Atlantic Slave Trade - effectiveness of slave resistance

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Atlantic Slave Trade - effectiveness of slave resistance

  1. 1. Slaves fought back against their owners and captors in different ways. However, was this resistance always effective?
  2. 2. Slave resistance took many different forms. Passive resistance included being late for work, working slowly or pretending to not understand owners. Active resistance included attacking owners, damaging crops or running away.
  3. 3. The success of slave resistance was generally based on two issues: • Reduced profits for the owner • Better treatment for the slaves
  4. 4. Reduced profits An owner’s main priority was to make as much money as possible. By working less, running away, damaging crops or other actions, slave owners would lose money.
  5. 5. Better treatment Owners did not want to lose money or feel unsafe. Some owners did improve their treatment of slaves, based on their resistance. Others felt it was easier to use workers, not slaves.
  6. 6. However slave resistance was not always effective, for four main reasons: • Threat of punishment • Chance of worse treatment • Difficulty escaping • Divisions between slaves
  7. 7. Threat of punishment Many slaves would not rebel because of the threat of punishment. They knew that anyone caught rebelling faced serious consequences, including whipping or even death.
  8. 8. Chance of worse treatment Other slaves did not rebel because they thought it would make life worse. They believed that even if they were not specifically punished, the owner might treat all slaves worse e.g. more work.
  9. 9. Difficulty escaping Most slaves did not try to escape because they knew that most escaped slaves were eventually recaptured. This meant that they would face punishment on their return.
  10. 10. Running away was difficult for slaves in the Caribbean because it was hard to escape from the islands. Slave owners also offered rewards which encouraged groups of slave hunters to track escaped slaves.
  11. 11. Divisions between slaves Slave rebellion also failed because of divisions between different slaves. Some slaves had extra privileges and did not want to lose these, so would support rebellion, or even warn the owner.
  12. 12. Ultimately slave resistance had limited impact. This is best shown in the fact that the trade continued for more than 200 years, showing it remained very profitable for owners.

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