At one point in time slavery was at center of almost all civilizations. Slaves from Africa were looked upon as a nonperson, or as many put it they were given a social death, which made it much easier to enslave them because people were easily able to enslave “outsiders” or those who were different. The way slavery has been viewed and used in past societies may not seem appalling to many people due to the ideas and beliefs that were brought with the idea of slavery it self; and since it was such a common phenomenon, even in Africa, many did not find it appalling while some thought of it as ghastly. Many researchers have proven that as well as the whole world, Africa, too has taken a part in slavery with almost the same severity; it was just not exposed as much as it was in the Americas.
In Africa, slavery was an important part of society and also primarily connected to the economy. Many conditions that occurred were differ from those that took place in the Americas, but they were closely related to chattel slavery that took place elsewhere. Even accepted in old texts of ancient India, the Old Testament, and writings of 5th century Greece.As we search back in history it is evident that slavery was not looked upon as a way to racially discriminate a person. The difference in the status of slave and master was readily seen, making it easier for the enslavement of slaves. Racism as this is not what led to modern slavery, it was the ideas and beliefs that they were brought up with or had seen throughout their life.
They found it easier to treat “outsiders” or people with different traits harsher than their own, though many still did that also. It was the difference in culture, language, color, and physical characteristics that most commonly facilitated slavery. The people of this time were not terrible people, but they weren’t taught otherwise, so not much different could be expected. Many thought of slavery as necessary and a natural phenomenon that existed in many societies.As described in the ancient texts, this idea is also evident through philosophers and theologies as well.
Aristotle clearly stated, ” Some people were born to rule and other to serve.” While at the same time in Christian theologies it is said, ” Although all people may be free in spirit in the Kingdom of God, servitude was a necessary reality in the real world.” It was a part of natural order in the world, and the people didn’t go against it. In the time periods that these ideas were released people didn’t know any better. They were followers of their religion and lived mainly by what it said.
If they were taught ideas as such, than they would believe it, for they were illiterate and couldn’t interpret this for themselves. Though it was not as harsh, even the peasants and lower class or poor were paying servitude to the king, which in some form was like slavery, without the harsh doings. It seems as though if you had the power or wealth you were the one being served and if you did not have the power you would do the serving.No man can enslave another for 400 years without building the attitude of superiority, said Charles Boxer and English historian. The need for labor beyond the need of the individual or family is very old and before any law or authority could be established to set conditions many tribes, states, priests, and some other groups extracted labor by force.
Voices may have been raised against this ill treatment, bur at the time conditions of servitude were widely common was considered a part of the natural order of the world. Though there were some restrictions put on masters, slaves were given no say in what will happen with their life and neither were the provided a sense of family or kinship. The honor associated with family or lineage was denied to slaves, the antithesis of slavery, as many would say. A slave was a slave, no matter how high off their position may have been.
No matter what the circumstance, they were puppets to the wills’ of their masters. The fact that they were slaves and unconstrained by kinship or other ties and obligations made it easier for them to be trusted.Now it is argued about what led the modern world to slavery. We have texts to date back slavery atleast as far as 5th century Greece, so it can be seen that it has been around for many thousands of years. Though, it is also understood that in those regions and time periods slavery was not as widespread as it became in the Atlantic slave trade with Africa, it was still around and kept building up leading to this one event. African societies did not live in isolation from the pressures and examples of the world’s economy, into which they were drawn into. Europeans demand for captive labor was the pressure on the Africans.
It wasn’t viewed as anything terrible in that time period and was used as commonly throughout the world and in many civilizations.