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Hot answers tagged

84

Yes, murder of a slave was illegal in the antebellum South, and it was a capital offence. An example is the case of John Hoover of North Carolina. He was arrested on 28 March 1839 for the murder of one of his slaves named Mira. He was brought to trial on 12 September 1839 before a jury of his peers (i.e. 12 male slaveholders). At his trial, it was ...


80

Let's start with some basic facts. There are more people in the world today than ever before in human history. Because of 1) there are more poor people in the world than for most of human history, even though the percentage is falling. Some percentage of desperately poor people work under inhuman conditions that many "civilized" people would characterized ...


74

Africa Slavery is an ancient universal institution, which appeared independently in all cultures and societies which reached a certain level of productivity per capita. Early hunter-gatherers did not have it because each tribe member could barely sustain himself, so there was no incentive for slavery, but agriculture provided ample opportunities to exploit ...


62

This happened in Roman Times judging by two notes in Slaves doing business: the role of Roman law in the economy of a Roman household by Richard Gamauf (2009): A Roman slave could hold property which, despite the fact that it belonged to his master, he was allowed to use as if it were his own. All acquisitions based on such a peculium were automatically ...


54

There are examples of slaves owning slaves from different historical periods and in different regions of the world, including: Ancient Near East Early Medieval Sunni Islam Late Medieval Mallorca 19th century Brazil and the West Indies Pre-colonial and colonial East and West Africa Ancient Near East During the Neo-Babylonian empire (at least) the answer ...


50

That is for sure an overgeneralisation, but so is Wikipedia's. There are some elements of truth in both: Ancient Rome held that freedom could not be sold, and in principle a freeborn person could not become a slave. [F]reedom was, like servitude, conceptusliased as a natural state. Thus, it was in principle, if not quite in practice, impossible to ...


48

Well, I suppose it's a matter of means plus motivation. If you're educated - read/speak Greek and Latin etc - then you'd be valuable, and only the psychopathic master would mistreat a valuable peice of property. And you'd need money to get away - some slaves were relatively wealthy, but stealing from your master would be dangerous, the penalties could ...


46

Yes, but for fixed periods of (for example) six months or 1 or 2 years rather than for life. This section of the 13th Amendment, ratified on the 6th of December, 1865, was controversial from the outset. Slavery Under the Thirteenth Amendment: Race and the Law of Crime and Punishment in the PostCivil War South by Peter Wallenstein in the Louisiana Law Review (...


45

There is some very good evidence for captured Muslims who were sold as slaves, but continued to practice their faith. Perhaps the best known individuals were Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, who was enslaved in the eighteenth century and Omar ibn Said who was transported to the US in 1807. Like many Muslims who were enslaved and transported to America as slaves, ...


44

No, slavery was not on its way out. Historians like Dunning and Phillip are writing half a century before the cliometric revolution in economic history, which has completely changed how we view this question. Fogel and Engerman's 1974 "Time on the Cross" was quite influential in showing how profitable slavery was for those who practiced it. In particular, ...


40

Since it only applied to areas that didn't recognize Federal authority, the snarky take on the Emancipation Proclamation has always been that it didn't itself free a single slave. Like a lot of famous snark, this isn't entirely true. The US Army had already been given the authority to free any slaves it came across in Confederate territory as Contraband of ...


39

This relies in willfully mistaking figurative language for non-figurative speech. Roosevelt didn't "trade" those people in the sense that a slave trader traded his captives. He made a political pact which included handing prisoners of war to a foreign power. There was no selling of human individuals in that; it is a "trade" only rhetorically, in that a ...


35

This answer is based on the assumption that the OP is referring to the HBO miniseries Catherine the Great and, more specifically, the following segment of the script: [Catherine:] But in these more enlightened times, I believe we need laws that everyone respects and obeys. The rich and the powerful, as well as the poor and dispossessed. And so ...


32

In short, Brazil and Caribbean Isles were easy to colonize and suited to the culture of the sugar cane. This related question will provide most of the explanation why Africa was harder to colonize, and less welcoming to Europeans. Moreover, it is far easier to control slaves outside of Africa. They can't hide in the local population. Also, sugar became ...


31

Yes, they did. This practice is mentioned in Robert C. Davis' (Professor of History at Ohio State University) Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500 - 1800: to make sure that none of the slave oarsmen spoke out and gave the game away, all the rowers were gagged with "a morsel of cork that ...


