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What is a slave?

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veeveemel101 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 31, 2010 at 9:22 AM via web

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What is a slave?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 31, 2010 at 9:26 AM (Answer #1)

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A slave is a person who is forced to work for another and who is, moreover, actually the property of the other person.  When we use the word slave, we typically use it to mean someone who is owned by his or her master for the entire life of the slave.

We distinguish between slaves and indentured servants.  Both are essentially owned by their masters, but indentured servants are set to be freed after a specific period of service.  Slaves are slaves for life.

We also distinguish between slaves and serfs.  Serfs were not free to leave the land they worked on and they owed their service to their masters.  However, they were not legally the property of their masters in the same way slaves were.  For example, they could not be sold to another master -- they were tied to a specific piece of land.

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dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 31, 2010 at 12:28 PM (Answer #2)

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The slave is the human property of its human owner and as such could be used in any way the human owner saw fit. For example, a slave could be utilized as an economic factor of production or to serve the personal and /or private needs of the owner. When the issue of slavery with regard to its being property or humanity was argued before the Supreme Court in 1857 the Dred Scott case, the court's decision was that a slave was property, a thing, a commodity with no other value than the market value of the day.

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jebrowning | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted November 1, 2010 at 4:34 AM (Answer #3)

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A slave is a person who is forced to work for another person, generally without pay or other recognition for his or her efforts. The slave can be forced to maintain this position through any number of means: the threat of physical violence, emotional pain, law, or social pressure. Often, it is a combination of several factors that enforce slavery.

For instance, in the United States before the Civil War, slavery was reinforced on an individual level in large part by the threat (and fact) of physical violence and the force of certain state laws.

Slavery is still a large, some might say growing, problem in the world. Modern-day slavery does not always include laws that make the slave the literal possession of his or her owner, but there may be social or practical limitations that make it very difficult or impossible to escape from slavery, such as being in a foreign country, inability to speak the language, social isolation, et cetera.

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iwanttolearnsobad | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:22 AM (Answer #4)

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A slave is a worker thats has no payment and forced to work him and do his biddings for him or do whatever he wants him to do.

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ivana | Student, Undergraduate | Salutatorian

Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:52 AM (Answer #5)

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Usually we connect slavery with the past. However, we could also say that some people in today world are also slaves because they are forced to work for practically nothing(they can't even buy enough food for themselves). In that sense we could say that term slave has more than just historical implications. In addition, another phenomenon of our time are white slaves.(People, mainly women, forced to work as sexual slaves).

We could almost say, sadly thought, that slavery existed from the beginning of civilisation. Ancient Greek and Roman culture accepted slavery as s normal thing. Even before them ancient Egyptians had slaves (Jewish that is Hebrew people).You can read a pretty good account of slavery from perspective of Jews in the Bible (Old Testament).

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Wiggin42 | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted July 27, 2014 at 3:44 PM (Answer #7)

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A slave is like an unpaid servant. Slaves are owned by masters, have no rights as people /  citizens, and are forced to work. They are treated like commodities. They are traded, sold, bought, exchanged, etc. The US used to hold slave auctions that separated families. US slaves had no civil or legal rights under the law.

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kevin0001 | TA , Grade 9 | Salutatorian

Posted August 9, 2014 at 1:07 AM (Answer #8)

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A slave is a person who is forced to obey or do work by their master. Their master would most likely be very harsh and rude to their slave. The slave does not get paid anything for what they do and is usually treated like property. Even though slavery and the keeping of slaves are illegal, many people still have slaves today. 

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taangerine | TA , Grade 11 | Valedictorian

Posted August 16, 2014 at 2:38 AM (Answer #9)

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A slave is a person who is subordinate to their master. They are forced to obey and work for long days and nights. They usually have no rights, and are basically treated like 'property'. 

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apkos | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted November 1, 2010 at 9:46 AM (Answer #6)

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A broad, yet easy answer to this question, is that a slave is typically property of somebody else's.

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