4. effectiveness of slave resistance

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  • 1. LEARNING INTENTIONS • Describe the successes and limitations of slave resistance
  • 2. Slaves fought back against their owners and captors in different ways. However, was this resistance always effective?
  • 3. 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.
  • 4. The success of slave resistance was generally based on two issues: • Reduced profits for the owner • Better treatment for the slaves
  • 5. 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.
  • 6. 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.
  • 7. However slave resistance was not always effective, for five main reasons: • Punishments • Duration of slavery • Likelihood of capture for escaped slaves • Problems for slaves • Owner profits
  • 8. Punishments Slaves could actively resist their owners, but this often meant that they would be punished. In extreme cases this could even result in them being killed.
  • 9. Duration of slavery Slaves resisted their owners throughout their lives, however slavery still existed for around 200 years. This suggests these rebellions had limited effect.
  • 10. Likelihood of capture Some slaves tried to escape, however almost all returned or were captured. Once they returned they faced harsh punishment, meaning their escape had little effect.
  • 11. Problems for slaves Many slave rebellions resulted in the slaves getting worst treatment than before they started. Slaves also had to go as far as killing themselves (as on the Middle Passage).
  • 12. Owners’ profits Although slave resistance could hurt an owner’s profits, slave owners were still very wealthy and made a lot of money. The fact that slavery continued for so long proves this.