuman even though they had the brain to plough, and work tirelessly in the agricultural field and in the factories to establish the economy of the Americas only to be treated as brute and less humans who deserved to be enslaved.
Despite the eroding conditions of slavery with a lot of brutality and suffering, yet the African American slaves committed to survive and serve with dignity with the hope that one day the sun of freedom would someday rise on them. This hope was kept alive by many potent and influential men who dared to stand for the rights of the African Americans with no fear of being killed. The effects of slavery were detrimental to the African society and the community of Africans who lived and worked tirelessly in the Americas only to be rewarded with brutality, indignity, ignorance, inhumanity, discrimination and even death.