Economy during the 1860s was very demanding when it came crops and maids. Many people wanted to own slaves in order to sell more produce. The more produce that was made or picked and sold by the families, the more money that was made.
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Little did people know they were the ones that helped built the economy in the 17th and 18th centuries. Due to that, cruelty towards slave families during the 1860s was a huge factor that went into being as slavery grew over the years. Slaves were on high demand as the cotton and tobacco fields grew. Most enslaved women were raped by their owners in order to bear children for the children to work on the plantations in the future. As one can see, the economy and slavery tie in perfectly with the way families were treated and what their conditions were during these harsh times; such as children were being forced to work in the fields and woman being abused; families were separated against their will and their living conditions were below normal.
In the book, Mrs. Dred Scott: A Life on Slaverys Frontier, the author, Lea VanderVelde, studys the life of Harriet Scott, the not so know wife of Dred Scott. The lawsuit and outcome of the Dred Scott case is known to many and even studied by some, but not all know that even she, Harriet Scott, sued to be freed. Instead of only focusing only on the court case that came to be, Lea VanderVelde also tries to talk about Harriet Scotts life entirely in order to help expand our knowledge and understanding of the freedom suite but also the struggles that slaves had to experience in a wider spectrum. This will be a troubling goal due to the shortage of records provided to the public about slaved people and enslaved people near the frontier.
VanderVelde addresses the challenge by looking through records that are valid and looking through anyone who owned or fired Harriet or Dred. In addition, they looked for people that were their neighbors and friends in order to get a sense of what world they lived in. By taking an approach to write a biography, she is able to make predictions and assumptions about the type of work that Harriet did in the past, where she used to live, and what type of relationships she had with those people that surrounded her on a daily basis. VanderVelde has in her possession diaries and letters of Lawrence Taliaferro, Harriets first owner in the frontier. His letters have been overlooked many times by historians, just like Harriet had been by many people, and not thoroughly reviewed. He was a diarist with journals including many details of past events that shaped the Scotts lives on the wilderness frontier- and presumably influenced the development of Harriets character.
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