African Studies

Essay by butterflyboogieCollege, UndergraduateA+, June 2009

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AbstractIt was a journey from slavery to freedom which shows Americans, Africans, and Caribbean's in crisis and how that point in time was resolved. Slavery as an issue in America was in constant conflict with the founding Democratic principles of this nation. Slavery therefore became the ultimate test of disunity within the union of states which were already at odds in a democracy espousing freedom for its people. At the center of this conflict were the Africans who were bought, sold, and used as workers on American soil. The use of slave labor was a well known practice for years in the world.

1). An estimated 15 million Africans were transported to the Americas between 1540 and 1850. To maximize their profits slave merchants carried as many slaves as was physically possible on their ships. A House of Commons committee in 1788 discovered that one slave-ship, The Brookes, was originally built to carry a maximum of 451 people, but was carrying over 600 slaves from Africa to the Americas.

Chained together by their hands and feet, the slaves had little room to move. It has been estimated that only about half of the slaves taken from Africa became effective workers in the Americas. A large number of slaves died on the journey from diseases such as smallpox and dysentery. Others committed suicide by refusing to eat. Many of the slaves were crippled for life as a consequence of the way they were chained up on the ship.

By the 17th century slaves could be purchased in Africa for about $25 and sold in the Americas for about $150. After the slave-trade was declared illegal, prices went much higher. Merchants could expect to make tremendous profits from the trade. At the end of the 14th century Europeans started to take people...