Slavery Role in the American Literature Essay

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Feb 14th, 2021


In the period between the sixteenth and the eighteenth century, a number of European countries led by Portugal and Spain went to Africa to search for slaves. It is said that, during this period, the agrarian revolution had just taken off and as a result, more man power was needed to work in the plantations that were being established in America. In addition, the modern day United States of America was witnessing massive migration of Europeans.

Most of them carried with them this agrarian technology, a situation that made them require a lot of people to work for them. This was because the land was in plenty and very few laborers were available to work there. They therefore turned to African and especially in West Africa where they shipped out millions of young and energetic men to work in the plantations. This is what came to form the modern day Africa American community in the United State of America.

Identify and discuss how Stowe uses biblical images to incite a strong response to oppose slavery

Slavery is not a unique phenomenon amongst Christians. This is because the Bible narrates a story of how Jacob’s children became slaves in Egypt. To begin with, we find that Stowe has noted that between 1780 and1830, the religious groups tried in vain to pressurize the government to abolish slavery in both the north and south of the United States of America. She has observed that in their letters they argued that the Black people are not sub human beings.

They have stated that God created all human beings equal and therefore no one should oppress the other for his or her own gains. Stowe has said that the anti slavery groups argued that it was not possible to have the White Christians oppressing the Black Christians counterparts.

In addition, we find that the issue of morality has also been addressed. Stowe has claimed that the anti slavery groups questioned the morality of the white Christians who were at the fore front in the oppression of the Black people. The Bible teachings emphasizes on people to be of high morality. However, this was in contrast with what the White Christians in the United States were doing. She has further observed that the anti slavery crusaders found it untrue that the Blacks were being favored by being brought from Africa to the United States of America. She says that many people died on the way in the course of being transported, which would certainly be termed as murder.

One of commandments in the Holy Bible dictates that no one should kill the other. Stowe has observed that those people who advocated for slavery regarded it as a way of saving Africans from the misery in their former lands. However, those who were strongly opposed to this argued that it was only God who could bring salvation to human kind. As a result, the anti slavery campaigners claimed that if slaves were being saved, then they should be let free so that the salvation aspect become meaningful.

The Biblical teachings do not advocate for war or wrangles amongst people in any given society. However, due to non observance of these teachings, Stowe has claimed that there was a lot of conflict and war as the southerners refused to let go of slaves in the United States of America. She argues that the White Americans were of the opinion that war is good. Names such as Augustine St. Claire have been used to represent their godlessness; that is they are known to serve their own pleasures. This is in contrast with what the word saint is used to signify among the Christians. Therefore, the Whites on one hand supported the Christian teachings but on the other hand failed to execute what those teachings talked of.

Discuss how Jacobs’ journals reinforce the attitude of the Whites that slaves were inferior and/or childlike and needed to be “parented.”

The Whites have for a long time regarded the Black community as inferior to them. To them, that was an illustration that the Black people could not do or discover anything on their own without the assistance of the White people. Although these remarks have been proved to be inaccurate over the years, during the slavery period, the Whites regarded the Black people as sub humans. As a result, they would treat them the same they would to other animals which were not equal to a human being.

According to Yellin (2004), Harriet Ann Jacobs was a Black woman and therefore born a slave in 1813. However, as she grew up she managed to run away from slavery. He has noted that despite being a poor woman, she managed to write several articles to different people showing them how slavery had impacted on the lives of the Blacks in the United States of America. He has claimed that at one point, Jacobs managed to travel to United Kingdom where she found out that people were not discriminated on basis of their skin color.

This motivated her to come up with an abolitionist movement that would help free all the enslaved the Blacks in her country. He however notes that most of her writings revolved around how she would get assistance from other people in her society. This, according to the Whites, amounts to dependency which should not be the case if a person is healthy and able to work. Therefore, he argues that this is one way in which the Whites’ superiority over the Black community is manifested.

Furthermore, Garfield (1996) has observed that Jacobs organized and helped in the construction of barracks for the freed men in her society. However, he has noted that only about 500 people could be accommodated in those houses out of the 1500 targeted. This is a clear demonstration of how the Black people were disorganized in their work. It was hoped that if the White man was in charge of such construction, the total number of people envisaged to be housed would be met. This is an indication that the Blacks needed to be taught more on how to conduct their work by the Whites.

How the beliefs of Lincoln about God and the country are reflected in his address to congress. How do you think he perceived of his role as president within this “spiritual” conflict

Lincoln has remained a key figure in the United States politics because of the role he played in ensuring that slaves were set free. According to Abraham Lincoln, God created all human beings to be equal and therefore no one should have the right to oppress the other because of their racial or political affiliations. As a result, he marshaled the congress in passing laws that set the slaves free.

In addition, we find that Abraham Lincoln believed that people should be let to decide what they want to do other than be coerced. He observed that God created man and let him do whatever pleased him as long as he stuck to the guidelines that God had given him. This was meant to call upon slave owners to let them free.

As a president of the United States, Lincoln knew that it was not easy to persuade slave owners to emancipate slaves because this was the order of the day in many parts of the country. However, he knew that as a president he had the power to punish those who went against his directives. He however knew that he had to approach this matter cautiously not to be seen as slave’s sympathizer to avoid loosing faith amongst the electorate.


Slavery caused a lot of pain not only to the people directly enslaved but also to their relatives and friends who had to see such people being shipped for slavery. Although this trade is no longer visible in the contemporary world, more still need to be done to protect other people from witnessing what the slaves went through in the past. People should learn to co exist with one another so that racial and other forms of discrimination are eliminated.

It should be the role of the modern day governments to pass strict laws that makes it illegal for a person to discriminate the other on basis of race, religion, political or gender. This is a move that will go a long way in making sure that the world is a peaceful place to live in.

Reference List

Garfield, D. (1996). Harriet Jacobs and Incidents in the life of a slave girl: new critical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yellin, J. (2004). Harriet Jacobs: A Life. New York: Basic Civitas Books.

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