Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl: Justification Used By Planters And Slaveholders To Justify Slavery

July 15, 2022 by Essay Writer

What justification do the planters and slaveholders use to justify slavery?

In the book, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”, the author focuses on the life that she lived during her enslavement days. But as noticed, she was not the only enslaved African American, so she discussed the stories of her and some others. Within the book, she discusses every aspect of her life from her childhood to the lovers that she encountered. She shows what she had to experience throughout the time she was enslaved and the moments that are most important to her. By showing the audience what she and some others experienced, it proved how cruel the slaveholders could be and what they were put through on top of being enslaved. No individual wants to seem like the evil person in the situation so as time went by, they began to lie about the reasons for certain enslaved individuals. The lies that were told helped them justify the evil things that they were doing to the slaves. Nobody wanted to take the blame or to seem like the evil guy towards innocent individuals, but to lie about something, you must know the truth. Each slaveowner fought every slave every want and need to make it seem as if they were happy to be enslaved and keep them as their slaves. The slave owners made the slaves feel as if the sacrifice that would have to be made were not nearly as necessary and important as just simply staying a slave. If the slave did not have enough courage to believe in themselves the slave owners defeated them more lying to them making the stories that float around believable enough to entrap African American individuals.

The lies that were told by the slave owners were extravagant and persuasive to the majority of the other slaves showing them what they should and should not do. The slave owners used many things to justify why they were enslaving African American individuals. The point of them lying was not only to make it seem like they were the good guys and justify their cruelty but to also entrap other individuals who think of running away or going to another slave plantation. Slave owners showed that they were superior by the way that they enslaved not only the physical body of the African American slaves but also the mind. “A slaveholder once told me that he had seen a runaway friend of mine in New York, and that she besought him to take her back to her master, for she was literally dying of starvation; that many days she had only one cold potato to eat, and at other times could get nothing at all. He said he refused to take her because he knew her master would not thank him for bringing such a miserable wretch to his house. He ended by saying to me, ‘This is the punishment she brought on herself for running away from a kind master.’ (Linda) The author speaks on this situation to prove the way that the slave owners enslaved the mind of their slaves and other slaves surrounding, by lying and making slaves believe that they will be homeless, starving, and way worse off if they attempt to runaway other than staying put with their slave owners. The slave owners justified their reasons for enslavement by making it seem like they were doing the slaves a favor. Giving them a place to stay, something to eat, place for their families and for them to grow up together. But the cruelty that they put each individual through is not justified by these means. How can you say that the point of enslavement is to protect and help but be the reason why the enslaved needs to be protected and helped? Stereotypically, the slave owners see the slaves as individuals who are below them and need to stay that way and not let their inferiority get ahead of themselves.

Work Cited

  1. Brent, Linda. “ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by”
  2. Rae, Noel. “How Christian Slaveholders Used the Bible to Justify Slavery.” Time, Time, 23 Feb. 2018,
  3. “INCIDENTS.” Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Linda Brent,
  4. Yurtoğlu, Nadir. “Http://” History Studies International Journal of History, vol. 10, no. 7, 2018, pp. 241–264., doi:10.9737/hist.2018.658.


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