It is said that history is written by the victors or those that have managed to stay in power. This history when written often overlooks or tries to silence completely the voices of those defeated. Even the United States is not immune to this revision of facts. We can easily see this throughout our own national history, especially the time period centered on slavery.
In order to fully understand why revising history to suit the victor’s one must look at the accounts of those defeated (if they happen to survive the revision). In looking at the issues surrounding slavery we can compare a few accounts from escaped and free slaves to that of a couple prominent southern whites who attempted to justify and support slavery. The accounts of
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Douglas was “employed” by Covey in 1833 as a field hand and general labor. One of his first jobs to do for Covey was to get wood from a nearby grove. Covey supplied a cart and a mule team to pull it. However the team in question was not broken or trained and Douglas had little training in handling them. All Covey told Douglas was if they got out of control just hang on to the reigns. Despite not knowing how to handle the mules or cart Douglas managed to get to the grove, it was here that the mules were frightened and began to act in an uncontrolled manner. Douglas was nearly killed by this and the cart heavily damaged but was able to bring the team under control and retrieve the wood his master ordered. Upon returning to his master’s place he once again lost control of the team and in the chaos that came from an out of control mule team the cart and a fence was destroyed. Covey proceeded to then punish Douglas severally for wasting time and breaking fences and carts. The whipping Douglas received cut his back severely, some as wide as a pinkie finger. (Douglas, 1845)
Covey also had other ways of making his slaves lives miserable, he would often hide in the field and come up out of nowhere, yelling and using a whip or switch on his slaves. Many slaves on his plantation called him a snake as he would often go out of his way to surprise and scare them. With this atmosphere of fear work on the plantation continued even if he wasn’t