From First Contact to the Civil War Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1657 Words
Date:  2022-05-17

The year 1619 is one of the years in the history of the world as it was marked by subjugation and torture of Africans that were first displayed by the Dutch. The delivery of Africans to America marked the inception of a slavery system that eventually subjected the captives into inhuman treatments that were characterized by torture, being overtasked and lack of respect for human dignity. The effects of slavery are still being felt update by the individuals who were directly and indirectly affected. The first African slaves were captured in the colony of Jamestown in North America where they worked as farmers in the production of profitable crops such as tobacco (Kirker, 2013). After the realization of the effectiveness of the first bunch of slaves in labor, more slaves were shipped to America to help in building the commercial establishment of the country. The obtuse movement later became rampant leading to dreadful shipment of Africans under inhuman conditions to North America. The inhumane activity eventually spread to all American colonies where the salves were subjected to all manner of brutalities. The hopes of the slaves were revived in the mid-nineteenth century when the abolition of slavery movement was started to end the slave trade and protect the lives of slaves that were subjected to extreme mistreatment. However, the action initiated a civil war that lasted between 1961 and 1965. The primary objective of this paper is to assess two parts of the society, discuss the practical ways through which the survival of African-American from the colonial times through civil war, was connected to the traditions of West Africa. The paper also reviews a personal rationale of two events between the period of slavery that shows the ability that the enslaved and free African-Americans had in overcoming legal limitations on the claim for dignity and self-respect.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

One of the most outstanding features of the African continent is its sense of creativity. Agriculture is the primary source of income; hence most Africans are skillful farmers who are used to hard labor. Unlike the original white farmers who were very weak and quickly fell sick, the people of West Africa did not struggle so much when they were taken to work in the vast plantations of their oppressors since they were used to farming. However, the conditions that they were subjected to in such plantations were inhuman and highly against the rights of human beings. It is quite evident that the Europeans must have noticed how diligent and loyal they were in their work. Since they were used to hard labor and were skillful in growing crops, the slaves were considered as the best candidates for farming (Kirker, 2013). Agriculture in West Africa is widely practiced by the majority of the people living there who grow crops, rear livestock and work on angling. There are different objectives of farming as some people carry out farming for family sustenance, while others work in plantations to be paid and some people do farming for commercial purposes. As early as before slavery, agriculturists in West Africa were acutely aware of seasonal agricultural patterns and worked extra hard to meet the needs of their families. Hence, it was their character to be dedicated to their work, an important feature that played a huge role in the survival of slaves in the plantations. Their adaptations to extreme work conditions coupled with their constant work inclination were part of the West African culture that enabled them to get through the provincial time and conventional war. The slaves were practical individuals who at times would resist forced labor despite the fact that work was their way of life in Africa. Their first subjection to grueling circumstances and way of life prepared them for the harsh conditions, which occasionally was characterized by torture (Du, 2007, p. xx). The subjugated and free Africans were both going through severe hardship, but their positivity and perseverance that characterized their resilience enabled them to be free from the oppressors eventually. Despite many Africans being subjected to brutality during the early days of slavery, some of them came as obligated hirelings during the early days of imperialism. They were eventually set free after completing their terms of arrangement and were bestowed with headrights in their new province.

Innovation is also another important feature of Africans that enabled them to endure the harsh conditions subjected to them by their oppressors. There are numerous pieces of evidence of innovation in African societies. As early as the days of slavery, Africans were able to make things like mats, strolling sticks, crate, and thatched rooftops, which illustrated the level creativity and skill set that these individuals possess. The creativity and innovativeness of Africans made them an incredible resource for their oppressors, and such skills heavily contributed to their survival in the hands of the colonizers. The creativity of the Africans is still evident in the American societies as illustrated by different musical genres that are dominated by the African-Americans which is entirely different from the traditional European types of music (Du & Hartman, 2007). Additional, the African roots were confirmed by the utilization of banjo and drum in their music. Most of the traditional African music was fused with drums and trumpets. The reactional designs and solid call from the style of West Africa were embraced by its spirituals and melodies. The slaves made their work more comfortable by creating stories for entertainment and relieving fatigue in which they represented the African perspective by using creature characters. Such tunes and stories were also writhed with a fallen angel who spoke to a swindler and an evil presence that scared a companion in need. This inventiveness, coupled with their diligent work enabled them to survive hardship during those days of slavery. They had developed effective survival tactics back in Africa that they carried on to the foreign land.

