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Slavery And The Plantation Essay, Research Paper

slavery and the plantation

During the era of slavery in the United States, not all blacks were slaves. There were a many number of free blacks, consisting of those had been freed or those in fact that were never slave. Nor did all slave work on plantations. There were nearly five hundred thousand that worked in the cities as domestic, skilled artisans and factory hands (Green, 13). But they were exceptions to the general rule. Most blacks in America were slaves on plantation-sized units in the seven states of the South. And with the invent of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney, more slaves were needed to work the ever-growing cotton game (Frazier, 14). The size of the plantations varied with the wealth of the planters. There were small farmers with two or three slaves, planters with ten to thirty slaves and big planters who owned a thousand or more slaves. Scholars generally agree that slaves received better treatment on the small farms and plantation that did not employ overseers or general managers. Almost half of the slaves, however, live, worked and died on plantations where the owners assigned much of their authority to overseers. The plantation was a combination factory, village and police precinct. The most obvious characteristic was the totalitarian regime placed on the slave. One example of this was a communal nursery, which prepared slave children for slavery and made it possible for their mothers to work in the fields. The woman who cared for black children was commonly designated “aunty” to distinguish her from the “mammy”, the nurse of white children. Sometimes one women cared for both white and black children. Boys and girls wandered in around in a state of near-nudity until they reached the age of work. On some plantations they were issued tow-linen shirts, on others they wore guano bags with holes punched in them for the head and arms. Children were never issued shoes until they were sent to the fields, usually at the age of six or seven. Young workers were broken in as water boys or in the the “trash gang.” At the age of ten or twelve, children were given a regular field routine. A former slave recalls, “Children had to go to the fiel’ at six on out place. Maybe they don’t do nothin’ but pick up stones or tote water, but thy got to get used to bein’ there.” (Johnson, 40-45) Cooking on the plantation was a collective project. On most plantations food was prepared in a common kitchen and sent to the workers in the field. In most cases, however, slaves were expected to cook the evening meal in their cabins. The food, which was issued once a week, was generally coarse and lacking in variety. The usual allocation was a peck of corn and three of four pounds of bacon or salt pork. They were also given milk, potatoes, peas and beans, molasses, and fish. Fractional amounts, usually one-half, were allotted to each child in the family. Most slaves supplemented this meager fare by trapping coons and opossums in the fields or by stealing corn from the master’s corncribs and chickens from his chicken coops. Slaves made a distinction between taking and stealing. It was considered right to take anything that belonged to white folk but it was wrong to steal the property of other slaves (Olmsted 69-72). While the diet provided to the slave kept them alive and functioning, it lacked many important nutrients, and diet-related diseases plagued slave communities. The diseases and other inflictions that befell slave include hernia, pneumonia, and lockjaw. Because of the lack of proper sanitation, slaves also suffered from dysentery and cholera more severely than the whites (Berkin, 266-267). Twice a year the slave was issued a clothes ration. A South Carolina planter described a typical allowance in his plantation manual: “Each man gets in the fall two shirts of cotton drilling, a pair of woolen pants and a woolen jacket. In the spring two shirts of cotton shirting and two pair of cotton pants…. Each woman gets in the fall six yards of woolen cloth, six yards of cotton drilling and a needle, skein of thread and a half dozen buttons. In the spring six yards of cotton shirting and six yards of cotton cloth similar to that for men’s pants, needle, thread and buttons. Each worker gets a stout pair of shoes every fall, and a heavy blanket every third year.” (Green, 109-111) Clothes came in two sizes, large and small, and women and men were apparently issued the same kind of shoes. It is said that these shoes burned and blistered in the summer and got stiff as a board in cold weather. On some plantations the same man shod slaves and horses (Olmsted, 67). The housing units of most slaves were family-type cabins, but some lived in large barracks that were filled with slaves of all ages, conditions and size. The cabins had windows but generally they had only wooden shutters and no glass. The window let in flies in summer and cold in winter, but