Like most southern slave owners Thomas Auld was a cruel master who always disciplined his slaves for their wrong doings. He was a cowardly man because he didn’t have the ability or courage to properly hold slaves, but “he found himself incapable of managing his slaves either by force, fear, or fraud” (pg. 380). Auld was a merciless man that worked the slaves to the limit and barely gave them enough to eat. Douglass mentioned how often slaves stole food in order to survive and to prevent from becoming ill. “We were therefore reduced to the wretched necessity of living at the expense of out neighbors.
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.
A Stand against Slavery What is slavery? Is slavery a tragedy with some advantages for certain folks or an overall disturbing event? Slavery was an event that occurred based on ones beliefs of superiority and lack of workers. Using Africans to cater to their every need, Caucasians, and many other races, unfortunately believed that Africans was here to serve one purpose, to execute their requests. Completely disregarding their necessities and desires, slave masters put slaves through long hours of work without payment and a scarce serving of food.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass written by Frederick Douglass and edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. described how slaves in the U.S were treated before the American Civil War. The cruelties that these slaves faced every day were beyond what all of us would expected. They were abused with force and starvation by their masters and overseers, additionally they were also being suppressed by their owners, intellectually and economically. Many of us think of slavery as an act of confinement and denying a person of his/her freedom. However, American slavery is way worst than that.
These sorts of incidents happened to slaves throughout America and permanently scarred most slaves and their families. Slave owners not only broke slave families up, but they also tried to keep all the slaves illiterate. In the book slave owners thought, "A nigger should know nothing but to obey his master-to do as he is told to do. Learning would spoil the best nigger in the world. If you teach a slave how to read, they would become unmangeable and have no value to his master."
Harriet Jacobs’ memoir explained the life of a slave, as property, held no rights and after they escaped to the northern states, lots of them were still persecuted and were brought back to the south. Slaves were described by the laws as property therefore could not own property and many lost the opportunity to gain the freedom of their family members. Fugitives in the Free States were vulnerable of being claimed by their owners in the south. Slaves lacked basic human rights and could not defend themselves from punishment or sexual harassment from their owners. Fugitives in the northern states would encounter segregation and constant persecution from slave holders and kidnappers therefore African American could not resist
There are many causes for revolts. Usually they stem from a general miss-use of the population by a governing body. So, general causes could range from high taxes and property seizure to military conscription and slave labour. The main concern of the white plantation owners was to extract the greatest amount of labour from the slaves. Little effort was ever made to improve the wretched and degrading living conditions under which they were forced to live and also the harsh treatment and brutal punishments inflicted on them by their owners.
Douglass is clearly suffering from the knowledge he gains because it leads him to be estranged and makes him often want to end his own life. This is not a good practice for anyone in life for the reason that life is precious and it should never be taken for granted. Before Douglass learns how to read, he was content with his condition as a slave, but this proved a cruel incident that occurred in his life by making him
The racism towards the African Americans who were slaves was at its extreme as they did not have any rights; no civil nor political rights. The conditions were worse for the slaves, and they decided to resist in order to free themselves from the slavery institution. African slaves used various strategies of resistance to slavery. According to Hine, Hine, and Harrold (66), “such resistance ranged from shirking assigned work to sabotage, escape and rebellion”. African American slaves had three forms of resistance against slavery which were; escaping, day-to-days acts and rebellion against their masters.
Slavery: The Double-Edged Sword To be black is to be naturally inferior; this was the mindset of the American South in the beginning of the 19th century. African Americans were confined to slavery with no means to change their situation or to escape the abuse that often accompanied their position. Slaves endured all forms of physical and mental punishment whose sole purpose was to keep them inferior to their white suppressors. Slaves were maintained through ignorance; they had their self-identity stolen from them and were kept illiterate to prevent them from questioning what power kept them oppressed and to prevent them from spreading word of the brutalities they faced. To be a slave meant to live a doomed life.