Slavery During The Civil War

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Slavery, defined in Webster’s dictionary as the “condition in which one human being is owned by another”, was a heinous crime against humanity that was legal and considered a normality in America from 1619 to 1865. In 1865, the Union won the Civil War against the Confederates and declared that African American slaves be emancipated. Before their emancipation, African American families were split up, never to see each other again. Their rights of political and social freedoms were also stripped away from them, and they were “reduced to a bare life [,] stripped of every right by virtue of the fact that anyone can kill him [or her] without committing homicide… and yet he [or she] is in a continuous relationship with the power that is banished him [or her]” (Agamben). Slaves were kept under strict rule in the South, making their chances of gaining freedom very slim. State governments in slave states enforced anti-literacy laws, outlawing African Americans from writing, or learning to read and write. These laws helped ensure that slaves stayed slaves for life and were unable to escape. This form of bare life, that slaves were subjected to, can be compared to a less extreme version of Hitler and the Jews. Instead of a mass killing spree, however, African Americans were exploited and oppressed as a labor force. The oppression of African Americans through a form of permanent inequality, which is that a person’s birth defines him or her as inferior to another, was evident in the

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