Slavery and Resistance in American History

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Africans used to be sold slaves in the United States. After serving for a period as slaves to the Whites, the blacks started demonstrating their resistance to the oppressive system of slavery through running away from their places of slavery and organizing rebellions. Because of slaves’ mistreatment and being overworked, they engaged in different forms of resistance; whereby they expressed their alienation from the slave masters. Slavery was an issue which was condemned by many Africans or African Americans because of the sufferings that the specific slaves and their families were experiencing in the hands of their masters. Daily resistance was a common form of slavery opposition, which began in British North America after the arrival of slaves in the Chesapeake in the 19th

Century. Although Africans were forced into slavery by the Americans by requiring them to serve them in their plantations and homes, Africans continued rebelling and resisting being used as slaves and engaged in different forms of resistance, which saw them through to their freedom.

            Slave trade was a common business before the 19th century, whereby Africans were sold to White Americans to serve them in their homes and plantations. Consequently, slavery generates a strong economic system in America because slaves worked in cotton and other cash crop plantations and enabled the owners of those plantations to generate a lot of revenue and make a profit from their slavery.  All those who were engaged in slavery were denied their freedom, and this made them resist and rebel against their position as slaves through forming groups, which they used to express the alienation from their masters. Because of the increased resistance from slave owners, slaves persisted with their attacks until when they were finally free.

What Do You Think?

It is evident that Africans were transported to the United States and sold as slaves. Slave owners identified them as their property; therefore they would use them to collect the desired revenue by overworking them in their plantations. Africans and Americans in the United States were legally engaged in enslavement that was existing in the 18th and 19th

century. According to the argument put forth by Acharya, Blackwell, & Sen, (2016), by being enslaved, Africans were denied their rights, as they were exercised by White people. Slaves through the guidance by their leaders engaged in different attacks which they planned well before accomplishing their mission.

From the beginning of slavery, the enslaved Africans tried to rebel and resist against being used as slaves in different ways. Slaves never accepted their situation of being victimized, and as articulated by van Helmond, (2009), they proved their determination and strength by fighting for their freedom. Gates Jr, (2014) identifies that rebellion and uprising were the most common and blood methods that slaves managed to resist their enslavement. As slaves worked in plantations, they would also steal the produce from their owners, therefore hindering their realization of the expected profit. Bailey, (2012) adds that slaves could also damage the machinery used in the plantations as a way of resisting work and to make the owners incur huge costs trying to repair the destroyed machinery. Boster, (2013) argues that slaves would also attack the slave owners and pregnant women would abort of killing the newborn to rebel against the flow of slavery system. Women and children suffered equally with men since women and their children were held up by slave masters.

What Do You Do?

I interviewed a lecturer, Mrs. K, who lectures History classes and who have done many types of research with the investigation about slavery and resistance being included and who has published different articles about American History and Changes in America Since the 19th Century. During the interview, Mrs. K answered my few questions into details, and this enabled me to gain more understanding regarding slavery and resistance in American History. The interview session began with an informal introduction and greetings between us. The interviewee was free to share with me all she knew about slavery in America and her opinion regarding what could be done to ensure that slavery would be no more. She also gave her ideas about what should be done in America to end racism.

During the interview, I managed to realize that slavery was something very immoral and inhuman because the enslaved people were taken like nothing important in the hands of their owners and the masters. Besides, the interviewee enabled me to gain the knowledge that the system of slavery was something well planned and aimed at enabling the White Americans who owned large cotton plantations to get labor at no cost. This means that White Americans were taking Black people like animals or even worse based on how they were treating them and denying them their rights. During the interview, I was analyzing the responses given by the interviewee and realized that Americans are always harsh towards the Black people and they do not live them or want to be associated with them play carefully. Indeed, I was silently listening from the interviewee as she answered my questions so that I may understand her to stand on the issue of slavery and resistance.

Through the conduct of the interview, I managed to know that slavery was a system against the human rights of the Black people. I also realized that, given a chance, many people would condemn the practice of slavery and would demand the compensation of those who were enslaved and their families because of the sufferings they went through. In general, the interview process was effective, and it was possible to interact with the interviewee and understand more about slavery and resistance from her perspective and based on research and expertise.

In conclusion, slavery was the practice of selling and buying slaves in America. The enslaved African Americans were overworked and mistreated by their owners and masters. Besides, slaves and their families were denied their rights. Some died in the cotton and other plantations serving because of the hardships and problems they encountered while working. Consequently, slaves started resisting and rebelling against being in that position. For their resistance, they would engage in the uprising and rebellion movements. Slaves also destroyed their machinery for the owners to incur costs. Slaves would also pretend to be sick to run away and escape the hardships. Men and women were equally mistreated, and their children were denied parental care and love. After the conduct of several attacks while resisting, slavery ended in the 19th century. It would be necessary for the Americans to stop racism, which is equalized with the past slavery as it also involves African Americans.

Interview Questions and Answers

Me: Who were the victims of slavery?

Mrs. K: The Africans and African Americans were the ones most affected by slavery because the White Americans identified as not equal.

Me: What was the status of the system of slavery on the side of those enslaved?

Mrs. K: To begin with, slaves were generally treated badly and in an unfriendly way. Slaves were sold like properties. Therefore the buyer and the seller did not have humane feelings towards the enslaved Africans. Besides, the enslaved individuals were put in the slavery system with the intention of using them to acquire the determined profits and performance in owner’s plantations. Slaves were used as free labor in the cotton and other plantations whereby they were required to work all the time and perform difficult tasks under the supervision of their masters. Besides, in the case of a family, the man was separated from the woman, as well as children who were also put aside. Slavery, in general, led to the separation of families. Slaves were denied their rights. In other words, they were not allowed to exercise their freedom. Through the brutal treatment of slaves, some of them retained injuries while others died while still serving in those plantations. The force was used by the masters to ensure that slaves were always working and not having time to rest made slaves develop negative experience, which they would not endure anymore, thus starting rebelling.

Me: How were slaves rebelling or resisting slavery?

Mrs. K: the enslaved Africans started rebelling against slavery from the beginning. They expressed their resistance in different ways, such as uprising. Some slaves were even destroying the tools and machinery given to them in the plantations so that their owners would incur high costs repairing them. Although it was challenging, some slaves pretended to be sick or unwell and would run away whenever possible.

Me: Do you compare today's racism with historical slavery?

Mrs. K: Yes, racism, especially in the United States majorly affects the Black people or African Americans the same with the historical slavery. The way Whites used to treat the African Americans who were enslaved is the same with how the African Americans are treated by the other Americans. To me, the slavery that affected Africans still affects them because, in America, Black people are denied their rights. There is no equality in different sectors, such as education and employment sectors. I would urge the American government to embrace equality and serve as an example to other Americans by having a welcoming heart to all despite the differences.


Acharya, A., Blackwell, M., & Sen, M. (2016). The political legacy of American slavery. The Journal of Politics, 78(3), 621-641.

Bailey, C. (2012). Fight the Power: African American Humor as a Discourse of Resistance. Western Journal of Black Studies, 36(4).

Boster, D. H. (2013). African American Slavery and Disability: Bodies, Property, and Power in the Antebellum South, 1800-1860. Routledge.

Gates Jr, H. L. (2014). The signifying monkey: A theory of African American literary criticism. Oxford University Press.

Van Helmond, W. (2009). The Struggle for Freedom. Homœopathic Links, 22(02), 93-98.

November 13, 2023


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