closing the shutters shut out the light. When the shutters were closed against flies and cold, the most reliable source of light was an open fireplace or stove, which was also used for heat and cooking. The need for light and a cooking fire prompted slaves to build fires even at the hottest time of year. Ever-present fires increased the danger of cabins burning down, especially because chimneys were generally made of sticks held together with dried mud. It was a common procedure to put five or six slaves into one room. Everything from births, sickness, and death happened in those rooms (Berkin, 267). Furnishings in slave houses were usually fairly crude. Bedding generally consisted of straw pallets stacked on the floor or occasionally mounted on rough bedsteads. Other furnishings were equally simple–rough-hewn wooden chairs or benches and plank tables. The basic division in the work force on larger plantations was between field slaves, who, as the name implies, worded in the fields, and house slaves, who worked in and around the house (e.g. maids, cooks, butlers) or performed services as specialists (e.g. nurses, gardeners). Although word in and around the house was generally lighter, it brought disadvantages, including constant surveillance by the whites and the mental stress of putting on a public mask. For these reasons, most slaves hated to be put to work outside their area, a fact noted by Olmsted, who said: “Slaves brought up to house work dread to be employed at field-labour, and those accustomed to the field detest the close control and careful movements required of the house-servants. It is a punishment for a lazy field-hand to employ him in menial duties at the house… and it is equally a punishment to a neglectful house-servant, to banish him to the field-gangs.” At the top of the slave structure was the figure called the driver, an blunt title that pointed to the function, driving slaves in the fields and maintaining order in the quarters. Feared and detested by most slaves, the driver was an integral part of the plantation command structure, holding a position roughly comparable to a master sergeant under a lieutenant (overseer), under a captain (slave owner). When there were two or more drivers, one was named head driver. Owners believed that was the most important slave on the plantation, and was not required to work like other hands. They were to be treated with more respect than any other slave by both master and overseer…. He is to be required to maintain proper discipline at all times. He is to see that no slave idles or does bad work in the field, and to punish it with discretion. Slaves had no rights. This was done to keep them from revolting against their masters or attaining too much power. They were not allowed to communicate with each other or have meetings of any sort. To leave the plantation, a worker was required to have a pass signed by the master and overseer. Slaves could not own property, although some masters authorized it. Knives, guns, or any kind of weapon was not allowed. Forced separation of family members was a constant, dreadful threat used by the slave masters to keep them in line. Real instructive punishment was administered and/or supervised by the slave master or overseer. The usual punishment was thirty-nine lashes with a cowskin whip. It was not unusual, however, for slaves to receive one hundred or more lashes. And few slaves, no matter how obedient or humble, reached old age without receiving at least one lashing. The most common offense for a lashing was impudence. According to Frederick Douglass, “Impudence might mean almost anything, or nothing at all, just according to the caprice of the master or overseer at the moment. But, whatever it is, or is not, if it gets the name of ‘impudence’ the party charged with it is sure of a flogging. This offense may be committed in various ways; in the tone of an answer; in answering at all; in not answering; in the expression of the countenance; in the motion of the head; in the gait, manner and bearing of the slave.” This, reinforced by the bells, horns and military formations of plantation life, were used to keep the slaves off balance. The horn or bell usually sounded about four in the morning. Thirty minutes later the field hands were expected to be out of their cabins and on the way to the fields. Strugglers and late sleepers were lashed with the whip. Overseers and drivers, armed with whips, drove the work force. The overseer sometimes carried a bowie knife and a pistol. He often rode a horse, accompanied by a vicious dog. Solomon Northup, a free black who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, said the hands worked steadily and “with the exception of ten or

