Why was being a slave on a plantation good?

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Slavery is never good. The one advantage to being on a plantation would be that there are other slaves around. This might limit the exposure to physical abuse. However, being a house slave might be better if the owners treat the slaves more like family. It really depends on the plantation.
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It was difficult to mitigate the horror and brutality of the institution of slavery alone, but if I had to grab at straws and come up with some postive spin, I could argue that being a slave on some plantations, depending on the owner and the type of work they did, was not as bad as others.  Thought tenuous and vulnerable, plantation slaves still had a family life, and were not prohibited from Christianity. It's a stretch though, isn't it?

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Of course, being a slave on a plantation was not good.  But if you had to argue that it was, you could say:

  • It offered security.  You knew that at least someone would take care of you when you were sick and when you got old.  You would never need to worry about finding a job.  You could argue that this was better than wage labor in those days.  I wouldn't agree, but you could argue that.
  • It put you among other people like you.  You could at least be a member of a community of people who were in your same situation.  You could take comfort from being with them.  That would make it better than being a slave on a small farm with only a few slaves.

 

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