Shaping of American History

Essay by sandra_j21University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Slaves played an extremely active role in shaping the history of American slavery. Visualize that the entire Southern slave populace decided that they were sick of being dominated, and defied all of the slave holders and white men. What could the slave owners have done? Their slaves were their prosperity and their key labor force. Southerners refined life depended upon them. Without slaves, the colossal and lucrative plantations could never have been maintained.

James Hammond's efforts to dominate his slaves never really worked out the way he had envisioned it. Hammond felt that the slaves were not efficient and that they did whatever they wanted to. He intended to quickly subdue his slaves with a blend of physical punishment and mental power. He overlooked the uniqueness of every individual and all of the slaves needs. Hammond tried his best to thrust white religion on the slaves so that they would forget their own religion. If Hammond had succeeded in taking away the slaves religion they would have had absolutely nothing left to call their own. The black religion strengthened the black community it gave them hope and faith. Hammond wanted the slaves to attend the white church because by doing so they would be taught that if they obeyed their masters and did their job the best they could that they would be rewarded in heaven. He was greatly opposed to the black church because it taught the slaves that everyone was created equal.

Slave resistance appeared in many forms. However it was not always successful. Some people might even have considered it suicide for slaves to disobey their masters. Slaves knew that it was futile to be obvious about rebelling. Slaves tried to rebel in more subtle ways. Sometimes they would steal or poison their masters. The...