November 14, 2014
Slaves—Property or Human Beings?
Harriet Beecher Stowe writes Uncle Tom’s Cabin to showcase people’s various attitudes toward slavery. Individuals and groups within particular regions of the United States regard slavery differently, depending upon prevailing opinions, as well as their own upbringing. The reader is exposed to viewpoints ranging from those of disinterested onlookers to slaves in shocking situations. She uses the North to symbolize freedom from slavery and the South to symbolize suppression of human beings (Hood 52). She transports characters in the book from the relatively neutral state of Kentucky, northward or southward, so that they encounter changes in attitudes and practices with distance.
The author implies that Mr. Shelby’s attitude toward slaves is that of a privileged land owner who has always lived well and has no need to be a harsh master. His attitude is fairly typical of slave owners in the Border States where servants are more of a convenience than a necessity (Moore 16). Even though Mr. Shelby is kind to his slaves, he is selfish to the point of sacrificing Tom’s welfare for his own well-being, when pushed to the brink of financial ruin (Hada 177-79). He does not want to inconvenience his wife, because he is afraid of her reaction to change.
The farther north Eliza goes in her flight toward Canada, the more sympathy she encounters. The author impresses upon her audience that North means toward freedom, even though a captured runaway slave must be returned to the rightful owner, according to law (Hood 52; Brophy 111-12). Harriet Beecher Stowe wants to encourage readers to help slaves escape from the cruelties of bondage (Hagood 75). Every ...
... middle of paper ...
...at his slaves will work hard on his farm. He sees threatening slaves with brutal beatings as the means to keep him in control of his slaves. He sees Tom as a potential agitator whom he must break. Legree does not know how to deal with someone who is not afraid of him, no matter how cruel the slave master becomes.
Mrs. Stowe gives insight into human character, showing the effects of origin, education, social status, religion, and everyday happenings. By so doing, she hopes to sow the seeds for the eventual abolition of slavery in this country (Hagood 75). The widely read book brings attention to the political issues resulting from the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Readers’ reactions are often volatile, depending upon their backgrounds and motivations. The book continues to be read by those who seek understanding of slavery prior to the Civil War.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In “Slaves and the ‘Commerce’ of the Slave Trade,” Walter Johnson describes the main form of antebellum, or pre-Civil War, slavery in the South being in the slave market through domestic, or internal, slave trade. The slave trade involves the chattel principle, which said that slaves are comparable to chattels, personal property that is movable and can be bought or sold. Johnson identified the chattel principle as being central to the emergence and expansion of slavery, as it meant that slaves were considered inferior to everyone else.... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
2347 words (6.7 pages)
- The abuse and harsh treatment that slaves received from their masters, was left hidden. Due to that slaves didn’t have any legal rights to protect them and no voice that could be taken seriously. They could not go and complain to court and build a trial, to receive justice. They had no protection at all, but only the protection the slave community gave to each other. They acquired skills “needed to protect themselves and their loved ones from a brutal slave system” (Hine 159). Through, folktales the slave learned skills which were “watch what they said to white people, not to talk back, to withhold information about other African Americans, and to dissemble” (Hine 159).... [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade]
941 words (2.7 pages)
- To own a slave, or not to own a slave. Slavery is an institution that allows people with enough money to purchase other people as their own property that can be traded, bought or even murdered. The slaves have no say in anything that goes on within this system. While the slave owner is in possession of their slave they have every right to squeeze as much productivity as possible out of them without having to pay them. The slave codes were laws in each state that elaborated on the status of the slave which gave the owner complete control over the slave and can decide if he lives or dies.... [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]
1101 words (3.1 pages)
- In Fredrick Douglass’ narrative of his own life he makes known his difficulty in receiving an education, something we take for granted today. He goes on to restate a conversation between his master and mistress: “Learning would spoil the best negro in the world. Now, if you teach that negro…how to read, there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave. He would become unmanageable, and of no value to his master. As to himself, it could do him no good, but a great deal of harm.” (Douglass 41) One educated slave poses an immense threat upon the act of enslavement and those who enslave.... [tags: liberation, power, rebellion]
783 words (2.2 pages)
- According to Merriam Webster, the definition of human trafficking is “organized criminal activity in which human beings are being treated as possessions to be controlled and exploited.” Human trafficking is a global problem that is happening somewhere in the world as of right now. The government should make an international police agency to combat human trafficking and bring awareness to the horrible events before one can be trafficked. Human trafficking is a major issue around the world and it deserves so much more attention than it is receiving.... [tags: Human trafficking, Prostitution, Police, Human]
1263 words (3.6 pages)
- Human Trafficking is a horrendous crime that takes advantage of people through the illegal trading of human beings for purposes of forced labor, and commercial sexual/child exploitation. Traffickers tend to prey on the vulnerable, those who want a better life, have little or no employment opportunities, very unstable, and have a history of sexual abuse. With this being popular in society, anyone can easily become a victim. By being an undocumented immigrant, runaway and homeless youth, and a victim of trauma and abuse, you have already put a target on your back.... [tags: Human Trafficking Essays]
1021 words (2.9 pages)
- The two classic books that I read were very inspiring and interesting. They are both widely known books that have impacted people’s lives and views on various subjects greatly. These two books that are known worldwide are Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. Uncle Tom’s Cabin revolves mainly around the aspect of slavery and how slaves were treated unfairly. We learn about how slavery was once lawful in our country, the United States of America, and how our government punished people who helped fugitive slaves escape.... [tags: slaves, unfairly, orphans, society, writing]
622 words (1.8 pages)
- The Search For Throughout history, there has been a struggle for equality and justice. The oppression that African Americans have received throughout the generational period in which they first arrived in America has continued to be a raging war. Article I, Section 8 of the American Constitution enabled Congress to have certain rights and authorities over the laws. In the evaluation of the 1700s, 1800s, 1950s, and 1990s, the prolific effects can be seen through specific Congressional Acts. Between 1775 and 1783, the American Revolutionary war was won and America was able to declare their freedom from the British rule.... [tags: black code, slaves, equality, justice]
1052 words (3 pages)
- The Underground Railroad was a pathway that allowed many slaves to escape bondage. Traditionally, the Underground Railroad is taught as being a pathway that only led towards the northern part of the United States. For slaves in the Deep South, including states such as South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, the Underground Railroad running North was almost unreachable. With fewer obstacles to tackle, a slave of the Deep South could escape to Mexico. Due to its distance from free states in the North and British Canada, the Deep South is not usually a part of discussions of the Underground Railroad.... [tags: Mexican Federal Law, Fugitive Slaves]
1232 words (3.5 pages)
- Nothing in life is guaranteed, but there is one thing that we all expect to receive throughout our lifetime. Every human demands to be treated equally in the same manner as the person next to them. This general consensus of modern day was not the norm throughout the history of America. No matter how much we try not to look back upon our obtuse behavior towards particular ethnic groups, what took place cannot be undone. The only positive effect that can be derived from the past is to learn from these mistakes.... [tags: essays research papers]
1307 words (3.7 pages)