fifteen minutes, which is given them at noon to swallow their allowance of cold bacon, they are not permitted to be a moment idle till it is too dark to see, and when the moon is full, they often labor till the middle of the night.” Men, women, and children worked in the fields. The women cut down trees, dug ditches and plowed. The old and the ailing worked, oftentimes in the yards, feeding poultry, cleaning up, mending clothes and caring for the infants and the sick. At the end of the workday the slaves still had chores to do, from feeding the mules and swines, cutting wood, and so forth (Johnson, 124-130). Fear, work, the whip, hard words, and the fields was the life for most slaves, day in and day out, season after season, with a half-day on Saturday perhaps and whole day off on Sunday. Although the slaves were under the surveillance of the whites in order to prevent conspiracies and revolts, they were able to engage in a form of worship different from that of the whites. The field hands were especially attracted by the Methodist and Baptist missionaries who, in their revival meetings, preached a simple doctrine of salvation through conversion in which a highly emotional experience was of primary importance. The spirituals, or religious folk songs, grew out of these relatively independent religious meetings. The marriage between slaves was not legally recognized but was encouraged by the master. It was thought that a married couple with children would be less likely to attempt escape. The marriage ceremony was instructed by the wisest and most respected slave on the plantation, and included the ritual of jumping the broomstick. Males and females were expected to remain faithful after the marriage. The marriages lasted a long time, some thirty years or more. The life on the plantation was the only life known to a slave. Few slaves ever had the opportunity to leave the plantation so it was the only world they knew. One can think of a plantation as an isolated island, with occasional contact from the outside world. It was only through making contact with the outside world that slaves became aware that they too deserved freedom and gained the knowledge to obtain it.


E.Franklin Frazier. Black Bourgeoisie. New York 1957 Berkin, Miller, Cherny, and Gormly. Making America: A History of the United States. Boston 1995. Douglass, Frederick. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. Hartford 1881. Johnson, Charles S. Shadow of the Plantation. Chicago 1941. Olmsted, Frederick Law. The Cotton Kingdom. New York 1948. Green, Bernard V. Bondage of a People. Miami 1991.slavery in 18th century

Despite the horror of the word slavery we have to admit that slaves have played a big role in rising big empires. For example the Egyptians used slaves to build their majestic pyramids, the Chinese and Indian used slaves for large-scale construction and agricultural and the Hebrews also used slaves. Slaves were brought from Africa to the British American colonies to work in agriculture and farming, which among other factors made the British colonies in America become so strong and prosperous.The slaves of the British American colonies were mainly from African west coast. It is important to note that slavery was present in African communities long before white traders sent African slaves to Europe and America. Slaves in Africa were those tribal people captured in confrontations between tribes and sold to Arab traders. The first traders to introduce slaves to the American colonies were the Portuguese who were later followed by the Spanish. Brought from Africa by way of different routes but in particular, the “Middle Passage” or directly from Africa to the Indies, slaves would travel in ships packed like sardines and under the most horrible conditions.Perhaps the most logical reason to try to explain the boom of slavery in America and anywhere is it was a very profitable business. In the case of America, the first slave trades were done for mere profit but then it became a necessity because of the increasing demand for working hands in the colonies. The slavery population in the British American colonies rose rapidly during the 1700’s due to the increasing demand for plantation workers, which became the main source of income for these colonies. By 1750, about 200,000 slaves lived in the colonies and most of them in the south, where the warm climate and good soil permitted the great development of plantations such as rice, tobacco, sugar cane and cotton among others. Slaves therefore played a big role in these plantations working directly in the fields, though some others worked as servants craft workers, etc. In the northern colonies, slaves worked in factories, homes, and shipyards. Two important industries inspired the existence of black slaves in the British American colonies. These were the cotton and sugar cane plantations. Cotton case has its roots in the “cotton gin”, a machine that removed seeds at an incredible rate of fifty people doing it by hand. Arose the need of more workers in the Southern to seed and collect cotton to meet the demand for this prosperous new industry in America. African slaves filled this necessity of cotton plantation labor. In the case of sugar cane, the Louisiana’s agricultural labor needs were just as important as