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Questions tagged [slavery]

The system in which some people (slaves) are a property of other people (masters) and are forced by them to perform work.

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85
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2answers
14k views

How did people distinguish slaves from free people in Ancient Rome?

I've tried to find some information about it, but failed. Let's say there is an educated slave living in a relatively rich household of Rome. What would prevent him from fleeing, going to some smaller ...
63
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3answers
17k views

Did slaves have slaves?

Was there anywhere in history where the enslaved were able to enslave others? Was there a slave hierarchy? I read the slavery wikipedia entry, it mentions that in various cultures people retained ...
57
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11answers
16k views

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Stefan Molyneux claims in The Truth About The Crusades that: Islam dominated slave trade between the 7th and the 15th century, while the Christians entered the market of human flesh much later - ...
51
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1answer
9k views

In ancient Rome, could free-born Romans become slaves?

In the article Roman Slavery, Kenneth Tuite of the Classics Department at the University of Maryland states quite categorically that Romans could not be slaves: Although a class system existed, ...
48
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2answers
9k views

Was murdering a slave illegal in American slavery, and if so, what punishments were given for it?

Was there any punishment for killing slaves, and what punishment was given for it, and was it enforced?
43
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7answers
7k views

When and how did people begin to consider slavery immoral?

Consider this: In the ancient world, murder and theft were prohibited. However, slavery was ubiquitous and considered normal. AFAIK, nobody thought of it as immoral, though probably some called for ...
43
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5answers
7k views

What did the Emancipation Proclamation exactly do?

I'm a bit confused about what Lincoln's proclamation did exactly. It's thought by some the Emancipation Proclamation gave all slaves the status of free. However from reading the introduction of the ...
34
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5answers
5k views

Was slavery really on the way out in the antebellum USA?

Gail Jarvis, in an encomium to the Dunning School writes: William A. Dunning fervently opposed slavery but his reading of the trends of the times led him to the conclusion that the institution ...
33
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4answers
2k views

Was slavery in the United States legally limited to blacks?

Was slavery legally exclusive to race? That is, could blacks and only blacks in the United States be considered slaves under the law? As an example, if an owner were to import into the United States ...
32
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3answers
17k views

Is it true that there are more slaves in the world now than ever at one point in history?

I recently heard this suggested. My understanding of slavery today is: children slave labor the sex slavery world epidemic the promised citizenry in the Middle East to workers who come to build ...
31
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9answers
6k views

Did anyone in ancient times want to abolish slavery?

Did anyone in ancient times (let's say, up to 500 AD) want to abolish slavery, or even acknowledge the possibility that society could somehow work without it? I remember hearing once that Aristotle ...
29
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4answers
6k views

Why was sugar cultivation more profitable in the Caribbean/Brazil than West Africa?

The Atlantic slave trade involved the large-scale deportation of West African slaves to sugar plantations on the other side of the Atlantic. Why was it more profitable to do that, rather than to ...
27
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1answer
407 views

Relation between Afroamerican religions and colonial metropoles?

In most of Brazil, Afroamerican religion is Candomblé, which is rooted in Yoruba traditional religion, with influences of Angola-Congo traditions. The main exception is the Northeastern state of ...
26
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2answers
5k views

Has chattel slavery ever been used as a criminal punishment in the USA since the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment?

The Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution provides (my emphasis): Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Are there records of US slaves who practiced Islam following their import from Africa?

Islam has historically been prevalent in many regions of Africa, such as in the Songhai Empire, which was based around Sharia law. It seems plausible to me that some Africans were practitioners of ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Did Catherine the Great really call for the abolition of serfdom?

... like Catherine the Great S01E01 (2019) shows? This would be almost a century before serfdom was actually abolished, and makes one wonder why the Czars didn't just do it, if they were in favor of ...
24
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3answers
7k views

Was Roosevelt the “biggest slave trader in recorded history”?

