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Slavery as a Cruel Institution Cruelty can be defined as an inhumane action done to an individual or group of people that causes either physical or mental harm Slavery at its very core was a cruel and inhumane institution From the idea behind it to the way that it was enforced it degraded the lives of human beings and forbade the basic liberties that every man deserves under the Constitution of the United States Three major areas where cruelty was especially prevalent were in the slaves working conditions living conditions and loss of fundamental freedoms Working conditions for slaves were about as bad as can possibly be imagined Slaves worked from dawn till dusk and sometimes even longer Solomon Northrup describes his experience as a slave on his Louisiana plantation The hands are required to be in the cotton field as soon as it is light in the morning and with the exception of ten or fifteen minutes which is given them at noon to swallow their allowance of cold bacon they are not permitted a moment idle until it is too dark to see and when the moon is full they often times labor till the middle of the night Northrup 15 The slaves lived in constant fear of punishment while at work and it was that fear that drove them to obey Northrup continues to say that No matter how fatigued and weary he may bea slave never approaches the gin-house with his basket of cotton but with fear If it falls short in weightif he has not performed the full task appointed him he knows he must suffer 10 He goes on to explain that after weighing follow the whippings 10 This was not the end of the workday for a common slave though Each slave had his or her own respective chores to do One feeds the mules another the swineanother cuts the wood and so forth Northrop 11 Then there
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