A slave is a person who conforms to any form of power or one who is bound to a certain influence of another person. A slave is usually treated as a property and is forced to comply without resistance to the influence of his/her masters. Slavery is a common phenomenon in all spheres of life because man will always find himself entangled in various forms of slavery including drug abuse, lust, and religion among other influences. However, people all over the world have also found themselves being forced to work or serve others without their will and this also amounts to slavery. This essay seeks to analyze and shed light to slavery and also explain the value of historical diary entries and what can be learned from these diaries. Furthermore, the essay will focus on the various groups of slaves in America in particular the rural slaves, plantation masters, and abolitionists. In addition, it will seek to establish how slavery affected the victims and the whole institution and, finally, whether slaves were active or passive in their response to slavery.
Slavery in America affected the victims in different ways and this in return determined their response to the way they were treated. For instance, according to Herbert S. Klein, in African slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean most of the rural slaves were used to perform domestic duties and were settled in farms by their agriculturalist masters. In addition, the slaves would be subjected to some hazardous working environment such as working in mining enterprises. Klein also argues that the majority of rural slaves had less or no skills at all and for this reason they were less paid in comparison to the urban slaves who were skilled and were more liberalized than rural slaves. Klein also records that urban slaves had greater chances to earn an income compared to the rural slaves (Klein, 1998, p. 229). The bad relationship between the slaves who worked in plantations and the plantation masters led to diseases and deaths of slaves. These deaths resulted from failure of plantation masters to provide good treatment to slaves in case of disease outbreak and the quality of treatment offered if any because it is in record that the whites received better treatment than the Negroes (Leavitt, 1997).
However, although we can appreciate the fact that the slaves were treated unfairly, we realize that the slaves also played quite a substantial role in their slavery and the treatment they received. For instance, Sandra Rae Joshel states in her book Slavery in the Roman World that slaves would sneak from their estates to visit the neighboring estates or go to town and this did not go well with the way they related with plantation masters. In addition, some slaves deliberately displayed laxity in the way they worked and sometimes pretended to be sick so as to be relived off their duties. Sandra adds that some slaves also misappropriated the products of their labor by stealing some produce from the stores (Joshel, 2010). For these reasons among others which also include the rebellion portrayed by the slaves in the quest for their freedom, it can clearly be noted that the slaves were active in response to the slavery. The abolitionists, for example, were actively fighting against the government on the matters pertaining to the slave trade as recorded by Robert Edgar Conrad in the destruction of Brazilian slavery, 1850-1888. Robert argues that the abolitionists reacted ruthlessly whenever the government wished to open a port which would allow for slaves to be exported (Conrad, 1972).
Many forms of slavery have always existed all over the world but this essay focused on the slavery witnessed in America including the roles played by the rural slaves, plantation masters and also abolitionists and whether each group were in any way active or passive in their response to slavery.