One of the first things I remember feeling sadness over as I learned about the history of our country is the whole subject of slavery. I will admit most of what I know about slavery comes from what I have read and some of the historic sites I have visited over the years. I have come to think of slavery as a cancer that seems to have gotten into this country as it was being formed.
I have discovered that the idea of people owning other people began long before the founding and establishment of our country. It makes me sad to know that the practice is practiced today in many parts of our world. One of my earliest thoughts was that slavery is a cancer that got into our culture as our country was being formed.
At one time I thought that the plantation system that developed in the south was dependent on slavery for its operation. After visiting a number of southern plantation sites, I have come to a different conclusion. I now believe many of this country’s plantations were unwieldy and unstable. I think a different economy, made up of smaller farms, could have and probably would have developed with paid laborers. I am not a historian, and this observation is not based on any hard data, just my anecdotal observations over the years.
I am impressed with how many of the founders of our country worked to keep slavery from being woven into the fabric of our culture. History is filled with the heroic efforts of so many to overcome this evil. It is a sad commentary that we had to fight a war as part of the effort to remove this practice from our country.
One of the reasons I see slavery as a cancer on our nation is the lasting effect it continues to wield on all of us. Over my life, there have been a number of noble attempts to overcome the effects slavery has had on our country. Many of these efforts have produced good results, but it seems to me we are still suffering from most of the basic underlying issues.
There are other types of slavery that can affect our lives. Literally, people are still slaves to those who engage in trafficking. We can be enslaved by addiction to things like alcohol and drugs. The effects of these forms of slavery can be devastating and can have long-lasting consequences. From some reports I’ve seen on the news, the time of crisis we are experiencing seems to be increasing both the incidence and the negative effects of some of these types of slavery.
As we move forward, we might want to examine some of the people who have worked to combat slavery in the earlier period of our country. Do their lives and their efforts give us any insights as to how we can help combat some current forms of slavery?
Are there people we know who are experiencing any forms of slavery? Are there things we can do to help them? Some of the people in the Abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad were ordinary people who saw an opportunity to help others and took advantage of it. What’s one thing you can do to make a difference in someone’s struggle against slavery?