How did the slave ship captains conduct themselves aboard the ships in The Slave Ship?

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Unsurprisingly, Rediker's finds indicate that the conduct of the captains involved in the British slave trade was cruel beyond reckoning. The captains worked directly with African leaders, who sold them away freely for resale in the New World. Once on board, the slaves suffered every form of abuse imaginable, supported...

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Unsurprisingly, Rediker's finds indicate that the conduct of the captains involved in the British slave trade was cruel beyond reckoning. The captains worked directly with African leaders, who sold them away freely for resale in the New World. Once on board, the slaves suffered every form of abuse imaginable, supported by rationalizations that did nothing to hide their malicious intent.

The captains maintained that the slaves must be chained at all times in order to insure the crew's safety. Part of the slave traders job was to condition the men, women, and children for subservience and captivity, and psychological and physical torture was often used to bring them to heel. Captains would even order men to exercise in chains or women to dance naked, and those who refused were often beaten to death or simply thrown overboard.

In short, the captains had been conditioned to believe that they were dealing with little more than animals. Furthermore, they were given absolute power over human life with no personal consequences, regardless of outcome. This brought out some of the most wretched impulses and senseless acts of cruelty ever recorded in history.

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