A Study on Slavery

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Slavery was an oppressive and violent system of labor that targeted the black population of the United States. Early colonial societies in the seventeenth century had both white and black workers; the former were categorized as indentured servants and the latter were categorized as slaves. In late seventeenth century, laws were passed, clearly recognizing slavery in racial terms. The roots of these laws were partly the prejudice against blacks and partly the desire to prevent any possible unity among the workers. The laws were carried through the independence of the United States, legally considering slaves in the South as three fifth of a person. The Atlantic slave trade, a very profitable business endeavor, coupled with the demand for slave labor in American plantations, brought about a million slaves to America until the slave importation was banned in 1808. As the United States was primarily an agricultural society until the second half of the nineteenth century, especially in the South, rich land owners continued to own slaves and use their power to maintain the institution legally ("Slavery and free negroes," n.d.). As Solomon Northrup recounts in his narrative, at the heart of slavery and the manner it was maintained in the United States was the desire to maximize profits. Slave labor was exploited to the maximum potential, at the same time depriving slaves of hope and optimism. Slave owners did not leave the slaves any chances for personal lives, as slaves were
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