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Slave Versus Master

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Essay title: Slave Versus Master

Slave Versus Master

Slavery was a huge part of America's history and is impossible to ignore today. African-Americans, during the 1860's, obviously disagreed with the widespread use of slavery and did whatever they could to showcase their disapproval of it. There are many examples of slaves hostility toward their masters, but unfortunately the South was too heavily populated with slave owners for most of the protests to have a huge impact on the push for the abolition of slavery.

The population of African-Americans in the South in 1860 is appalling. In 1860 the population was sixty-six percent white, thirty two percent slave, and an unbelievable two percent free blacks in the South. The lucky, few blacks that were free had to think about the abuse and pain their fellow brothers had to go through. Although some plantation owners were pleasant to work for, it does seem that the majority of slave owners were harsh and brutal to their slaves. (Doc 113)

Slaves were considered as a piece of property to every slave owner and most lived a sad, to what they had to do. They protested in several different ways whether it be attacking the slave owner, wounding themselves, or simply " accidentally" breaking tool needed to perform their everyday duties. (Doc 115)

A slave named Nat Turner led one of the most famous revolts. Turner, a slave preacher, led an armed group of African-Americans on a killing spree from house to house in Southampton County, Virginia. They killed sixty white men, women, and children before being overcome by federal troops. Turner's revolt ended with more than a hundred blacks being executed. This was the most malicious of all the revolts and after Turner's incident slave conspiracies, were always greatly feared for as long as slavery existed. (Brink 312)

Another such revolt was by a slave named Gabriel Prosser, who gathered nearly 1,000 slaves to brawl with the slave owners. Somehow a couple of slaves gave the plot away, and it was uncovered and stopped by the Virginia militia. The end of the revolt led to the execution of Prosser and others. (Brink 312)

Most slave revolts weren't anywhere near as extreme as Turner's or Prosser's, but there were still many other forms of revolts. It was not unusual for slaves to run away, especially to the North where slavery was illegal, but it was uncommon for the slaves to make it too far or get away. Another major form of resistance was the refusal of their master's orders. Although, the slaves didn't directly refuse the orders, they would, however refuse to work hard. They would do their jobs halfway or lazily. Slaves would also lose or purposely break the tools used to perform the job they were assigned. Breaking or losing the tools would cost the owners extra money and would disable the slaves from doing their job.

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