Black people in America
What was life like for black people in America before the Civil War?
African American life before Civil War
Black people in America were mistreated at different levels. Almost of the population was auctioned to farmers who assigned them to plantation projects. They lived a life full of discrimination, unfairness, lack of freedom and rights, or voices of representation. Most of their families were broken, and members sold off to different regions, where they could work as slaves and get punished severely by their owners (Morgan, 2020). Despite the underlying hardships, slaves were still able to maneuver and establish significant cultural identity. Even while on plantations, they all looked out for each other across all levels, married, and maintain robust family unions. The paper will highlight and describe black people’s lives in America before the Civil War era by considering their experiences both in the Northern and Southern regions.
Black Americans were subjected to increased slavery since the early times of the 17th century in what eventually transformed into the United States. Slavery was considered an already fading institution even when the state adopted the new Constitutional Laws and American Revolution era in 1787. It was part of the influences that pushed the Constitution to be documented and further adopted. The founders targeted to stop the slavery business in the United States by 1808 (Levesque, 2018). However, by that time, slavery was still a thriving business practice in the United States, especially in the Southern part. One of the primary influences that led to slavery reintegration was the continuous invention and widespread adoption of the cotton gin. The Southern planters used the machine to grow a wide variety of cotton, such as short-staple cotton, which was mainly suited to the Deep South weather conditions, thus, attractive to farmers and planters (Morgan, 2020). The black people supplied the required labor on these farms at the time before the Civil War.
However, while the blacks worked as slaves on these farms, others were kept busy on enormous cotton plantations, offered labor on huge agricultural lands for tobacco farming, hemp for rope-making, livestock, and corn plantations (Morgan, 2020). Particularly in the southern regions and cities, many black Americans worked as both basic laborers and skilled trades. The situation was as tough within the Southern cities as in the northern parts as they both had several free black populaces who had to gather enough capital for purchasing freedom (Levesque, 2018). Several free farmers in the Northern and Southern parts invested very long working days, although they were their supervisors and controlled their times. However, the enslaved workers, who mainly comprised of the black groups, lacked such control and power, as they worked under strict supervision and overseers constantly threatened to punish them (Levesque, 2018) physically. Thus, the blacks worked as slaves under tough conditions with very limited freedom. They were powerless and victims of their rights in the underlying systems and filthy cultural and social lives.
The era was also characterized by enslaved blacks who had turned out symbolic of slavery’s roots in the early times of the 1400s in a nation that eventually became the United States (Levesque, 2018). They were mistreated purposely to satisfy the North American colonies’ growing labor demands as a cheaper, more reliable, and plentiful source. Although there are no accurate figures to document the totality of blacks who were turned into permanent slaves, reliable sources suggest that approximately 6 to about 7 million enslaved individuals were imported directly to the New World during the 17th century alone, and in turn deprived the Negros of their healthiest and ablest resource.
During the 17th towards 18th centuries, some black groups acquired property, gained freedom, and gained free access to American society. They moved to the Northern parts, where although slavery was still considered normal, it was less of a presence (Levesque, 2018). Both free and slave African Americans substantially impacted the American infrastructure and overall economy as they all developed roads and canals and helped construct the cities. By the early times of the 1800s, several of the Northern state occupants started calling out for the abolition of slavery practices (Levesque, 2018). However, before then, most black people were used as tools for farm work in plantations, who had no rights to anything in the white-dominated land. It was a harsh time for the group to ensure and work hard to survive (Morgan, 2020). Several African families were broken as others endured much suffering in white people’s hands, although adversity was felt more in South America compared to the Northern parts.
In conclusion, the United States of America began as a slave society with high levels of oppression against the black community throughout the period before the civil war. Today, it is considered a new nation fighting for equality and liberty to ensure all groups were treated as equals. However, this “original sin” left a mark on the souls of the black people. The early people paid a terrible price in the hands of white oppressors, and the tragic, undemocratic, and calamitous war was put to an end after the civil fight that shook the whole world. For black Americans, slavery as a practice had to be put to an end as a quest for democratic equality.
Levesque, G. A. (2018). Black Boston: African American Life and Culture in Urban America, 1750-1860 (Vol. 4). Routledge.
Morgan, A. A. (2020). Precarious lives: Black Seminoles and other freedom seekers in Florida before the US civil war. AA Morgan.