By 1860, almost 1/3 of the population was made up of slaves in the south.
Slaves’ lives didn’t matter to anyone. An owner of a slave could do anything to them. They thought of slaves as items you buy instead of human beings. If a slave didn’t work hard, their owner usually didn’t treat their slave well. Some owners treated their slaves well, so they would do good work because slaves were very expensive.
Some people did not treat slaves well. They sometimes beat slaves, and they also punished them very badly. The main reason for this is because the owners had complete power over their slaves, and they thought their slaves would work harder if they were afraid of being punished by their owners.
It was hard to keep a family together for slaves. This was because when slaves got sold, they would most likely get split up and would have to go to different plantations to work. Once a family member was sold away to another plantation, they sometimes would never see their family again.
To keep the slaves under control, the people of the south made laws about what slaves could and could not do. The slaves could not do the following:
|go outside after dark|
|gather in groups of three or more|
|leave their owner’s property without a written pass|
|learn to read or write|