How did agricultural slavery work?

Expert Answers

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There were two kinds of slaves that worked on the plantations in the South. There were house slaves, and there were field slaves. The house slaves generally worked in the home where the plantation owner lived. Some of the work the house slaves did included cooking the meals, serving the food, doing the wash, and keeping the house clean.

The field slaves worked in the farm fields. Many were involved in harvesting crops such as cotton. The field slaves worked very long days. They were up at dawn and worked until dusk. They spent time in the fields removing the balls of cotton from the cotton plants. They also tended the fields where other crops were grown. An overseer, who usually didn’t treat them well, watched them. They weren’t allowed to get an education. They were provided with the basic necessities that included receiving meals, clothing, and shelter. If the slaves misbehaved, worked too slowly, or didn’t follow orders they would often be punished severely. Life was very harsh for these slaves.

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