Many cases worldwide have been reported whereby people are mistreated by being forced to work against their will and are also exposed to other inhuman activities. This group of people lives under the rule of those who hold them and the wish of their masters is their command. Slaves are treated as property that can be used in any way with their master so that the master satisfies himself. According to Bruce (2011) the slave does what his master proposes and in a way that the master wants.
The laws of the slave are the wishes and will of their masters. Slaves are captured taken to new locations and denied chances of leaving, refusing to work and are also not allowed to demand for compensation for the work that they do. Slavery is not one's choice but a decision made on one's behalf. The life of slavery begins when one was attacked and captured and taken to a new location where he is exposed to forced labor. In the ancient world, slavery was an aspect that was to ensure comfort of the lives of those in upper classes.
People were exposed to forced labor in the United States and for more than a century it was a legalized institution in the Northern parts of America, before 1776 when United States was founded. The forced labor as well continued in the Southern part of America to a time when the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of United States was passed. Virginia which was North America's first English Colony in 1916 acquired 20 Africans who arrived by ship. The slavery practice was established in 1950s in the Spanish colonies and expanded into the Northern parts of America.
Billy (2011) claims that the white, Native Americans and free blacks held the slaves who were mostly black. The white people held the highest number of slaves. The white slaves existed though they were very small in number. Native Americans and the African-Native American slaves were held by the Europeans.
The spread of slavery was mostly to areas that had fertile soils that were used in large scale farming of coffee, sugarcane, cotton and tobacco. Many of the slave holders and the slaves in the early 19th century were found in the southern part of the United States. In that region the slaves worked in large plantations of sugarcane and cotton plantations. Slaves worked under the supervision of overseers who were white men with a role of directing them while working.
A total of 12million African slaves in 16th to 19th century were shipped to America and among those 645,000 were taken to the United States. A census conducted in 1860 in the United States revealed that the total number of slaves was four million.
The issue of slavery dominated the United States politics in 1770s to 1860s and during the period of drafting the constitution. Slaves resisted the activities of their holders through rebellions and refusing to comply and even escaped to Canada which was slave-free. Abolitionism advocates were involved in political as well as moral debates that aimed at creating Free Soils States and during that time the western expansion was proceeding (Billy, 2011).
The issue of slavery was a key factor that led to the civil war in America, and the union having prevailed in the war, the act of slavery was banned in the United States at a time when the Thirteenth Amendment or the Constitution of the United States was adopted. Though years that followed cases of slavery were still reported of Indians enslaving other Indians. In the southern parts of America institutions of sharecropping and convict leasing were shaped by slavery (Bruce, 2011).
Fredrick has a personal experience of slavery since he spent twenty one years in slavery. He was enslaved from the time of his childhood at a plantation called Maryland until 1838 when he escaped. One of the slavery acts that he faced was that he was denied his right to education though he was able to overcome this by becoming an accomplished writer. He had a personal objection of defeating slavery hence denounced the evil activities of the slavery institutions.
Fredrick in his public lecture claimed that slavery in United States was live and people of that country had pledged through their representatives that in their own capacity were to make a slave remain a slave or die. According to him the slaves in United States were capable of defying the orders from their leaders or even running away but they feared because of the pledge that the people of United States had made. Those holding the slaves said that they did not have the capability of retaining slaves hence depended on the external support which was from the people of America. Taking an example that Fredrick gave that 300,000 masters were guarding 3,000,000 slaves and in that case the slaves had the ability of defying their masters but due to the fear of the other Americans would react.
Slaves in American faced a lot of challenges that deprived them of their rights. One of the challenges was that they were denied rights to education. Those found reading or educating their children were punished. For example Fredrick claims that the punishment given to men for educating their children differed from that given to women for instance a mother found teaching her child how to read was punishment by being hanged but if a man was found committing the same offence he would be whipped or even killed. The law which had been set was forbidding the slaves from reading or learning to read (Lloyd, 2011).
Apart from being denied right to education the slaves were as well not allowed to marry. Their masters feared that incase they allowed them to marry they could reproduce and hence would have increased in number. Taking an example of African-American slaves whose number continued to grow as a result of birth or new slaves being brought into United States, the white men feared that the black people might be rebellious due to their high number. In this regard they forced the slaves to lose their heritage which was facilitated by being denied rights of speaking their languages or using their drums. This led to culture loss.
The second challenge that slaves faced was the physical mistreatment from their holders. Starvation was the major problem that affected slaves and the masters resolved to starving slaves as a means of punishment (Harvey, 2011). Apart from starvation other forms of punishments were used for example body whipping and screwing of thumbs. In his lecture Fredrick indicated that many slaves encountered after escaping from their masters is had signatures of their masters branded in their flesh. Branding was one of the ways of punishing slaves and a way of making the slaves to be easily recognized by their masters.
The masters adopted a reward and punishment form of governing but the punishment was frequently administered compared to reward giving. Rewards were given to slaves who had sufficiently abided by the laws of their masters and were meant to encourage other slaves to emulate those abiding.
Lloyd (2011) suggests that another form of ruling that the masters used was to ensure that at all the time the slaves lived in fear so that at no time could the make a decision against them. One strategy that they used in ensuring that the slaves feared was that they kept on increasing the penalties for punishing slaves.
The slaves were denied rights of practicing the religion of their fore fathers and most of the masters had a view that the religion of slaves for example the African slave's religion was associated with witchcraft and superstition. Since most of the slaves had strong beliefs in their culture denying them a chance to perform their tradition was a huge setback to many of their activities hence lost hope in life.
The working conditions that slaves were exposed to were very poor, had poor clothing and housing and were as well poorly fed. When working and due to the fear of being punished slaves ensured that they worked to a level that could help them avoid punishment. Slaves in United States underwent numerous problems that they were subjected to by their masters.