the cotton producing colonies and slave numbers climbed to about 4 million in the south in order to fulfill the labor requirements of planting and harvesting the cane.White colonizers also tried to enslave the American Indians but with very poor results. Partly due to the fact that many Indians died from diseases brought by their captors. Also, it was easy for the Indians to run away and go back with their people. This situation gave a big green light to bring even more black slaves from Africa. The colonizers did not encounter these same problems with the African slaves because the slaves did not have where to run and because they were healthier and stronger. The Atlantic slave trade operated from the 1500’s to the mid-1800’s. No one knows exactly how many Africans were enslaved during this period. Some estimate around ten million. Of the total number of slaves brought to America only six percent were received by the British colonies and lived in the south although slavery existed in a lesser number everywhere else in the colonies. A slave’s life in America was a nightmare for the most part, since despite the existence of some laws to protect them from cruelty by whites and to give them limited rights, these laws were not always enforced. However in comparison to other countries, slaves in the British colonies ate better, lived longer, received better medical care, and had a more secure family life.By the early 1800’s more that 700,000 slaves lived in the south and constituted a third of the total population. This exponential growth reached around four million slaves by 1860 in the slave states. This produced a greater number of slaves over whites in the state of Carolina. In other states, like Virginia and Maryland, the black population made up more than half of the population. Thus, this shows the amazing boom of enslaved work and consequently, the wealth of these states due to their cultural development.By the 1800’s most of the slaves were born in America and they had lost all interest in going back to Africa and they were raised under western social and religious influences and despite being slaves they recognized America as their own home. They even took part in the American army when fighting against the British and in most cases looking for freedom and more rights for themselves once the war had ended. Luckily, there were also many slaves who ran away from their masters and formed hidden groups in the backcountry. The existence and use of slave labor became an economic necessity for a landowner who needed workers, and these workers were predominantly Negro slaves brought and sold from Africa. For southern colonists, slavery was first an economic institution solely for the purpose of solving an economic problem but this problem was very costly therefore the colonists implemented forced labor for economic gain. So slavery provided the basis for economic and social life in the British American colonies and especially in the southern.The Atomic Bomb

The Atomic Bomb Albert Einstein predicted that mass could be converted into energy. This was the basis for the atomic bomb. Throughout this research paper, I will trace the history of the atomic bomb. In addition, who was involved and why, what happened in this event, and explain the impact that it had on the world. After Einstein predicted, that mass could be converted into energy. This was confirmed experimentally by John D. Cockcroft and Ernest Walton. “Physicists from 1939 onward conducted much research to find answers to questions as how many neutrons were emitted in each fission and which elements would not capture the neutrons but would moderate or reduce the velocity” (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia The Atomic Bomb Mar.99 CD-ROM NP) and other questions of that nature. Frightened by the possibility that the Germans may produce an atomic bomb, physicists Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, and Edward Teller consulted Einstein to address a letter to Franklin Roosevelt. Motivated by the letter, in 1939 Roosevelt commanded an American effort to obtain atomic weaponry before the Germans. With an increasing threat from Germany, President Roosevelt needed to take an aggressive stance. He was in a position of nuclear threat. F.D.R needed to do something, and do something very fast. This is why the president called to order the “Manhattan Project.” Nothing happened until Vannevar Bush, coordinator of scientific activities for the war, took charge. The program was called the Manhattan Project. It came under United States Army control in 1942. The Manhattan Project is a code name for the United States efforts to complete the separation of uranium-235 out of the uranium238. The development of these compounds resulted in the impact of nuclear energy in the 20th century. President Roosevelt would later spend 2 billion dollars on this project. His goal was to ensure the safety of his nation and be a leader in the use of nuclear energy. The men who coordinated the Manhattan