Slave owners and traders have had an important part in history, but not a lot of people have considered the parts they play and how different they may be. The most obvious similarity between the two is their eyes for profit. The slave business was a very practical and profitable business in the 1600-1800’s. The men that entered this business did it for profit. Despite this similarity, there were a number of things that the two did not share, status being one. Another being that they had a completely different need of the slaves they dealt with. The final difference is that the slave owners paid for their slaves and the slave traders took the slaves and sold them to the owners. There are a few people that discuss the differences and similarities between traders and owners: Howard Zinn is the main person that discusses this topic in his work A People’s History of the United States, but W.E.B. Du Bois also discusses it in his work, A Black Reconstruction. The owners and traders were similar when it came to profit, but differed in class, occupation, and how they treated the slaves.
Slave traders and owners share a major goal, profit. Slave owners intend to gain this profit from working their slaves. Researcher Howard Zinn shows this by stating, “Slavery was immensely profitable to some master. James Madison told a British visitor shortly after the American Revolution that he could make $257 on every Negro in a year and only $12 or $13 on his keep”(33). Madison could earn back the money he spent on his slaves relatively quickly by putting the slaves he purchased to work and earn off their labor. This is similar to how traders think about slaves. The traders make the journey to...
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...rior to the class that owners had just begun to establish. In class, the owners and traders were very different but they differed in what they needed the slaves for. Slave owners needed slaves to survive and grow crops so they could earn a profit from the land they acquired. The slave traders ,on the other hand, did not need slaves to survive they needed them so they could sell them and gain wealth for themselves. Another area that the slave owners and traders differed in was the treatment of the slaves. Slave traders treated slaves with no compassion or care; they just wanted the profit that it would bring them. While slave owners needed to make sure that the slave’s basic needs, food, and shelter, were taken care of. The slave owners and traders are extremely different and the differences between the two need to be established because they are not the same people.
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