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Slavery History

Slavery is a state wherein one human being is owned by another and they are under the owner’s control,who are also known as their masters. Slaves are expected to provide their services, of any kind, to their masters. Mostly slaves work under involuntary servitude. The history of slavery spans from every culture, nationality and religion and from ancient times to the modern times. Although, the social, economic, and legal state of slaves was very different in different systems of slavery at different periods of time and places.

Slavery can be defined as an institution based on a coorelation between supremacy and its compliance, whereby one person owns another human being, just like a piece of furniture, and demand hardwork from the submissive. Since the arrival of the twentieth century, the term slavery has been more broadly understood as something that include forced labor. Slavery can be traced back to the earliest records, such as the Code of Hammurabi, which refers to it as an established institution. The practice of slavery became very popular in British Isles during the Middle Ages.

Britain played an influential part in the Atlantic slave trade, especially after the 15th century. It was recorded that slavery was a legal condition in every one of the 13 American colonies and even Canada. The institution of slavery came in many different disguises in different societies: there were court slaves, slaves incorporated into princely armies, slaves working on the land, in industry, as couriers and mediators, and even as traders. The slaves were regarded as property and had no rights in court of law.

Slaves could obtain their freedom by buying it or by being rewarded of freedom for outstanding services. Kaur02 Denmark-Norway was reported as one of the first European country to ban the practices of slavery and slave trade. Although, slavery is not legal anywhere on the globe but still kidnapping and practices of human trafficking is even today a major issue that is very prevalent in the world. About 29. 8 million people are still living under illegal slavery today is the fact that shows us how humanity is no more a common value existing among all.

People with high status and power still promotes slavery because they feel some humans are meant to serve, irresepective of their wishes. Participation of Africa in Slave Trade Slavery was a common practice among Africans. Basically there were three types of slaves: those who were slaves through conquest, which means that they were conquered upon by a greater force either through a battle or through kidnapping. Then there were those people who were slaves due to their unpaid debt. In order to repay their debts they had to become slaves of their creditor to render both voluntary and involuntary kind of servitude to their masters.

Finally, the third kind slaves were those children whose parents gave them up as slaves to their tribal chiefs. Since human resource is the greatest power, slavery mainly functioned on this principle only. Masters felt that their slaves are a great source of income for them. Chieftains would often barter their slaves to European buyers in return of liquor , spices, cloth and other commodities. Most of the bondslaves were acquired through kidnappings, and/or through raids that occurred at gunpoint working together with Europeans. Slave Narratives

Slave Narrative is a category of literature that prominently includes all narrated Kaur03 and detailed, non-fictional information of a person’s life in bondage. Such stories has the most important feature , that it describes the personal experiences of the formerly enslaved African Americans in the United States who had found their way towards liberty and freedom from bondage. These narratives, are stories containing parts of past and personal memoirs, stood as powerful narratives in comparison to the pro-slavery rhetoric written and accepted by slaveholders.

Slave narratives formed a ground wherein collective African American identity could be presented as an identity which is free from the constraints of slavery. These stories were told by individuals and they revealed and displayed the intimate and derogatory struggles of the bondslaves under horrible circumstances. Slave narratives often came under the category of sentimental literary forms because they were written with the purpose to appeal to the hearts and minds of readers. Slave narratives are primarily the personal accounts of the writers who were once enslaved.

These accounts usually displayed the barbaric details of life in slavery with the aim of shocking the public and opening their eyes towards the terrible reality and thereby kindling support for the anti-slavery cause. One of the most prominent example of this genre is Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe which promoted the concept and the idea of anti-slavery to a great extent. It is beleived that slave narratives really help in influencing the masses , specially the Northern Americans to accept Black Men as Human Beings and not as some property.

Since most of the slave narratives speak directly to the morals and values of readers, the genre was approved by the religious audience. Most slave narratives were published with the favours of many different religious institutions. Though typical readership of slave Kaur04 narratives consisted of white Christian northerners, still many African Americans used these records as evidences and as sources of valuable details for ploting for their freedom from the bondage of slavery. These narratives provided proof that escape from slavery was possible.

