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Creating Slave Laws

Better Essays
The institution of slavery is a black mark on the record of Americans. Marking a time of hate and racism, an oppression spurred by fear that would plague our nation for decades upon decades. An Act for the Better Order and Government of Negroes and Slaves, and Conflicts between Masters and Slaves: Maryland in the Mid-Seventeenth Century, illustrate the dismay and panic European Colonials endured as they enslaved Africans. This dismay and panic generated laws to be established that further widened the gap between Europeans and Africans, stripping the Africans of any legal rights. The dismay and panic concerned loosing a valuable economic pawn.
The first piece, An Act for Better Ordinance, clearly portrays the attitude of the majority of White Europeans. "Whereaes the plantations and estates of this Province cannot be well and sufficiently manages and brought into use, without the labor and service of negroes and other slaves [i.e., Indians]; and forasmuch as the said negroes and other slaves brought unto the people of this Province for that purpose, are barbarous, wild, savage natures, and such as renders them wholly unqualified to be governed by the laws, customs, and practices of this Province; but that is absolutely necessary."1 The white men of the time felt that their superiority was deemed by a higher power, why else would their skin tones be so drastically different. Racist views of these 'savage' men created fear. With the growing number of slaves, they had to be stripped of everything to prevent anarchy, as the white men could not envision a world without slave labor. The white men rationalized that slaves will escape. To prevent this one must allow them nothing beyond the plantation they were running from. The white men turn to government. "And for the better security of all such persons that shall endeavor to take any run-away, or shall examine any slave for his ticket, passing to and from his master's plantation, it is hereby declared lawful for any white person to beat, maim or assault, and if such negro or slave cannot otherwise be taken, to kill him, who shall refuse to shew his ticket, or, by running away or resistance, shall endeavor to avoid being apprehended or taken."2 White men had granted themselves a license to kill Africans whose desire for freedom was too strong.
Likewise, the second piece, Conflicts between Maste...

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...ord/St. Martin’s, 1999), 48.

5. The Early America Review, Charles P.M. Outwin, “Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625-1791. pg 7. Available http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/winter96/slavery.html

6. The Early America Review, Charles P.M. Outwin, “Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625-1791. pg 7. Available http://www.earlyamerica.com/review/winter96/slavery.html
7. Journal of Black Studies, Joyce Tang, “Enslaved African Rebellions in Virginia,” pg 2 May 1997, v 27, n, p598. Available http://bess.fcla.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~fcliac/cgi2iac/UF?RI19998103

8. Journal of Black Studies, Joyce Tang, “Enslaved African Rebellions in Virginia,” pg 3 May 1997, v 27, n, p598. Available http://bess.fcla.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~fcliac/cgi2iac/UF?RI19998103

9. Journal of Black Studies, Joyce Tang, “Enslaved African Rebellions in Virginia,” pg 4 May 1997, v 27, n, p598. Available http://bess.fcla.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~fcliac/cgi2iac/UF?RI19998103
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