29

No, not even close. Alan T Nolan lists this as one of the components of the Lost Cause Myth in his essay "The Anatomy of the Myth", collected in the book The Myth of the Lost Cause and Civil War History (ed by Gary Gallagher and Nolan). McPherson says in Battle Cry that slavery was more firmly entrenched in 1860 than it had been in 1820. By 1860 the "...


29

There is some truth to the claims, but the numbers are extremely prima facie distorted. Especially since they are (apparently) given in terms of "households", with no immediately obvious method by which such figures were fitted to a preconception "estimated" calculated[Note 1]. Even if his numbers are accurate however, they do not necessarily reflect the ...


28

The more I read about the ancient world, the more I come to the conclusion that there was no unified notion of slavery at all. There were multiple things (which the people of the time could distinguish) which we call with the same word, slavery. This is similar to how we call nearly any head of state (and sometimes even not head of state) in ancient world a ...


27

Although, as you say, a rich slave might be able to engineer an escape, most slaves were not rich and not educated. Slaves could generally be immediately recognized by their dress. Although there were no laws mandating dress for a slave, they tended to wear clothing which set them apart. For example, no slave could wear the toga, so if a man is wearing a ...


26

Yes, there are quite a few. The very first was in 1688, when Quakers in Germantown, Pennsylvania wrote a two-page condemnation of the practice and sent it to the governing bodies of their Quaker church. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was the first American abolition society; it was formed in 1775, primarily by ...


26

He's not 100% wrong that the desire of slaveholders in the States to protect their "property" and the institution itself has been drastically underplayed by Americans in talking about their own history (and really, can you blame them?) For a good historical perspective on this, I highly recommend Slavery and the Founders, by Paul Finkelman. However, as the ...


25

Rodgers, William Ledyard, vice admiral, USN, ret. Greek and Roman Naval Warfare. A Study of Strategy, Tactics, and Ship Design from Salamis (480 BC) to Actium (31 BC) (1934, 1964) Gardiner, Robert, ed. Earliest Ships, The: The Evolution of Boats into Ships (1996) Warry, John. Warfare in the Classical World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons, Warriors &...


25

The usual answer is that Russia abolished slavery in 1723. Technically speaking, there were no more slaves in Russia after this point. In reality, it meant they were merged into the class of serfs, whose lives were barely distinguishable from the formally enslaved anyway. State measures to increase the numbers of people liable to direct taxation in the ...


25

Alcidamas of Asia Minor. He said that God had made no man a slave in the 4th century BC. He was talking about the Spartan enslavement of the Messenians, but it was a universal statement.


24

It is incorrect to perceive that there was a single concept of slavery in ancient world. The Latin word for slave, "servus" at the same time meant a servant. The concept of slavery differed very much between ancient societies and also differed in time. Sometimes a slave would be considered a member of the family to the extent that a formal kinly ...


23

After Franklin suggested that no serf ever realized the potential of improving their conditions and the right to education, I'd like to introduce a story of Aleksandr Nikitenko, who went to school being a serf and later, as a free man, became a professor at St. Petersburg University. He was emancipated by his owner in 1824, at the age of 20. In 1824, ...


23

Most African slaves were sent to the Americas — basically a new world with large industrial-scale labor-intensive agriculture. There isn't much point in taking slaves to Europe to replace serfs or cheap farm laborers on small farms. Destinations of slaves Africa→Americas Portuguese America (modern Brazil) 38.5% British America (...


23

A few preliminary points: 'New York' was of course 'New Amsterdam' for the larger part of the mid 17th century (until 1664). This is important, as the status and nature of slavery (and of free blacks) changed in the years following the British takeover. From the 1640s, Dutch West India Company had a system of 'half-freedom' which could eventually lead to ...


22

As @Luke states, there seems to have been a tipping point in the 19th century; I'd have dated it a few years earlier, and I'd have located it in England; Britain started out as a major participant in the slave trade (more slaves went to British possessions in the Caribbean than to the US colonies). I've edited in a few comments with credit to the original ...


22

I believe this is referring to the gag rule (aka: Pickney Resolution 3) of the US House, adopted in 1836. It read: Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions, or papers, relating in any way or to any extent whatever to the subject of slavery, or the abolition of slavery, shall, without being either printed or referred, be ...


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