American Civil War Slavery Essay

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Slavery During The Civil War Essay

The goal of the civil war was never originally to free slaves but slaves became a large part of the war. African American slaves overcame many challenges to finally receive their freedom. Many African Americans endured the chance to fight for the union and that immensely increased the man power of the union.
Life for slaves was difficult. Every year they normally received two cotton shirts, one jacket, two pairs of trousers, a pair of socks, a pair of shoes, a coat, and a wool hat. To eat, slaves of the time mostly were given eight pounds of pork or fish, and cornmeal salt herring each month. Slaves were housed in wooden shacks with dirt floors, but sometimes they were made of boards nailed up with cracks stuffed with rags. The beds were made up of pieces of straw and/or grass, and old rags. They were only given one blanket to sleep with and for covering. One room could hold up to a dozen people which included men, woman, and children.
Even as a child it was very difficult to live the life of a slave. When a slave was about a year old, their mother and other family members could be sold. When a slave was only four, they could sometimes work as a babysitter. When a young slave was about the age of five, they would have to run errands and bring water to the slaves working in the field. At the age of eight, children would be forced to work on the plantation. Plantation owners would often break up families to buy and sell slaves. More than 32% of marriages were torn apart by masters selling slaves. A slave husband could be taken from his wife, and other family. Also children could be taken from their mothers.
Slave owners took bad behavior of any kind very seriously. They wanted to keep all slaves in line and as a result, their punishments were very harsh. Slaves could be murdered for burglary, arson, and assault on any white person. Plantation owners thought that this extreme discipline would make the slaves too scared to rebel. In South Carolina it was said that "a slave owner would put nails in a barrel sticking out on the inside of the barrel, then put the slave in and roll him/her down a very long and steep hill. Another punishment slave owners used was to whip their slaves. Other slave owners in Virginia smoked their slaves. This involved whipping them and putting them in a tobacco smokehouse".("life of a slave" thinkquest) Other punishments were getting beaten with various objects such as a chair, broom, tongs, shovel, shears, knife handles, the heavy end of a woman’s shoe, and an oak club.("life of a slave" thinkquest) Although slaves lived terrible lives, they found hope in religion. Many converted to Christianity which did not please many whites.
One of the main reasons masters did not want their slaves to become Christians involved the Bible. This was one reason why many plantation owners tried very hard to stop their slaves from becoming literate. If they learned to read it would become a threat to their religion. In the...

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