Slavery in the 19th Century
Life for enslaved men and women
During slavery in the 19th Century, most enslaved men and women worked as house servants or field laborers on huge agricultural plantations in the early 19th Century. They were subjected to persecution, harsh penalties, and stringent racial policing as slaves. Enslaved people developed various coping techniques to deal with the deteriorating conditions of slavery. In addition to small-scale acts of defiance, they also planned larger-scale uprisings. Enslaved people in the South of the United States developed religious traditions that drew on Christian and West African spiritual traditions.
Life on the Plantation in Slavery in the 19th Century
Most enslaved persons in the American South worked mostly in agriculture in the early nineteenth Century. Enslaved persons in urban areas were limited to just 400,000 towards the end of the 19th Century when they were employed in various specialized trades, including carpentry and ceramics. Farms and plantations employed about three million people during slavery in the 19th Century. More than half of all enslaved people in the South lived on plantations employing more than 20 enslaved workers; nearly a quarter lived on plantations employing more than 50 enslaved people.
During slavery in the 19th Century, field laborers and house staff were common on large estates. Field laborers worked up to 20 hours a day clearing land, sowing seed, and harvesting crops, while house maids did the cooking, cleaning, and driving. Slaves on rice plantations in South Carolina, for example, had some autonomy in their work. Still, most field hands worked in a gang-labor system, where huge groups of enslaved workers labored under the direction of an overseer.
On most plantations, women were primarily responsible for household activities, including sewing, cooking, quilting, cleaning, and monitoring the children—though many enslaved women also worked in the fields.
Brutality and Resistance during Slavery in the 19th Century
Most enslaved men and women had a hard and violent life during slavery in the 19th Century. Many slave owners were willing to break up families to improve their financial circumstances. Therefore they were regularly separated from their loved ones.
Slavery spread in the South in the early 19th Century, and as a result, harsher laws were put in place to oversee the conduct of slaves. Slaves could not defend themselves from white attackers and had no legal standing in the courts of law throughout the American Civil War. A free black person or another slave was the only one who could testify on their behalf. It was illegal for them to engage in contracts or possess property, and they were not permitted to leave their owner’s property without permission during slavery in the 19th Century.
The penalties for breaking the rules during slavery in the 19th Century were harsh. Branding, mutilation, and even death were used as sanctions for more serious misdeeds, while whipping was reserved for the least serious offenders. Free white males formed slave patrols to keep an eye on and enforce the slave rules. Racist policing was meant partly to ensure that slaves would never be able to free themselves from their captors.
Some slave rebellions did occur, despite all the measures white Southerners took to keep them under control. When enslaved Virginia man Nat Turner launched a rebellion in 1831, for example, other enslaved men and women saw him as a prophet who had been taught to read by his master. During the insurrection in slavery in the 19th Century, the enslaved rebels killed 60 white individuals, including Turner’s owner. Law enforcement finally ended the rebellion, and Turner and the other 13 abolitionists were put to death. Due to white Southerners’ fear of the uprising during slavery in the 19th Century, even stricter laws were passed to regulate enslaved people’s conduct.
Not only did organized plans and rebellions show up as forms of resistance to slavery in the 19th Century. Men and women being held as slaves resorted to stealing food and pretending to be sick to avoid working. Additionally, slaves perpetrated acts of sabotage, such as damaging crops or wrecking farm equipment. To escape the brutality and oppression of life in servitude, they would hurt, maim, or even kill themselves. Others just walked away from the plantation, searching for a new life in the North.
Religion and slave culture
During slavery in the 19th Century, many enslaved men and women were deeply influenced by their religious beliefs. It is common for slaveholders to support or even condone slaves’ religious activities and worship. With their preachers and religious ceremonies, slaves in the South developed their churches in several places. For enslaved people, the biblical account of Moses leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt had a unique significance.
Non-Christian influences shaped the slave culture in the United States South. Enslaved people in the Americas were steeped in the spirituality and beliefs of West Africans during slavery in the 19th Century. Traditional beliefs and practices such as conjuring and using totems and protection charms were common. The enslaved performed folkloric dances, songs, and storytelling in their festivities.
Slavery and Abolition in the 19th Century
Events and Intellectual Movements during Slavery in the 19th Century.
Brazilians began calling for the Abolition of slavery in the early 1800s. Founder of Brazil’s freedom from Portugal, José Bonifácio Andrada e Silva, advocated for gradual liberation as early as 1825. As a result of British pressure, the slave trade was prohibited in Brazil in 1850. Several pieces of legislation, including the 1871 “Free Womb” law, which proclaimed all offspring of slaves born after the law was passed; the 1885 Sexagenarian Law, which emancipated slaves over 60; and the 1888 “complete emancipation” law, were approved before slavery was abolished officially.
In 1828, a statute forbidding the slave trade was passed into law, marking one of the earliest attempts at legislation. When Emperor Dom Pedro I went to Portugal in 1830, he left behind his six-year-old son as provisional head of state, and this law was set to take effect in 1831. Slave dealers, on the other hand, barely noticed this decree, which proclaimed all slaves free upon arrival in Brazil, following a brief halt in trading patterns in the early 1830s. Although it may have seemed to merchants and politicians alike that the legislation was intended to alleviate the British, it was a “lei para inglés ver” (a law to please the British).
Slavery was legally legal in Brazil as late as 1865. Brazil’s economy remains mostly agricultural. As a result, the country’s political structure was monarchical and parliamentary, with Pedro II serving as the head of state. Brazil had a sizable population of free people of color even before slavery in the 19th Century was abolished there. It’s a mystery why the Romantic authors were dismissive of “the free man of color, who lived at every level of Brazilian society. ” Philosophers of the day regarded as the greatest of all time Afro-Brazilian slaves lauded by them were not like them.
The Paraguayan War during slavery in the 19th Century ushered in a new era of military ideology and altered the face of slavery forever. Many slaves had demonstrated their effectiveness on the battlefield since their membership in the Army. This revelation made commanders increasingly dubious of slavery and hesitant to fulfill the Army’s mission to reclaim fugitive slaves. More and more Brazilian politicians were embracing rationality-focused philosophical ideas like Positivism and Republicanism. These ideologies went hand in hand with appeals for development and modernization. Many Brazilians had already decided to liberate their slaves before the “Golden Law” passage in 1888.
As expected, European philosophy was at the forefront of nationalism’s social order discussion. With an international audience by the mid-nineteenth Century, European philosophers concluded that “darker races and tropical climates could never generate similar civilizations” because of their supremacy in both economic and political achievement. Determinism was the scientific word for this idea. Brazil was categorically labeled as having “darker races and tropical temperatures” by these philosophers.