North American Slavery vs. Latin American Slavery: A Comparative Look at Frederick Douglass and Juan Francisco Manzano

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North American Slavery vs. Latin American Slavery: A Comparative Look at Frederick Douglass and Juan Francisco Manzano

When we assess the evils of slavery, we typically think of the North American slaves plight. We think of the beatings, murders, hangings and mistreatment of the Southern slave. But what about the slaves of Latin America? Who hears their cries of woe because of their evil slave masters? Is their treatment the same of their brethren under slave rule in North America? In order to answer these questions, it is necessary to look into the lives of both North and Latin American slaves. For our purposes, we will utilize two slave narratives. One account will come from the North American slave, Frederick Douglass, and his
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Furthermore, the child's environment was one where a slave was seen as ignorant, savage and inferior to their white masters. Fredrick Douglass and Juan Francisco Manzano both lived under the "Black Hand" of slavery. Yet, each had a different experience while growing up that yielded contrasting desires and incentives in regard to freedom.

Frederick Douglass was a North American slave whose environment killed any intellectual stimulus. He was denied all access to knowledge, even that which concerned his own life. Douglass demonstrated his lack of self-understanding when he wrote, "I have no accurate knowledge of my age...By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant" (Douglass 255). This excerpt form Douglass' narrative illustrated how the North American slave was given no opportunity for obtaining an education. These human beings were lowered to the level of beasts under the wicked institution of slavery. Their masters felt that a slave's only means for existence was to serve, therefore, it was only important to know how to perform thier duties. A child growing up in such harsh conditions would surely come to see himself as inferior. There was also an enormous amount of violence a slave had to witness. In Douglass' first encounter with violence he witnessed the beating of his own aunt by the overseer, in which "the louder she
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