In the introduction to The Liberation of the Serfs, Jürgen Georg Backhaus writes: The largest transaction in unfree labour ever recorded occurred in Yalta; more than 6.5 million prisoners of war ...
23
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4answers
3k views

When was the last documented occasion that Arab or Ottoman slave traders abducted people from Europe?

According to Wikipedia, slave raids continued on a small scale until the 19th century. When was the last time slaves were taken from Europe? Edit: to be clear, I'm talking about slavery in the ...
21
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6answers
5k views

How compare the rights and conditions of the American slaves to those of Russian serfs?

How compare the rights and conditions of the 19-th century American slaves to those of the 19-th century Russian serfs?
21
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1answer
6k views

Did galley captains put corks in the mouths of slave rowers to keep them quiet?

I’m reading Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow and there’s this bit about rowers in galleys of the Knights of St. John (Malta). In the story, it is important the Knights' galley keeps silence so that ...
21
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3answers
2k views

Which was the first civilization to ban slavery?

Which was the first civilization to ban existing slavery with a law? For example, if Civilization X never had slavery and it makes a law banning it, it won't count for this purposes. I've looked ...
21
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2answers
5k views

When was slavery abolished in Russia?

It is usually agreed that the Russian serfdom which was abolished in the mid-19th century originated in the 16th century as a form of martial law needed for armed campaigns and was especially ...
20
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5answers
5k views

In ancient Rome, did a lot of people feel guilty about owning slaves?

Do we have historical evidence which shows whether significant number of people felt guilty about owning (without necessarily abusing) slaves in the ancient Roman era, e.g. 1-2 century AD?
20
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6answers
6k views

What kind of labor was used to build the Egyptian pyramids?

Most people believe the pyramids were built with slave labor (or at least it seems that way). This notion is perpetuated by movies; the building of the pyramids often evokes images of ancient ...
20
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2answers
4k views

What would a Roman slave be legally required to do if his master vanished?

Say that I were a Roman slave around the time of the Empire, perhaps as someone who maintains his villa. I serve my master faithfully and then one day, without warning, he doesn't come home. The day ...
19
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7answers
18k views

Were slave rowers ever chained to the ship?

UPDATE I want to know whether there is any evidence that rowers were ever chained to the ships or oars in Ancient Greece and Rome. In my view it could be too expensive to chain people at that time, ...
19
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2answers
1k views

Why was the area now known as Liberia chosen as the location for repatriation of African slaves in the US?

The American Colonization Society thought that colonizing Africa for the purpose of returning US slaves to Africa was the solution to slavery problems. Why, and how, did they come to decide that the ...
17
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4answers
57k views

What other countries besides the US participated in keeping African slaves?

The question is pretty much in the title, but I am really seeking countries which kept slaves around the same time the US did, and where it was just as prominent in said country as it was in the US.
16
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4answers
2k views

Where can I find a personal account of freedom of a slave in America after 1863

The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared free all slaves in the Confederacy. In 1865 the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the whole country. I am familiar with the context. What I am ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Did the Bill of Rights apply to slaves?

In the pre-Antebellum particularly during the 1850's did slaves and free blacks have rights? Or even citizenship perhaps?
16
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1answer
1k views

Preventing slaves from running off in Classical Greece

I was once again reading the Old Oligach’s rant on slaves and how good they supposedly had it. if it were customary for a slave (or metic or freedman) to be struck by one who is free, you would ...
16
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2answers
4k views

Was slave labor used in rebuilding the White House?

Michelle Obama recently gave a graduation address in which she said. every single day ... I wake up in a house that was built by slaves While slave labor was used in building the white house, that ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Were myopic slaves more valuable in ancient Greece?

When reading on nearsightedness I came across the following passage: We only have to remember how valuable a myopic slave was in ancient Greece, as a rare person who preserved his ability to read ...
15
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1answer
1k views

What (primary) sources are there on the life of female slaves in Classical Greece, more specifically Athens?

