Monday, February 23, 2015

Dignity Destroyed

     Slavery became economically entrenched in American society by the early 19th century. Entrenched is a word used to describe something that is firmly established or unlikely to change. Slavery was important to the harvest of crops which were used to produce goods. These goods were traded and the revenue brought in by trade boosted the economy. The economy of the United States depended on the labor of slaves, therefore it was very unlikely to abolish slavery. The cotton industry is a great example of this. As the need for cotton grew the slave population increased, because the economy depended on slave labor. In class we looked at maps that showed the corrolation between cotton production and slavery. They helped us to see how slavery became entrenched in the 19th century.

     Human dignity is destroyed by systems of slavery based on race. Everyone is worthy of respect. By putting someone in slavery because of their skin color the respect is taken. In the United States those with dark skin were put into slavery. This system destroyed their dignity. It made people believe that black people were of less value than white people. It made people think it was okay to take away the rights and respect that everyone is worthy of having. Slavery based on race made people ignore valuable human characteristics. Body limits and feelings of the slaves were completely ignored. Slave owners forced slaves to work throughout the day in the hot sun. There is only so much a human body can handle but that didn't matter. If work wasn't getting done, the slaves were beaten. Abdul Raman, and African prince who was sold into slavery, refused to work and was violently beaten. Another, characteristic ignored is emotion. Slave owners ignored the feelings of their slaves. Slaves were taken from their families, and forced into doing things they didn't want to do. Abdul Raman was torn away from his royal life and thrown into a life where he was disrespected and abused. When Raman arrived at the Foster plantation, Mr. Foster shaved off his long hair which was a sign of his royalty back home. His feelings and emotional connection to his hair were ignored. Slaves in the early 19th century were deprived of dignity and their human characteristics were ignored all because their work was economically entrenched in American society.