Religion is another essential African tool that was used by the slaves to endure hardship. Religious practices were carried out by different communities in Africa. They believe in the existence of God, who came in various forms depending on the beliefs of a specific community. Traditional religious practices still exist in African culture as shown by some communities who still hold conventional notions of religion and God. Religion was a fundamental tool in the African culture as it helped them to perform numerous elements of forecast, fellowships, clarification, and control. According to a few Africans, the whole disaster, including subjugation was brought on by divination. Hence, they persisted that prophecy was very integral and that all millennials should adapt to the issues of divination. The African religion was composed of a supreme being and a large group of less critical spirits that was brought from Africa and later made to react to conditions that the slaves were subjected to. The religion grunted no limits between the holy and the mainstream and this generated all types of activities. Based on the faith that offered them hope, the Africans slaves eventually believed that despite their tribulations, they would finally go back to their motherland after death. Some of the African social perspectives were also dominant in their survival during slavery. One of these perspectives is the African charm which was majorly used by the slaves to harm their lords and to manage insidious individuals.

In their struggle for freedom, the circum-Caribbean world slaves and free Africans slaves developed strategies that were modified from the traditions of West Africa (Du & Hartman, 2007). Some of the methods of selection of officials such as sheriffs, governors, and judges were initially practiced in Africa. The chosen group acted as a channel of relaying the problems that the slaves encountered to the government. This system of dealing with the government was very viable in solving most of the issues that the slaves faced. It marked the beginning of the slaves to challenge the government in a court of law.

Between 1691 and 1860, different occasions exhibited the ability of the slaves to conquer lawful impediments. In 1931, a slave revolt was imitated by Nat Turner which alarmed the white shareholders in Southampton County. He was backed up by both the black and whites after 75 Africans, and 60 whites were killed by the equipped safe strengths. His actions resulted into the incredible apprehension of the supporters of the subjugation who responded by reinforcing the slave codes with the objective of constraining slave gatherings. Between the 1830s and 1860s, significant achievements were made in Abolition of slavery. The development of nullifying subjection gained momentum on the northern sides of America. The event was initiated by the free blacks like Frederick Douglas together with white supporters such as William Lloyd. Through this development, servitude was deemed unlawful after serious ingenuity. However, before the abolition of slavery, free Africans had also developed other mechanisms of helping slaves to escape such assisting slaves to escape through underground railroads.


The developments and slave revolts played an integral role in making the United States embrace the guarantees that were made through the constitution that affirmed the freedom of the slaves. According to Wright, the slave revolts and developments steered by Turner were based on the fact that the slaves were subjected to harsh working conditions and their human rights were grossly misused, and the whites own race was considered as a terrible misfortune (2017). The revolt showed that even after the mass killings and oppression of the southern blacks by the slaveholders, the cancelation development was blazed. Based on civil argument on servitude issue, slaveholding was dehumanizing and wrongful. Due to consistent rebellion by slaves and free Africans, the administration opted to abolish slavery entirely, and the oppressors were urged to respect human rights.


Du, B. W. (2007). The suppression of the African slave trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870.

Kirker, T. (2013). George Crook: From the Redwoods to Appomattox by Paul Magid. Civil War History, 59(2), 260-261.

Wright, D. R. (2017). African Americans in the colonial era: From African origins through the American Revolution.

Cite this page

From First Contact to the Civil War Essay. (2022, May 17). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism