Why Is Slavery Considered A Peculiar Institution?

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Slavery was considered a “peculiar institution” because slaveholders used physical abuse and mental manipulation to control their slaves. The United States economy is proven to thrive off of the institution of slavery since the beginning of American history. The cultivation of cotton by slaves was the basis of Southern economy. Since slavery was essential to the Southern economy, slaveholders had to make sure they took and sustained control of the slaves. Methods they often used was dehumanization and physical abuse which are depicted in 12 Years a Slave and Incident in the Life of a Slave Girl which shows the disregard of human life during this time. Slavery operated in the United States by making sure to crush any hope slaves may have by separating families and getting rid of slaves that have been serving slaveholders for many years when rendered useless by them. This make sure that the slaves always lived with uncertainty, unsure when their lives is going to drastically changed. In The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, New…show more content…
Methods such as physical and mental manipulation would keep the slaves from believing that they would ever be free. Slaveholders would treat their slaves like animals to dehumanize them and make them actually believe that they are not humans. They also make them constantly unsure of their future, making them fear that they can be split from their families and sold without notice. Slaveholders also maintain control through physical abuse. Slaves are whipped and tortured, having their skin extremely mutilated. They are punished even for the smallest things such as a bar of soap which destroys even the smallest freedom of self cleaning. These methods break down slaves and any hope they may carry with them. The lengths slaveholders went to maintain control of the slaves makes slavery a “peculiar
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