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Essay on 'Slaves Were Seen as Commodities, Not People'

  • Date Submitted: 06/06/2014 09:26 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 71.5 
  • Words: 384
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Jacob Delich 23/2/14

Comment on the following statement:
Slaves were seen as commodities, not as humans

In the 1800’s, were slaves seen as commodities rather than people? Yes, there is reason to suggest that slaves were seen as commodities. For example, if you and your family had just landed in America as slaves, you would not be kept together. Instead, you would be torn apart from your loved ones, most likely never to see them again.

For slaves coming to America, conditions were terrible. The nightmare starts for the slaves as soon as they board the ship bound for the Americas. They are packed on the ship like sardines in a can. Source 4.5.4 in the Pearson history textbook says: ‘The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself… The room soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among slaves, of which many died.’

The few slaves that survived the hard journey from Africa were then sold to the highest bidder. The farmers who bought the slaves paid no regard to the fact that they were breaking up many families by splitting them up. Many of them never saw each other again. Sometimes slaves weren’t even bought with money and were traded for guns and other weapons.

The way that the slave traders treated the slaves was appalling and inhumane. Slaves would be given a rag to keep themselves warm and a straw mat to sleep on. On top of being cold and sore from a full days labour, they would get nothing to show for it other than a meager supper which could barely feed a child, let alone a fully grown male or female.

In summary, slaves were seen as commodities, not as people, with the reasons above supporting this. Not only were the conditions in which the slaves were kept inhumane, families were split up, never to see each other again. In addition to this, many got little or nothing to...


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