Project were an important part of this endeavor.The President gave the orders to United States Army Major General Leslie Groves to find different scholars to also make a nuclear bomb. In doing this, Major General Groves selected some of the best scholars in the field of physics and mathematics. They are as follows: J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feyman, Enrico Fermi, Joseph C. Carter, And Neils Bohr. J. Robert Oppenheimer was born on April 22, 1904. He thrived on studying and was not a very social type of person. He went to Harvard and completed a four-year chemistry degree in only three years. Robert also studied subatomic physics at Cambridge. At Cambridge, he suffered a mental breakdown. At Gotigen, a German University he got his Ph.D. He then established a goal to bring “new physics” back to the United States. On November 1,1940 Major General Leslie asked Oppenheimer to lead, the Manhattan Project. Robert willingly took the job. This was the beginning of a project that would change the future to come. Richard Feyman was born on May 11, 1918 in Queens, New York. He mastered differential and integral calculus at age 15. He was accepted into MIT in 1936 when he was 18 years old. He graduated, and went to Princeton as a graduate. He asked Groves if he could join the theoretical division in Los Alamos and was accepted. He met a man by the name of Hans Bethe. He was somewhat like a mentor to Richard. They both worked on solving how much fissionable material it would take for the bomb to explode. Feyman won a Nobel Peace Prize for inventing the Feyman diagrams in 1965. He then died in 1988 after fighting cancer for many years. Enrico Fermi, was born on September 29,1901 in Rome Italy. He was forced to a career in the sciences by the death of his brother, a scientist He got his Ph.D. at the University of Pisa, in Italy, in 1922. Enrico split a uranium atom at University of Michigan at a lecture. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Fermi was the first to create a sustained nuclear fission chain reaction. He did this at the University of Chicago on December 2, 1942. This was critical to the making of the atom bomb. He joined the Manhattan Project as an overseer to the scientists and a consultant to them as well. Enrico passed away in November of 1954. If it was not for this man, I believe that the atom bomb would not have been successful. He held an essential position in the “Manhattan Project”Joseph C. Carter was born on September 28, 1910. He went to the United States Naval Academy and at age 18, he went to Columbia. At Columbia, he worked under General Leslie Groves. Carter and others constructed a pilot version of the atomic bomb. He and others were major assets to the Manhattan Project. Neils Bohr was born in 1885 in Denmark. He went to the University of Copenhagen where he studied physics. In 1911 he got his Ph.D. Neils presented the fact that the fission chain reaction need u-235 to be possible. He fled and went to America to work on the Manhattan Project. Bohr wanted people to know that the effects of nuclear bombs were good and bad. He asked the UN to rid themselves of nuclear weapon Projects. He later died in November 1962. General Groves bought land in Oakridge, Tennessee. This is where he had Oppenhemier start work on the Atomic bomb. The majority of the planning took place in Manhattan. That is where the research was done, and things were designed. Oakridge is where they made the main material, U-235 and PU-239 was manufactured. In Los Alamos, New Mexico was the place of fabrication of the bombs and the testing sites. The results of the project were inconceivable. The Uranium bomb, “Little Boy”, needed no tests. The scientists were very sure of its capability. However, they did test the plutonium bomb. This was successful. It was exploded on July 16th, 1945. It is said that a blind girl could see the blast 120 miles away. The blast leveled and killed everything. Now the United States planned to use these bombs on the Japanese.The effects of the atom bombs are terrible. In Hiroshima, the united states “Little Boy”, a uranium bomb, was dropped on August 6th, 1945. “At the moment of the explosion, a fireball was generated with a center, which reached a temperature of several million degrees Celsius. The heat rays released in all directions had a strong effect on the ground for about three seconds, starting approximately 1/100 second after the detonation. Due to the heat rays, the temperature in the hypocenter area is believed to have reached 3,000-4,000 Celsius Iron melts at 1,536 Celsius.” (History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb damage Mar. 99 http://park.org/Japan/peace/96) It killed 66,000 and injured 69,000 people. The atomic bomb blast in 1945 obliterated three-fifths of the city within seconds. On Aug. 9, 1945, an U.S. bomber dropped a plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki. They aimed this at the Mitsubishi shipyards. The bomb missed its target but destroyed