Since there was often a difference in what jobs male and female slaves were respectively made to work in (and there even being one exclusive to women, being a wet nurse), I was wondering whether, for ...
15
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1answer
1k views

What status and rights did a Roman freedwoman have?

When a slave was freed by a Roman citizen, he became a Roman citizen himself, although with certain legal disabilities: eg, he could not stand for public office, he could not join the army, and was ...
14
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6answers
4k views

Were slave armies used?

In both fantasy and science fiction, from books, movies, games and tv shows, slave armies are a concept that is used pretty often. A well known example of this is the Unsullied from Game of Thrones. ...
14
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3answers
15k views

Early attempts to abolish slavery in USA

Were there any early attempts or debates to abolish slavery in the USA, before Lincoln?
14
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1answer
753 views

Did ancient Rome have slave hunters?

The Roman economy was heavily reliant on slaves, which means they had a LOT of them, which would lead one to conclude that at least some of them would run away. So who hunted escaped slaves? Did Rome ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Was the Somerset Decision in 1772 in England the real underlying cause of the American Revolutionary war?

I had a discussion with a Brit the other day and naturally the topic drifted to our historic break from the UK in 1776 and I boasted of our noble fight for liberation and freedom. The Brit was amused ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Is it true that slavery was banned from discussion on the Senate and/or House floor before the American Civil War?

In one of the latter years of my undergraduate program I read/heard from one of my classes that discussing the slave trade/slavery on either the Senate and/or House floor (I forget which) was banned. ...
13
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3answers
15k views

Is there any truth to the claim that freed slaves who moved to Liberia enslaved the local population?

This claim was made in a documentary I saw on youtube called 'The Cannibal Warlords of Liberia' at about 1:22, as well as on the blog BloggingWithoutMaps I can't find strong sources to back this ...
13
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3answers
2k views

Was there a movement for “humane” slavery?

Many of us are familiar with the movements for "free-range" or "humane" animal products. I have heard that in the antebellum US there were similar movements for "humane" slave products. Is this true? ...
12
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3answers
9k views

What portion of Northerners were against slavery for humanitarian reasons in 1860 America?

In a Civil war History class, I heard that the percentage of people who favored the abolition of slavery was quite low in the North. Furthermore I understand that, at the time, some of the main ...
12
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1answer
585 views

Was the European slave market in the East during the colonial era similar to the transatlantic slave market? If not (less brutal, etc), why?

As far as I understand it, European colonialist powers did have a slave market in the East, in the Indian Ocean. That is, there was this market as well as the Transatlantic slave market[1-3]. What I ...
11
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3answers
18k views

Jewish Slave Owners in the United States

David Duke has a video on YouTube about Jewish participation in various slave trades in Western history. At the 7:40 mark he states: In the pre-Civil War United States 2% of white gentile ...
11
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2answers
422 views

What can be said about conditions of slaves owned by George Washington?

I remember hearing a PBS documentary make a claim that the babies of slaves on George Washington's Mount Vernon went naked in winter. I have been trying to verify, or even get a good citation, for ...
11
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1answer
724 views

For how long were freed slaves in Ancient Rome supposed to wear a Pileus hat?

The Pileus hat article on Wikipedia says that in Ancient Rome, when a slave was freed, there was a ceremony in which his head was shaved and a pileus "was placed upon it". In the SE question: How did ...
10
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2answers
1k views

What was the impetus for some African nations to participate in the slave trade?

I know that some African nations participated in the slave trade by providing captured enemies as slaves to Europeans, but what are some of the reasons they did? Was it simply a new economic ...
10
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1answer
2k views

What degree of choice did slaves have over their sexual autonomy?

What degree of choice did chattel slaves in the United States of America1have over their sexual autonomy? Was this codified in any law? 1. Assuming scope is the USA, given the source of the Roots TV ...
10
votes
1answer
981 views

Why was Kentucky not admitted to the Union in 1789?

At the beginning of July 1788, the unicameral Congress of the Confederation began deliberations on whether to admit the proposed new state of Kentucky to the Union. Under the Articles of Confederation,...