American Slavery Book Review

968 words - 4 pages

"American Slavery"
Book Review

This book achieved its goal by reflecting the past and history of American Slavery. We can see through much detail what America was and has become throughout the era of slavery. It was the Colonial era that America began to see what true slavery would soon become.

The author, Peter Kolchin, tried to interpret the true history of slavery. He wants the readers to understand the depth to which the slaves lived under bondage. In the book, he describes the history of the Colonial era and how slavery began. He shows us how the eighteenth century progressed and how American slavery developed. Then it moves onto the American Revolution, and how the American slaves were born into class. It was this time that slave population was more than twice it had been. The Revolutionary War had a major impact on slavery and on the slaves.
The author goes on to describe antebellum slavery. During this time he describes slavery as a massive expansion. He expresses this knowledge through numbers of slaves and overwhelming facts. At this time cotton boosted the economy of all the slave states, cotton producing or not. Cotton created an intense demand for slave labor and therefore slave prices rose to an all time high. Slave trading was very traumatic for the slaves, being separated from the only thing they knew. Some lived on plantations under a watchful eye and others worked right beside their owners. Slaves on large plantations usually worked in gangs, and there were better positions to work then others. Some gangs were separated into groups of lighter work, consisting of men and woman. Other gangs weren't so lucky and were assigned to hard labor.
The author made a point to explain what slaves had it better than others. He described the life of southern slaves and how they suffered extraordinary amount of pain in their lives. The slaves owners control their live and every possession the slave ever owned. They lived by rules every minute of their lives. The slave owners suppressed many things in a slaves' life. For example, interfering with the naming of the slaves children. The slave owners treated the slaves like animals. The owners would punish slaves for doing wrong mostly by whipping. Those whippings, sometimes a public display, were carried out as a casual affair.
Slavery life wasn't all work. Even as much as the slave owners tried to control their lives, the slaves did create a life of their own behind all the work. The author describes this as an ordinary life yet I don't see it as ordinary at...

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