Argument Draft Slave Sales

Slavery plagued America like so many other countries in the past. Today slavery still isn’t completely eradicated from the world however, we are still examining the troubles that occurred on our own soil. With the help of the data set of slave sales used you can get a clearer idea of what happened during the times of 1742 to 1865. Arguments can be made based on the way one chooses to construct the given numbers, dates and text shown. Although it hardly paints a full picture some conclusions can be discovered. The way I choose to arrange the data set was split between male and female and their value based on skills and defects.
The data shown in the two tree graphs labels each enslaved person with a particular skill on one and a defect in the other. From there the data is then broken down into male and female showing each skill men have and on the other side women this is also shown in the defects chart as well. Next the tree graphs shows the appraised value a male or female enslaved person would receive upon having a particular skill or defect. Although values for enslaved people rises during the years there is a connection between having a particular skill or defect that can also effect the value. Skills are shown to commonly be separated by gender; this might make sense in a southern society that believes in gender roles even when it comes to enslaved people.
Males tend to have more of the common masculine skills, from mechanic, blacksmith, shipbuilder and cartman or someone who drives a horse carriage. Based on these skills their values varied accordingly, the average appraised value for a mechanic was around $1,200 which is the highest appraised value for a male enslaved person with a skill. The lowest appraised value for a male enslaved person with a skill was $250 as a rope maker. Both the highest and lowest appraised valued skill tends to me a more male oriented occupation.
The females had skills that varied in more of the famine roles and occupations. There were skills in hair dressing and seamstress. As well as cooking, baking and other household skills including raising children and laundry. The highest appraised value for a female with a skill was $1,000 as a hair dresser, the lowest appraised value was a spinner at $200.
Already there is a pattern where the men enslaved persons are getting a higher appraised value then the women enslaved persons the argument can be made that the skills were different from male to female but that isn’t always the case. There are particular jobs that both men and female enslaved people share that aren’t distinct between male and female gender roles as well as certain skills that are shared among the two genders that do cross gender roles. Jobs that have no gender role for an enslaved person in the south would be that of a labor or field worker. When thinking of slavery in the south the image that appears in the mind is that of both men and women doing hard labor on a plantation. Labor work has no gender role and the male enslaved are valued at $630, while women enslaved have an average appraised value of $550. There were also skills that crossed across gender roles. Enslaved females also worked as mechanics. There was one recorded record of an enslaved female during the data set timed period in the small number of states listed that had the mechanic skill. Her appraised value was $600 in the state of Louisiana where there were thirty five male mechanics all valued at twice her rate.

One thought on “Argument Draft Slave Sales

  • May 2, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    Your first paragraph is a good intro to the section, but it’s really general right now–you don’t really come out and state your argument directly. What are we getting a clearer picture of? What specifically are we going to get from your analysis?

    Re: your earlier question about how to avoid dehumanizing people when working with this dataset, one way to do that is to avoid describing people as “males/females” and instead use “enslaved person/man/woman.” You do this well in some places in your draft, but you slip back and forth in other places–it’s a hard thing to catch when your data uses one set of terms.

    How do the gendered values you’re seeing for skills compare to people with no listed skills?

    (This might be a typo: what do you mean by “varied in more of the famine roles”? feminine?)

    What do the range of values for masculine vs feminine skills tell you about what makes the biggest difference to a person’s appraised value? Was it gender or their skills, given the big spread for both men’s and women’s skills? You start to get at this with the last section, but be more explicit and pull out your logic–you’re really onto something with the gender vs labor/fieldwork discussion.

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