U.S. Slave Population Term Paper

Pages: 3 (1144 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Literature - Latin-American

Slave Population in the U.S.

Slave Populations in the U.S.

When it comes to the issue of the importation of slaves into the Western Hemisphere from Africa, it may come as a surprise to some students and novices that the great majority of those slaves were brought to what is now South America, not to the United States. By 1808, when slavery officially was ended in America only about 6% of slaves who had been forcibly removed from their homes in from Africa over a period of 350 years had arrived in the United States. As was stated, the great majority of African slaves had gone elsewhere.

But by 1825, according to researcher and journalist Jenny B. Wahl of Carleton College (http:/ / the.net.encyclopedia),about 36% of all slaves living in the Western Hemisphere. And so given that only six percent of all slaves out of Africa came to the U.S., how is it that the U.S. was home to 36% of the slaves? Indeed in the years between 1810 and 1860, the slave population in the U.S. increased "fourfold," Wahl writes. There are several reasons for this rapid growth in the number of slaves in the U.S.

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For one, slave masters encouraged the birthrate, because obviously if they allowed and offered incentives for their females to mate with the males, babies would be born and slave owners would have more hands to put to work. For another reason, according to Wahl's article, there was a "more equal ratio of female to male slaves in the U.S. relative to other parts of the Americas." And the living conditions in the U.S., the environment, was far better for slaves than the living conditions were in Brazil, and other places in South America. "Lower mortality rates figured prominently" Wahl writes, because of the better climate in America, and because the work slaves were required to do in the U.S. was not as back-breaking - not as "grueling" in Wahl's words - as the work was in South America. In South America and in the West Indies slaves worked in mines and on sugar plantations. In the mines slaves were subjected to very harsh conditions, and accidents were frequent.

Term Paper on U.S. Slave Population Assignment

In the book, the Lost Continent (Joseph Cooper 32) the author discusses the drastic decrease in the slave population in relation to the terrible conditions slaves were subjected to in Brazil. He estimates that perhaps a half a million to two million slaves had died or disappeared in a year's time ending June 30, 1830. "There can be no doubt that a rate of mortality exists which cannot be accounted for on the score of the climate of the country," which is reasonably similar to the climate in Africa, the author explains. No "known satisfactory cause" can account for this huge drop off in slave populations, he continued on page 32.

In regard to such "an appalling decrease in the labouring population of the country," Cooper writes, Brazilian statesmen should try to attract immigrants from Europe to Brazil, but the fact that there is slavery in Brazil kept free men from being willing to immigrate. In the Web site Digital History (www.digitalhistory.com)("African-American Voices") the authors state that "cruel punishments were not unknown" in Latin America, and the Catholic Church was not very helpful in terms of protecting African slaves brought to South America to do the work. A typical punishment for slaves who didn't obey was "tying… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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