What is Chattel Slavery: Characteristics and Significance
What is Chattel slavery
Throughout history, chattel slavery has existed in different forms. Chattel slaves were often used as forced labor in agriculture, mining, and industry. Such slaves were either owned by a master or leased to a plantation by their owner, who could be an individual or a group of investors. Once the work was completed, slaves could be sold for money or kept for further labor (or neither). Slave trading was also common; individuals or organizations would buy or sell human beings for use as forced laborers.
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Chattel slavery is one of the cruelest forms of slavery in history. Chattel slaves were considered the property of their owners and could be bought, sold, or leased. Chattel slaves also served their owners for life and were passed on to an owner’s heirs upon death or when the owner retired from the workforce.
Chattel slavery was most prevalent in the Americas and first appeared after the European colonization of the New World. In North America, chattel slavery became especially prominent in the Southern colonies during early settlement. Many factors contributed to chattel slavery’s spread in the United States, including indentured servitude for immigrants, laws restricting free blacks’ land ownership, and various slave codes.
Origin of Chattel slavery
Chattel slavery traces its way back to Egypt. It was here that society adopted the practice of using human beings as property or chattel. Over time, slavery spread to Greece, Rome, and China. In the New World, chattel slavery began in the early 16th century after the arrival of European. Chattel slavery was abolished on December 18, 1865, after the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution was adopted.
How does Chattel slavery dehumanize black people
Chattel slavery dehumanizes black people by reducing them to property. Since chattel slaves were legally classified as property, they were stripped of their rights and identities as human beings. Chattel slaves had no reproductive control and could not marry or form familial relationships with any other slaves. They could not be free, even if they had once been free before being enslaved again. Chattel slavery was so dehumanizing that many slaves endured mental anguish, which may have led to them being psychologically cut off from themselves and the world around them. Chattel slavery made black people loose their ethnic identity due to being subjected to inhuman experiences. In addition, slave owners blackmailed their slaves by threatening to sell them in the slave markets, where they would be separated from loved ones and forced to work under unsafe conditions. As a result, owners were able to coerce their slaves into submission.
The dehumanization of chattel slaves was evident in how they were treated at the end of their lives. Chattel slaves were worked until they died of overwork or disease or were physically broken down. Their owners would often neglect to care for their slaves’ medical needs. In addition, chattel slaves were often punished for their owners’ transgressions, leading to even more suffering.
General characteristic of Chattel slavery
1. Chattel slaves were legally considered the property of their owners and could be bought, sold, or leased.
2. Chattel slaves also served their owners for life and were passed on to an owner’s heirs upon death or when the owner retired from the workforce.
3. Chattel slaves had no reproductive control and could not marry or form familial relationships with any other slaves.
4. Chattel slavery was so dehumanizing that many slaves endured mental anguish, which may have led to them being psychologically cut off from themselves and the world around them.
The historical significance of the Chattel slavery
The historical significance of chattel slavery includes:
1. Almost every country that ever existed engaged in chattel slavery before 1865, including the United States, France, Spain, England, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
2. Chattel slavery was so prevalent in 17th-century America that the two major political factions of the time were the pro-slavery and anti-slavery parties.
3. Slavery (chattel slavery) existed among all the indigenous peoples of North America before the Europeans arrived. Their slaves were often treated inhumanely.
4. Chattel slavery was a part of global trade from the 16th century to the 18th century and was common in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.
5. The Atlantic Slave Trade involved about 20 million Africans being sold as slaves during this period, one of the most atrocious and horrific human rights abuses in history.