Forced Labour In The 1800's

1481 Words6 Pages
The demand for forced labour in the Unites States throughout the 1600’s to the 1800’s has been a heavily discussed topic throughout media, debates and even conversations among friends. Elements of slavery such as the beating and raping of African-Americans, as well as forcing them to work for endless hours in the heat with the constant threat of harm are among many valid arguments presented today. However, during the 246 years slavery was legal in the United States the idea of owning another human being and doing with them as you please wasn't considered an immoral act. This form of forced labour itself was brought to American shores in 1619, when the first African-American slaves were transported to a North American colony in Jamestown, Virginia.…show more content…
The cotton gin was a simple machine with the sole purpose of separating cotton fibres from it’s seeds, drastically lowering the production costs of cotton. Previously workers were required to separate cotton fibres from it's seeds by hand, a process that required multiple hours to produce a single pound of fibres. Using the cotton gin however slaves could produce more than 50 pounds of cotton, in a single day. The vastly expensive cotton prices decreased simultaneously, leading to a growth in popularity of cotton clothing. This lead to South American farmers devoting more time and land to cotton plantations. The relationship between slaves and the cotton gin was a complicated one, although the cotton gin did free the slaves from having to separate cotton from its’ seeds by hand, it did increase the demand for them to work in cotton plantations. This was a result of the dramatically inexpensive price of cotton, which increased the demand for cotton by large textile factories. Cotton production also proved to be well suited to slave labour. Being a reasonably labour intensive process, farmers chose to employ a method involving slaves working in small groups, while mostly always being supervised by a white overseer. This made for much more efficient work method, allowing overseer’s to supervise and when required, discipline groups of slaves concurrently. Although this proved to be efficient it was a difficult and unjustifiable system. During the pinnacle of the harvesting season, slaves were forced to work from sunrise to sunset, in rare cases even being asked to work through the night of a full moon. Beating and whippings being offered to any workers who refused to work and showed signs of rebellion, with some even being mutilated or killed. Even though there is no clear explanation determining how the cotton gin
Open Document