The Gang System And The Task System

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During the time of slavery, planters and plantation organizers had two types of labor systems. The Gang System and the Task System. The two differed greatly in that the gang system tasked slaves to work all day, from sunrise to sunset, allowing for breaks for lunch and dinner. Louisiana Sugar Plantations provided the most typical example of the gang system in the American South. Slaves were expected to labor up to twenty-four hours straight during harvest periods. Heat exhaustion and accidents were common as many slaves were worked to death under the gang system. This system is characterized by its brutality and inefficiency. Whereas under the task system, the slaves would be given certain tasks to complete for the day. Tasks were often measured in terms of an acre, additional on rice plantations in tidal floodplains, the work was divided into sections as sectioned by irrigation ditches. The slaves would work more efficiently to complete these tasks in order to enjoy the free time afforded to them by their masters. This system allowed slaves to work for their own benefit. They could hunt, fish and work their own plots, thereby improving their nutritional intake. Slaves could even sell surplus food in the local markets as well for a modest amount of profit. The task system boosted short-range performance. When a slave finished his work he was done, but if a slave worked over his time, the master paid for it. And when a slave accomplished two tasks in a day, they would
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