Slave narratives provided hope for those who were still enslaved while they also promoted literacy as a way of achieving spiritual freedom. Althoush the genre of slave narratives have a variety of forms and styles, still their structures are usually more or less same since it includes many repitive concepts and elements. Slave narratives basically tells the chronological events that happened in the writer’s life and further it develops by providing the author’s family history, his religious beliefs and their efforts to acquire freedom and liberty.

Common features of such narratives include the recurrent use of phrases that communicates the importance of the anti-slavery cause. One example is the phrase “written by himself,” whereby the author claims the rights over the story. The writer in this way claims the authorship over his work of literature as the term gives textual authority to the narratives that assures the readers about the authenticity and the truthfulness of the described injustices done towards the slaves.

I was born” is another common phrase often used by slave narrative writers in the introduction of their stories. This phrase represents as a formal statement that the author must be comprehended and recognized as a human being. Often the authors of slave narratives would express their strong love for family by mentioning the names of their family members and by providing a detailed characterisation of their loved ones. Most slave narrators described their personal pursuit for freedom as closely connected to their level of literacy.

Their accounts of life under involuntary servitude often Kaur05 included a brief episodes of how the author acquired literacy and depicted the various ways to achieve literacy in order to gain freedom later. It is shown in various slave narratives that where some bondlaves would use tricks and hacks to get learned men to share their knowledge and teach them to read letters and words, while others were a little more lucky to receive education together with the children of their owners.

The idea of developing faith in God is another prominent element of slave narrators in slave narratives and it represents a process of becoming fully aware of one’s own sinful nature and going through many trials to ultimately emerge as a sanitized and purified individual and a member of the Christian community. However, in reality slaves were never accepted as members of most churches. Nearly all slave narratives treated the acceptance by the Christian religion and church as an affair of the utmost importance. Solomon Northup’s Slave’s Narrative

Born as a free man, Solomon Northup was kidnapped in Wahington, and subjugated into slavery at the age of thirty. Northup was lured to travel to Washington, D. C. in 1841 with the false promise of gaining easy employment, quick money, and adventurous trips. He was offered money that was three times more than his monthly income and because his wife and children had gone to another town for three weeks, he felt it would be more productive to work in this time period, rather than sitting ideal and waiting for the return of his family.

But little did Northup knew that he was brought to another state so that he could be sold, like an object, in slavery. In his narrative, Northup stated that he was drugged by his companions, beaten ruthlessly by his kidnapper, and sold into slavery within sight of the nation’s capital. When ex-slaves wrote their own narratives, free from any bondage, even then Kaur06 many of them strived to achieve freedom of expression in its entirety. Slave narrators, ex-slaves, struggled to acquire their narrative authority and to achieve sole authorship over their works of literature.

This was because the Whites still has editorial control over their works and hence they’d put lot of restritions over any written content that came from an ex-slave. The White Editors felt that literature produced by ex-slaves were not well developed and structured and so they would provide many guidelines infront of the slave narrators in order to make their text ‘readable’. Northup’s book was supported and fostered by slavery-abolitionist leaders namely- Frederick Douglass,William Lloyd Garrison , and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

It,therefore, became one of the best-seller, going through half a dozen printings. Northup loaded his slave account with many specific details and facts so that he could reprimand the critics who would have called his work as a matter of fictitious fabrication. Northup avoided to follow the path of slave authors that came before him and didn’t suspend himself to generalize the injustices that happended to him in those tweleve years. Northup even refused to use pseudonyms because he felt that nothing but the complete reality and truth should come infront of the readers.

Northup didn’t hesitate to mention the true names of every character in his story and the actual places where he had to go in order to survive. Northup even mentioned the names of his masters and the locations of his kidnapping as well as the places where he had to serve as a bondsman so that he could bring his enslavers to trial. Horrid and Violent Injustices suffered by Solomon Northup Twelve Years A Slave is one of the most authentic descriptions of slavery from the viewpoint of the slave himself. Twelve Years A Slave, by Solomon Northup.

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