What Is The Sambo Thesis

What Is The Sambo Thesis-53
How could slaves, who were themselves the master’s property, “steal” anything that the master owned?After all, the master’s ownership claims over the slave meant that he owned everything that the slave “owned.” When a slave staked claim to a master’s chicken, he merely transferred it to his stomach, or as Frederick Douglass put it, the slave was simply “taking [the master’s] meat out of one tub and putting it in another.” In addition to everyday forms of resistance, slaves sometimes staked more direct and overt claims to freedom.

How could slaves, who were themselves the master’s property, “steal” anything that the master owned?After all, the master’s ownership claims over the slave meant that he owned everything that the slave “owned.” When a slave staked claim to a master’s chicken, he merely transferred it to his stomach, or as Frederick Douglass put it, the slave was simply “taking [the master’s] meat out of one tub and putting it in another.” In addition to everyday forms of resistance, slaves sometimes staked more direct and overt claims to freedom.

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During the early years of slavery, runaways tended to consist mostly of African-born males.

Since African-born men were in the numerical majority through much of the eighteenth century, this should not surprise us.

If slave masters increased workloads, provided meager rations, or punished too severely, slaves registered their displeasure by slowing work, feigning illness, breaking tools, or sabotaging production.

These everyday forms of resistance vexed slave masters, but there was little they could do to stop them without risking more widespread breaks in production.

Men continued to be predominant among runaways, although women, and even entire families were increasingly likely to test their chances in the flight for freedom.

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As the Civil War unfolded, many slaves abandoned their masters’ plantations, sometimes joining the Union army in what many perceived to be a war to end slavery forever.Over 100 enslaved were killed, either in the combat or as retribution for the uprising.Another thirteen slaves were hanged, along with three free blacks.Hungry slaves reasoned that the master’s abundance should be shared with those who produced it.Second, slaves recognized the inherent contradiction of the master’s “theft” accusations.In this way, the enslaved often negotiated the basic terms of their daily routines.Of course, masters also stood to benefit from these negotiations, as contented slaves worked harder, increasing output and efficiency. Slaves pilfered fruits, vegetables, livestock, tobacco, liquor, and money from their masters.The theft of foodstuffs was especially common and was justified on several grounds.First, slave rations were often woefully inadequate in providing the nutrition and calories necessary to support the daily exertions of plantation labor. Sweet Professor, Department of History University of Wisconsin–Madison National Humanities Center Fellow ©National Humanities Center Slave resistance began in British North America almost as soon as the first slaves arrived in the Chesapeake in the early seventeenth century.As one scholar has put it, “slaves ‘naturally’ resisted their enslavement because slavery was fundamentally Forms varied, but the common denominator in all acts of resistance was an attempt to claim some measure of freedom against an institution that defined people fundamentally as property.

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