During the nineteenth century, the nation heatedly debated on the issue of slavery white authors generated pamphlets, and published slave biographies and anti-slavery literature. Well-known authors include Herman Melville, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.
This literature detailed inhumane conditions for contemporary slaves and described an unrealistic view held by some slave masters that the slave was ignorant and therefore happy in his subjugated lifestyle.
Modern textbooks reveal that the living conditions of a southern slave relied upon the temperament of his master, as well as the type of home he lived in. In general, domestic slaves received better treatment than plantation slaves, who worked in the field from sun up until dark. Although some states passed laws meant to keep black families together, these laws proved difficult to enforce because the black population remained unable to testify in court.