This is the essay for lessons 111-115 in the Autobiographies course from the Ronpaul curriculum. In this blog post, I will be telling you: Did Thompson provide persuasive evidence that the South’s slave system was morally evil?
At the time people saw slavery as moral. Thompson provided examples of situations that we would be seen as morally evil. This way people would think of slavery as morally evil.
Let’s look at the first example that Thompson provided in his autobiography. Cruelty towards slaves mainly came in the form of whippings. Slaves could be whipped for making small mistakes. For example, a girl was whipped because she dropped a plate. Sometimes if the owners were especially cruel, slaves were whipped for doing nothing wrong or the owners would find the tiniest excuse to punish a slave.
Cruelty towards slaves also came in different ways, in some plantations, slaves were fed barely enough to sustain themselves. In other plantations, they were given miserable living conditions. There were few plantations without one form of cruelty. One plantation had good living spaces and food but was very cruel with whippings. Another plantation would be more forgiving with whippings and give good food but have terrible living spaces and yet another plantation would have good living spaces and be forgiving with their negative sanctions but give a very small amount of food.
One of the worst cruelties in slavery was the separation of families. Sometimes families would move together but often one family member would be sold to a different slave owner. This process would continue until eventually there would be very few family members left together. The worst part about the separation was that often the family members would never see each other again or not for a long time.
Most of the slaves worked in the fields which could even be a mile away. They were called out early in the morning for breakfast and If slaves didn’t arrive for breakfast before they had to start work, the slaves would have to go without food. This problem was especially bad for children who would often sleep for too long. The work would continue for so long that slaves were given dinner in the fields, no matter the weather. Mothers with babies would have her older children take care of the baby. Strict slave owners would not even let the mother nurse her baby during eating breaks.
Slaves were given very few vacations. One of the times that slaves had vacations was from Christmas to new year’s day Another was during Easter. During these small periods of time, slaves were not bothered by patrollers, overseers, and slave owners. During these periods of time, close by families could be rejoined and have a reunion. These reunions could be between siblings and parents, brothers and sisters, and husbands and wives. After the vacations ended, the families were split apart again and were sent to their respective plantations.