What Is The Role Of Slavery In The 19th Century

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During the nineteenth century, America faced what is considered to be one of the most gruesome times in today’s history. Because of slavery in the South and the effects of the Civil War, people in today’s society recognize this time period as one many would avoid discussing. According to Stephen V. Ash, “Southern Slavery was a harsh system —cruel is a better word—that was now and then tampered by acts of kindness on the part of paternalistic whites” (xv). Although there were a small amount of slave owners who were kindhearted, the majority of the South was dominated by slave holders who believed in white supremacy. Ultimately, because many slaves endured extremely callous experiences through forced marriages, repressed education, and revolting living conditions, slave owners were able to create a suppressive atmosphere for slaves during…show more content…
In the beginning of slavery, slaveholders used the Africans as a tool to help with the establishment of the different colonies. However, as slavery progressed over time, numerous slaveholders in the South began to view slavery as a social status symbol, believing that “enslaving blacks was necessary and proper” (Ash 1). For this reason, many slave owners encouraged the idea of marriage among the slaves. Therefore, by creating a false sense of justification for the enslavement of Africans, white Southerners were also able to maintain a clear conscience while participating in such heinous acts. One example that exemplifies this point is through Solomon Northup’s personal account of slavery in his bibliography Twelve Years A Slave: “Marriage is frequently contracted during the holidays, if such an institution may be said to exist
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