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Slavery as a Part of America’s History

More than two centuries of American history were overshadowed by such a terrible phenomenon as slavery when people were divided into white and black. Many articles, films, and books focus on this period of U. S. life. One of the videos of A Biography of America produced by WGBH Boston also strives to present a vast panorama of information related to slavery. The essential points discussed in this video include the attitude towards slavery of the South and the North of America, the slave life and culture, and slaves’ attempts to rebel.

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Although slavery was widespread only in the South of America, it is significant to realize that the North also had negative phenomena. Just as the Northerners accused the Southerners of slavery, the residents of the South found it horrible how the employers of the North treated their hired workers (Miller et al., 2000). Although these regions shared similar features and common cultural and economic affairs, slavery divided them. It was considered one of the most significant reasons for the absence of inner America’s unity: the North with its hired workers and manufactured goods urbanized, while the South with its slaves expanded the agriculture.

It is essential to know that even though the slave owners assured that the slaves were satisfied with their position, it would be wrong to believe it was true. According to the video, the slaves were just afraid to show their displeasure, knowing they might be sold to places where they would be treated even worse (Miller et al., 2000). Moreover, slave families were not protected from the situations when some members were sent to another area or suffered from the owner’s violation. As for slave culture, songs and fairy tales became an integral part of their lives. However, although others thought that slaves sang because they were happy with their life, their songs expressed their sorrow and pain (Miller et al., 2000). Thus, one of the essential purposes of this video is to show that the slave life was tough, sad, and challenging.

Not all slaves could put up with their position and started to rebel. There were several ways to fight the reality: religion, preserving marriages and blood relations, studying literacy, escape, and riot (Miller et al., 2000). It is possible to understand all wrongness of slavery, only familiarizing with the slaves’ attempts to rebel. The economy and someone’s wealth must not be reached due to exploitation and abuse of rightness people who cannot even protect themselves and their relatives. Using the stories of slaves, like Douglas, the authors of the video raise an important point that contributes to realizing by the modern human that slavery is not a way to achieve something.

The theme of American slavery still has several unclear points. It remains confusing why the Virginia legislature needed Turner’s insurrection to realize that slavery policies were wrong and why America’s legislature needed the Civil War to cancel slavery. As for the video, it is not completely clear why hired workers of the North were considered to be treated worse than slaves. It is a little confusing when it comes to the numbers: “less than 1 percent owned more than 50 slaves, this number accounted for one fourth of the nation’s slaves” (Miller et al., 2000, 7:00-7:08). Therefore, although the video is well-grounded and informative, there are several unclear moments.

This video describes the American slavery period in detail, touching on a few of the most critical points. It is significant to familiarize with such themes as America’s division, slave life, culture, and attempts to rebel to discover this part of American history from all sides. This video presents helpful information and allows viewers not only to know the historical data but understand how people really lived.


Miller, D. L., Maier, P., & Masur, L. P. (2000). A biography of America: Slavery [Video]. WGBH Boston.

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