Slavery in America

Servitude has taken many forms throughout history, but the essential quality of American slavery is the total ownership of one human being by another. The slave has virtually no enforceable property rights because they all reside with the slaveowner. Title to the slave's body is so complete that the master can utilize it, sell it, or otherwise dispose of it in any way he chooses, just as he would with any other chattel, whether inanimate objects or animals. Moreover, the human chattel's status arises involuntarily and can cease only at the will of the master. A free person, in contrast, owns himself.

Of course, governments have imposed all sorts of restrictions on nominally free laborers. Even those of us who enjoy the liberty attained in modern ...

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