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Slavery in colonial America

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  1. Resistance and rebellion
  2. Policies to keep power

During the centuries that slavery was practiced in colonial America, the threat of rebellion was a constant cause of concern for slave owners. In order to avoid rebellion and uprising, white slave-owners in colonial America would engage in various methods of inhumane treatment, and set in place a system of injustice to further their own nefarious goals. However, this did not mean that slaves would simply accept this treatment. While mass organized slave rebellion was rare and almost non-existent, slaves adopted various methods to resist and rebel against their masters trying to make the practice of slavery difficult for their owners.

[...] Still, the ideal retribution was to run away. It is not exactly known how many slaves managed to run away, but it was a significant enough number to warrant rewards and classifieds to be posted for the return of escapees. There were various goals the newly escaped slaves endeavored for; while some wanted freedom, while others ran away to see the family members they were separated from. This was an effective way of resisting subservience, a successful slave gained not only his freedom but hurt the slave-owner economically from lost work and reward costs that had to be issued for the slave's return. [...]


[...] Some slaves chose to attack in an indirect method; opting to poison their masters or dispatch them with arson. It was safer to use these methods as they wouldn't run as great a risk of being caught, but the paranoia that enveloped the slave owners made sure that any unusual occurrence: a barn fire or a strange illness or death, was blamed on slaves, who would then be ?properly? punished, even if no foul play was actually committed. Similarly, slaves often practiced sabotage, with mixed results. [...]

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