about half of the city and killed approximately 75,000 and injuring 25,000 people. This aftermath has left an enduring mark on the world. The radiation from the blasts has since caused many deaths. People that subsided within approximately five months after the blast are considered to have acute effects. “Acute effects include digestive tract disorders (nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea); nervous disorders (headache, delirium, insomnia); fatigue (loss of hair, loss of energy, weakness); bleeding (blood in vomit, blood in urine, blood in stool, purpura); infection (fever, stomatitis, skin infections); blood disorders (loss of red or white blood cells); and reproductive disorders (zoospermia, menstrual disorders).” (History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb damage Mar. 99 http://park.org/Japan/peace/96)Long after acute effects, there were many other complications. Such as Keloids, Leukimia, Cancer, In-utero exposure and Genetic Effects. The rates of these problems increased many years after the bombing. After 1945, the United States built thousands of atomic bombs. In addition, the more powerful hydrogen bombs. “In 1945 the United States was the only country to have nuclear capabilities. The U.S.S.R obtained them in 1949, Britain in 52,France in 1960, the People’s Republic of China in 1964, and India in 1974.” (Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia The Atomic Bomb Mar.99 CD-ROM NP) The United States Government and many other people regret having used the atom bomb. Many other countries have now made these terrible weapons of destruction. The making of this has only been a scar upon the world. Nuclear weapons led to many other problems in our world like the cold war. Many geniuses went to work to make great advancements in nuclear technology. It is a shame we could not have used these findings for a good cause.Brett SkyllingstadAn Eyewitness Account by a Middle School StudentThe following is from an eyewitness account by a middle school student who was in a classroom during the bombing. The student managed to escape the collapsed school building but suffered injuries. “I’ll never forget that day. After we finished our morning greetings in the schoolyard, we were waiting in the classroom for our building demolition work to begin. Suddenly a friend by the window shouted ‘B- 29!’ At the same instant, a flash pierced my eyes. The entire building collapsed at once and we were trapped underneath. I don’t know how long I remained unconscious. When I came to, I couldn’t move my body. Cuts on my face and hands throbbed with pain. My front teeth were broken and my shirt soaked in blood. As I crawled along, encouraging myself, I somehow managed to poke my head out of the wreckage. The school that should have appeared before my eyes was nowhere to be seen. It had vanished and only smoldering ruins remained. Beyond the school toward the center of town, all I could see was a sea of flames. I was so terrified I couldn’t stop shaking. Moving my body a little at a time, I was finally able to work free of the collapsed structure. Making sure to head upwind to escape the fires, I made my way staggering haphazardly through the rubble of the city and escaped.”(History of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb damage Mar. 99 http://park.org/Japan/peace/96) 1 This is the mushroom cloud over Nagasaki after the bombing. 2 This is the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the bombing.3 This is the damage done to Nagasaki after the bomb was dropped.4 This is a picture of J. Robert Oppenheimer. He was the leader for the making of the atomic bomb.5 The picture displays the destruction done to Hiroshima after the bomb was dropped.6 This picture depicts the damage done to Hiroshima.7 This is a picture that shows the damage done to an iron tower in a test. The men in the picture are Oppenheimer and General Groves.8 A permanent shadow that was cast the day of the blast. It was caused from the intense heat.9 This shadow was made by a person sitting on the steps in front of the bank entrance waiting for it to open. The flash probably hit the victim from the front dying on the spot. The surface of the surrounding stone was significantly whitened by exposure to the bombs heat rays, but the place where the person sat remained dark.10 This is a picture of Enrico Fermi. He was one of the main contributors in the making of the atomic bomb.11. This is a picture of the size of a replica of the “Fatman” compared to a human.12. This is a picture of the actual bombs. The “Fatman” or uranium bomb is at the left. The “Little Boy” or plutonium bomb is at the right. Timeline1939- FDR commanded an American effort to obtain nuclear weaponry.1942- Fermi produced a controlled chain reaction. July 16, 1945- Test of plutonium bomb is a success.August 6,1945- uranium bomb is dropped on Hiroshima.August 9,1945- A plutonium bomb is dropped on Nagasaki 1949- USSR acquir


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