How Slavery Changed History and Impacted Society
Slavery was a practice in various countries during the 17th and 18th centuries. Statistics has proved that there were more than six million slaves around the globe in the 18th century. As stated by Koch, slavery refers to a state of captivity or subjugation that involves complete control and ownership by a master and the performance of degrading labor. Slavery was invented in the ancient Mesopotamia during the ancient conflicts of conquest. The world’s slave trade was focused on Africa where the North and South America would acquire slaves either through trading or raids by the Arabs. It has been recorded that from the 17th century to the 19th century, most European colonial economies in the United States were dependent on the cheap labor provided by the African slaves for their survival. Therefore, despite the fact that slavery greatly affected the lives of innocent people, it also led to an enormous growth and development of the ancient American colonies. Besides, slavery brought a social gap that has not been bridged to date. As stated by Fraklin and Moses, ‘slavery redefined history of many countries in the world as slaves gained new identity in places that they were sold.’ This essay seeks to discuss ways in which slavery has changed the world’s history and impacted the society through economic development, introduction of capital, cultural influence, Civil War, and establishment of religious and political freedom.
There are various ways in which slavery changed the word’s history and impacted the society and among them is the economic development of various states. As stated by Davis (1984), most countries used the labor provided by slaves as a means to an economic end. According to Davis, slavery has a historic impact in the sense that it played a major role in expanding the Western world. That is because they enrolled the slaves into their plantations where they worked on their crops that they later sold to other states. That, therefore, enabled their economies to thrive and grow. For example, in South America, slaves were used to cultivate the intensive cash crops such as sugar and tobacco. These luxury products had a high demand that was met by the slave-driven supply of labor. Besides, large farms of the Roman Empire such as Latifundias were only made successful by the Mediterranean slave trade that made it possible for them to acquire cost-effective labor from slaves, thus reducing their labor costs. However, slavery also impeded the industrialization in some states such as the South regions thus affecting its history. Initially, the Southern slave owners viewed slaves as stupid people who could not understand machinery. As a result, the Southern regions ignored the use of machinery since they believed that they were too complex for these people to understand. This, therefore, hindered the industrialization of the region, thus making it inferior to others in terms of its industrialization. This, therefore, has affected the world’s history since some states have been ranked as superior to others in terms of their economic dominance that was made possible through slavery and the slave trade. Besides, the development and growth of the economies experienced during this period are still evident today.
As stated by Kirkpatrick and Schwarz, slavery and slave trade led to the development of a capitalist society thus changing the world’s history that was based on barter trade. The reason is that slaves were traded for wares that were cumbersome to handle and carry and this brought the need for a simpler method of payment. At this juncture, there was an introduction of coins in various denominations that set the stage for the introduction of more money in various countries that were involved in slave trade. The introduction of money later spread to other parts of the world. This greatly impacted the world’s history since people use money that was introduced during this era to perform their transactions. Further, this has impacted on the society since it has brought a unit of measure that evaluates the value of a commodity.
Moreover, many scholars argue that slavery created racism through identifying the artificial categories of whites and Blacks, hence changing the word’s history and impacting on the society. The ideas of the indentured servant and the beliefs of the black inferiority and the white superiority were imposed upon the African servants to justify the issue of slavery. These ideas have affected the World’s history since most of the people still view the Blacks as lesser being as compared to the whites. A clear scenario of how racism created during slavery continues to affect the society is depicted in the public reaction in the case of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin killings. Many whites desperately believed that Black teenagers are ‘muggers’ thus should be killed for trying to show the public how tough they are. Additionally, slavery allowed empires to be built and this changed the world’s history. For instance, slaves were used as soldiers in the Middle East. This had a significant backlash later on the state’s history when these soldiers revolted and collapsed the empire. The slave-soldiers formed their countries such as Mamluks that brought the empire to its knees. Besides, the Roman Empire, which is a major influence on the world, was built on the backbone of slavery. With its conversion to Christianity, the empire changed Europe, therefore, changing the way the entire globe worked as it rose and fell throughout the centuries. Further, important historical sites were built as a result of slavery. For example, pyramids of Egypt which influence the history and the society were constructed through slave labor.
Consequently, slavery led to massive cultural influence, language, religion (Afro-Christianity), music, and food. Statistics has shown that one out of seven Americans is descended from the intermarriages between slaves and Americans. Franklin and Moss (2011) elucidate that the contemporary society has undergone a tremendous metamorphosis in a set up as modern day tries to assimilate people from different backgrounds that were brought together by the issue of slavery. Therefore, slavery changed the world’s history since it is viewed as a form of human progress because as slaves worked to change the social and economic appearance of their masters, they also gained some benefits. Moreover, Lovejoy (2011) argues that slavery has had an impact on the contemporary world in the sense that the lives of slaves after gaining freedom were instrumental in shaping the way of life of other people.
In the American history, it is evident that slavery was a major cause of the Civil War. This is because slavery contributed to the conflict between confederacy and union. Scholars claim that slavery led to reconstruction, segregation, and the civil rights movements that are a great part of the world’s history. The Civil War tore countries apart and up to today there are countries that still have the enmity. In today’s world, slavery has impacted on the society through the creation of underground smuggling of people particularly females into new black market businesses. People view slavery as a profitable business that is too valuable to ignore thus engaging in human trafficking activities.
Further, slavery has changed history through creating political and religious freedom as the slaves tried to escape oppression. During the 18th century, the idea of a person worth and individualism was greatly respected as stated by the Christianity religion. As a result, individuals who were Christians were not taken into slavery since the religious values advocated for personal growth and development. In an attempt to avoid slavery, most Africans converted to Christianity, and this brought disparities in the religions since some of them converted to Islamic religion to avoid kidnapping by Arabs. This has, therefore, shaped the world’s history and impacted the society since most individual morals are influenced by their religious values. Besides, the issue of religion is still prevalent in today’s world.
In conclusion, it is apparent that slavery greatly changed history and also impacted on the society. For instance, slavery led to growth and development of economies of various states that is still evident today. Moreover, the labor provided by slaves in the agricultural sector enabled their masters to acquire wealth that improved their living standards, hence economic growth. Slavery also allowed empires and great historical sites such as the Egyptian pyramids to be built. Besides, it led to the establishment of great people such as Aristotle and Alexander the Great who mentored the colonial leaders, thus affecting the world’s history. Further, slavery also created the issue of racism that has continually brought enmity in our society since some people are viewed as lesser beings as compared to others. The problem of Civil War that tore down some states making them unable to recover from their economic destruction is another way that shows how slavery changed history and impacted on the society. Further, slavery led to the political and religion freedom as slaves tried to escape oppression. The reason is that Christianity valued human dignity thus most Christian families were not enslaved. Besides, others were converted to Islamic religion to avoid being kidnapped by the Arabs.