Slave Ownership In The American Colonies

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Slave ownership was relatively widespread. By the 1700s, all the American colonies of European countries had African slaves. By using a system of codes to limit and govern the slaves’ life, slave owners made their slaves completely dependent on them. Some slaves lived in almost nonhuman conditions, harshly controlled by their masters, while others enjoyed flexibility and autonomy. Masters provided cheap clothing and shoes for their slaves. The food that slaves received was very poor. As a result, slaves were small for their ages, and usually were victims of different diseases. This contributed to a high mortality and a short average life. Many slaves were able to cultivate their own gardens, but only if they were allowed by their master. Although slave marriages were forbidden, slaves did marry and had large families. Most slave owners were not opposing to this practice, but also, it was not a problem to divide the families for the owners’ own interest. Slaves…show more content…
These sets of laws were known as slave codes, and defined the status of slaves and the rights and responsibilities of slave owners. Although slave codes differed slightly from colony to colony, the main goal was to regulate slaves’ lives, to justify slavery and maintain it as institution, protect the property of the landowners and minimize the possibility of rebellion. According to the slave codes, a slave could be bought, sold, and even leased. Slaves were prohibited to own a property, testify against whites in court, or make any contracts. The slave codes also stated that every slave woman’s newborn child becomes a property of her master. Slaves were forbidden to use their language, to learn how to read and write, or leave plantations without permission. Furthermore, the slave codes specified the amount of food and clothing for the slaves, and also allowed slave owners to punish their

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