Analysis Of Peter Kolchin's Book 'American Slavery'

1290 Words6 Pages
American Slavery Many authors and historians have analyzed slavery from only a negative perspective, showing only the extreme cases of poor treatment. Due to the recent discovery of new primary sources about slavery, scholars have been able to reexamine the facts and provide a more accurate depiction of enslaved life. In Peter Kolchin’s book American Slavery, the author uses these new facts to portray slavery in a new light. The primary goal of this novel is to provide the facts about slavery. Other goals that the Kolchin hopes to achieve are the analyzing of the relationship between the slave masters and slaves and to show how slavery has adapted over time. In his first chapter, Kolchin begins by describing the origins of slavery. The…show more content…
(Kolchin 14) This quote shows that it is believed that the color of skin served as a basis for who they were as a person during this time period. The African slaves were seen as savage and wild beasts that were only tamable through slavery. The racial distinction is what kept slavery alive because the slaves were not seen as humans and therefore deserved little to no humanity. Kolchin then goes on to describe the relationship between the masters and slaves and how these relationships varied depending upon the region. In areas such as South Carolina and Georgia, the master was not present on the plantation. Slaves were ran in a “task system” in which they were controlled by an overseer and were assigned a certain task, or tasks, to do in a day and once they successfully completed said task they were free to spend their time in their own manner. This system allowed for slaves to create their own environments and to keep many of their African traditions and culture alive because they were not being exposed to the New World that the masters lived…show more content…
Many fail to see that most masters cared about their slaves and treated them with care because they were an investment. On account of this, slaves were well fed and clothed and were, in a lot of cases, brought to the doctor more often than the masters themselves because they were valued. Masters gave slaves more freedom then is known to most. Slaves were allowed to celebrate marriages and most major holidays and the masters even through dances and barb-e-ques for their slaves on occasion. Masters would even read the Bible with their slaves because most slaves were illiterate or not allowed to read and write based upon laws. By reading the Bible together, the masters were providing the slaves with religion which served as a means to connect the slave populations. Black children and white children were even allowed to play together on the plantations, so there was a great deal of interaction between the races. During the time of the American Revolution, the ideology of slavery began to be questioned by not only the North but also in the South. “Relatively few people called for its immediate abolition, but many, including some slave owners, expressed real concern over its morality as its utility.” (Kolchin 65) The people questioning slavery inquired about the morality of using slaves for their labor purposes. They, like many, based a lot of their arguments off

More about Analysis Of Peter Kolchin's Book 'American Slavery'

Open Document