Paternalism In Slavery

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instincts, giving them little room to think independently. Elkins defines this submissive, childlike quality as a “Sambo” slave, which only existed in the American south that ultimately upheld the traditional belief of American slave culture. He described “Sambos” as “a society of helpless dependents,” therefore enforcing the ideals of the paternalistic system surrounding slavery. Elkins portrayed this deep dependence the slave had on the owner due to psychological and physical abuse ultimately brought upon from the closed system. Genovese portrayed the institution of American slavery in an entirely new light, arguing that slaves were hardly docile or submissive; rather they manipulated the paternalistic system in order to form their own culture, The slaves went along with the demands of the slave owner’s ideals of paternalism and in return were able to manipulate the system to create their own culture within the plantation, therefore using accommodation as a tool of resistance and revolting. Many slave owners often saw religion as a form of “social control” and feared those without religion. While the masters believed they were in control, the slaves used Christianity as a sense of hope, community and equality. The slaves combined Christianity and African traditions, and emphasized the ideal of “the irrepressible affirmation of life” meaning they never let the world around them affect their joy in life. This helped many slaves get through life, create their own identity, and deal with the life they were given. The slaves molded their beliefs, therefore creating a religion of resistance and defiance. The strong unity of religion brought the slave community closer, therefore aiding them in the creation of culture, family life and traditions on the

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