The Enslavement of Africans in Britain??™s American Colonies/Students View of Authors View
Essay in Book By Jon Butler
Africans and Europeans had vastly different experiences journeying to the ???new world??? of America. European expansion into America was most always voluntary and thought of as a way to better their quality of life, profit, trade and freedom. Africans experienced capture from their homeland, family separation and ultimately enslavement in America. In the essay titled The Enslavement of Africans in Britain??™s American Colonies, Jon Butler explains the evolution of slavery and the experiences of the Africans from capture in Africa and their journey to America.
Jon Butler??™s interpretation of the enslavement of Africans is a harsh one. He paints a very sad journey beginning with their capture in their mainland and the terrible journey they endured or died on overseas. He explains the Western perception of enslavement. On page 44 in paragraph 3, Jon writes: ??? Europeans had long labeled Africans as foreign, heathen, and differently colored??¦ Africans were ???savage??? and libidinous. And they were not white, or not what passed for ???white?????¦ In short, Africans might be human, but Europeans also perceived them as different, disagreeable, and dispensable, ideal candidates for enslavement that very quickly became indelibly American???. Jon interprets the slave trade from the African as a death sentence. If disease did not kill them on the way to America, escape overboard would, starvation would or attempted escapes once on land.
The document, Recollections of the Middle Passage 1788, helps to support the interpretations and feel of Jon Butler??™s Essay. This document tells of a journey overseas from Western Africa to the Americas. The author of the document tells of ???Negroes??? throwing themselves overboard in a suicide fashion, being eaten by sharks, but never enslaved. They also write of the terrible living conditions aboard. On page 53, second paragraph, they write: ??? But at the same time, they are frequently stowed so close, as to admit to no other posture than laying on their sides.??? They tell of the Africans being brought aboard the ships and immediately chained together by handcuffs on their wrists and irons on their legs.
I agree with Jon Butler??™s interpretation and also believe the supporting documents to be true in fact. My prior knowledge with the African slave trade was truly ignorant. Its sad how little I actually know about the history of this country. One always wonders why its been ???black vs. white???. The slave trade runs so much deeper than that simplistic thought. There is so much more to the story of the slaves and the capturers of said slaves.
This essay has helped explain the larger picture of the slave trade to me in so many ways. Jon Butler has done a great job in time lines, European and Western views and methods of slavery. He has also made it possible with supporting documents to see ???inside??? a slave trade ship from the view of a passenger in the 1700s. This essay has helped to explain the difference between indentured servants, slaves, and the reasons for both.
It is hard to imagine, that a world like the one this essay describes, existed only a few hundred years ago. It is sad to think that we as people would treat each other with such disregard and such ignorance for others??™ ways of life. Unfortunately the disregard for people whom are different than you still exists today but only manifests itself in different ways.