Frederick Douglass is born into society as a slave, but soon grows to become rebellious with a strong willpower to be a free man. The laws in America were designed to secure the subordination of slaves, and also free blacks, to white authority (Kolchin, 127) reducing black independence. Laws such as blacks not being allowed to testify against whites in court or blacks not being able to learn how to read and write affected Douglass while he was a slave.
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To keep slaves from rebelling, whites would control them by using whips, intimidation, religion, slave codes, and possibly death to, create a habit of perfect dependence (Kolchin, 119).
Literature was handed out to slave owners so they could know how to properly manage and control their property. Political and social standards encouraged slave owners to be less harsh when it came to disciplining their slaves. The new laws wanted them to act more Christian towards their slaves, making slave owners rethink their morals. Many whites were encouraged to treat slaves like family, even though most slaves were treated like savages or in the traditional way where they used to treat the enslaved.
Furthermore, Douglass explains about slaves who had no family, were treated cruelly and usually they were forced to work more than those who had family. The most common way to control and discipline blacks was whipping. Douglass describes of witnessing different masters and overseers swing a blood-clotted cowskin until fatigue to the body of his own aunts (Douglass, 343). He recalls them being tied up and whipped. Whipping was commonly used to enforce rulership of slave owners and it was also used as a consequence if a slave did not perform as expected or simply broke a rule of the plantation. Douglass summarizes how overseers would whip slaves for their own sadistic desires. The prevalence of whipping was such a stark reminder of slave dependence that to bondspeople the lash came to symbolize the essence of slavery (Kolchin, 121).
Douglass additionally specifies witnessing and hearing about deaths of slaves by the hands of whites while they were still in their childhood. Acts of violence were regularly acted due to laws that blacks could not testify against whites, and the vast majority of whites escaped detention, let alone punishment (Kolchin, 130). An overseer of the plantation, Mr. Gore, killed Demby, for not coming to him when he was called. He killed Demby in front of other slaves and threatened them that they are potentially next. Douglass quotes that killing a slave, or any other colored person, in Talbot country, Maryland, is not treated as a crime (Douglass, 357). The frequent use of strong order and intimidation ensured leadership of the plantation.
On the other hand, interference in the family lives of slaves stood as the starkest reminder of their dependent status (Kolchin,
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