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Runaway Slaves: Rebels on a Plantation

Powerful Essays
1. What is the book’s theme (the subject of the book)?

The book’s theme is about how runaways had a huge effect on the institution on slavery. Runaways is equal to losing your property, so it would be in the slave master’s best interest to make sure his slaves don’t flee the plantation or at least be able to retrieve them if they found a way to sneak off. Since there were a percentage of slaves who seemed to be submissive, some of them were the main ones who plotted for their escape. You cannot assume that the more hostile slaves would leave because even though they were hard to be broken, some of them simply were not runaways. Also, Franklin analyzes the motives that caused runaways to leave the plantations causing the overseers great trouble. Runaways were not good in the slaveholder business, and it means a loss of profit for the slave master if they were never returned. Some slaves were determined to be free, even at the expense of their own lives. Franklin describes the different ways of how slaves would try to escape, and the main reasons why they were not submissive to the system or content with their condition of having security from their slave master.

2. What is the book’s thesis (the author’s main argument or interpretation of the theme)?

The book’s thesis is that the overseers and slave masters had a difficult time of managing slaves on the plantations. According to Franklin, slaves were very resistant to slavery and bondage, and some slaves would not stop trying to runaway despite the consequences. Franklin states, “The tensions, conflicts, and often violent confrontations between master and servant, or overseer and slave, have received less attention.”(2) White southerners refused to admit that slaves could n...

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... would not recommend this book to others.

I would recommend Runaway Slaves to others because it literally has every reason or cause that a slave would run away; some you would never even expect or think of. The book broadens your view of slavery and shows you every opportunity a slave had to escape to the promise land; they would take it. Also, the book shows how whites viewed and feared runaways, and how the slavery institution retaliated to this ultimate form of resistance. The letters from free slaves are very heart felt because after they spent time actually enjoying their freedom, it gives you an understanding of how content and blessed they felt after being free which really made them appreciate their freedom more than any other born free man. Also, they had to carry the burden and guilt that their kin were still held in bondage and may never taste freedom.
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