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Analysis Of My Bondage And My Freedom By Frederick Douglass

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Men and women from Africa were brought to the New World during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, were they constituted an involuntary form of human servitude better known as slavery. The Virginia colony originally received the first African slaves to work on the fields and help with the economy of the new nation. Slavery spread throughout the American colonies after the first Africans were brought to Jamestown. European settlers viewed African slaves as a more economical and inexpensive labor source than the transportation of white indentured servants. Chiefly, African slaves were located in the southern colonies, where they were compelled to provide labor on sugar, tobacco and rice plantations. Frederick Douglass, who was born into…show more content…
Frederick Douglass illustrates in “My Bondage and My Freedom” how slaves were psychologically and socially oppressed. From the beginning of the life of the slave, he and/or she, is psychologically manipulated to believe that slaves belong to an inferior class of humans. Frederick Douglass explains how people of African heritage were denied the knowledge of their descent, and how he never met a slave who could tell their age, birthdate, or ancestors. The lineage of a person is one important aspect of their lives but slaves are deprived of their ancestry to convince them that they are not worth as human beings. “The practice of separating children from their mother, …is in harmony with the grand aim of slavery, which, always and everywhere, is to reduce man to a level with the brute” (Douglass 24). Slaves are denied of their family, they are separated from their mothers from a very young age as if they were animals. Slaves were seen as having one sole purpose and that was to function as an instrument of production. Slaves in this period of American history were victimized by their owners by denying them their natural rights and stripping them off their…show more content…
Slaveholders were expected to treat slaves as something less than human, which drove slave owners to enforce cruel and barbaric reprimands toward slaves. Frederick Douglass argues that slavery manipulates a person’s identity, mainly because of social expectations. There were rules and laws to abide to in regard of slaves; among the primary issues, slaves had no purpose in having the ability to read or write, while Douglass was being taught by an oblivious Mrs. Auld. Douglass’ mistress, had never owned a slave before Douglass, because of this, Mrs. Auld was not aware of how she was expected to treat a slave. Frederick Douglass relates how kindly and goodhearted Mrs. Auld was before her husband taught her the “correct” manner of treating a slave. “I have had her rush at me, with the utmost fury, and snatch from my hand such newspaper or book, with something of the wrath and consternation which a traitor might be supposed to feel on being discovered in a plot by some dangerous spy” (Douglass 101). The system of slavery corrupted the good-natured character of the slave owners because it is an institution based on unnatural values that is only accepted because of the immoral social justifications of this time period in American history and
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