Slave Market Essay

1394 Words 6 Pages
The impact of the physical slave market on the enslaved is often underestimated. The slave market was arguably the greatest form of control that a slave master had in his arsenal because it enabled the individual to diminish the slave to subhuman form. As stated by Walter Johnson, “That threat, with its imagery of outsized power and bodily dematerialization suffused the daily life of the enslaved.” Thus, the enormous effects of the slave market were carried by slaves for the rest of their lives. Yet, more went on inside the slave market than merely shuffling individuals through and selling to the highest bidder, which is often the simplified understanding that the majority of society maintains. More specifically, the focus here is how control was established and maintained through a triangular interrelationship between the enslaved, traders, and buyers and how each engaged and dealt with the commodification process. These kinds of characterizations demonstrate the vitality of the slave market as a means of control …show more content…
Black individuals and families were coerced and manipulated through a unique combination of torture and discipline which Johnson refers to as “paternalism” and the entire Southern economy was propped up on a foundation that any and all slaves could be assigned a monetary value. Furthermore, slaves were taught to understand that at any moment they could be sold as quickly as they were purchased. The purchasing of slaves held the potential to move up the social ladder for white males which brought social recognition (e.g., judgment by other slaveholders) and honor through slave making. Thus, the slave market demonstrates the vast complexity of what Theodore Dwight Weld in American Slavery as It Is (1839) termed “peculiar

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