Exercises — POLITICAL SCIENCE Essay Example

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Slavery and Rome the Roman Empire (7th March)

The Roman Empire was known for its slavery practice because of its large number of slaves within the country territories for over 500 years (Wiedemann, 2014). Rome, the large, semi-feudal empire was composed of numerous peasants and farmers who were empowered by the government to capture enemies and enslave them to work in farms and be loyal to their masters. By time, they would replace their masters and seek for other slaves to work in their masters’ farms and the circle continued. One third of the nation’s population was made up of slaves.

In the Roman Empire, slaves were considered state property by the Roman Law and had veto legal personhood. The culture considered Romans to be masters and slaves as powerless people subject to their masters’ commands (Garnsey, & Saller, 2014). The slaves were considered as source of fun though with no right and were not allowed to raise a cause of action in courts.

The slaves could at times attempt to revolt and even escape though this was not a common practice of the slaves because of the painful processes they were subjected to when found. Harboring of fugitive slaves was forbidden by the Rome government who hired professional-slave catchers to hunt down slaves and subject them to painful punishment including killing.

Slavery was generally categorized into household slavery and urban slavery. Household slaves were barbers, butlers, cooks, handmaids (ancilla), nurses, teachers, and accountants amongst others. The urban slaves were fullers, shoemakers, engravers, bakers, prostitutes, and farmers amongst others (Mócsy, 2014). The urban slaves would work more than nine hours a day and failure for serious commitment, especially those in farms, would call for serious weeping, detaining, and food denial.

Serfs and Rise and fall of Feudalism

Feudalism was the combined state of military and legal customs during the Medieval Europe which assisted a great deal in political decentralization. It resulted into subdivision of the region into political sections headed with lords who had significant autonomy (Mócsy, 2014). The lords deemed it fit to legally bind agricultural workers to the lands they were working upon resulting in serfdoms. They had closer control of the lands unlike when control was centralized to the monarch.

Feudalism resulted into decentralized politics with each regional leader known as lord having relatively autonomous power though paid allegiance to the monarch. Some of the political societies became weaker as a result of poor leadership and management as other societies became exceedingly stronger dependent on the lord’s attributes. It resulted into pyramid allegiance where land owners, lords, would sell fief to vassal (Glover, 2015). The feudal system diminished the power of local nobles and clergymen because of lack of togetherness which later granted the nation weaker.

Slavery was about forced labor and slaves had to submit to the dominating influence. Additionally, slaves were either owned by the nation’s citizens or the state who acted as masters to the slavers (Pecquet, 2017). However, surfs were owned by no one and were laborers bound to the land they were working and were never subjected to coerciveness. Surfs could not be sold beyond the land they were bound to while slave trade could be international. Surfs and Slaves however were servants to the state.

According to Karl Max, the feudal landlords exploited the peasants by grabbing a portion of their produce (Halperin, 2015). He further argues that a society has to pass though feudalism to capitalism before eventually becoming a classless society.

Decline of feudalism was accustomed by the shifting military power of kings from a centralized monarch control to control by lords. There was need to do away with the decentralization and regain kingship power. The Black Death also lowered nobilities’ hold on lower classes.

Anti-Slavery Movement

Serious slavery rebellion never emerged till 73-71BC when gladiator Spartacus bravely led an uprising with thousands of slavery rebels in central Italy. The movement was compelled by the increasing rate of slaves’ oppression, estrangement, suffering, and deaths. The movement was strong that it defeated several Roman Legions and even Rome itself (Kinealy, 2015). Most slaves in Rome joined the movement.

Christianity played a significant role in eliminating slavery especially when Pope Augustine described slavery as an act against God’s intention and in itself a sin (Kinealy, 2015). By early eighteenth century, Christian’s movements towards slavery abolition took shape across the globe.

Human Organizations together with most religions deem that every individual has the right to live, think freely and own property which slavery is totally against. Slavery perceives the low class people, slaves, as powerless and worthless making them lesser beings (Ferguson, 2014). The anti-slavery movements are critical in addressing such a misconception and granting everyone on the globe equal rights.

Slavery and the American Civil War

Most nations in Western and Northern states of America were entirely dependent on slaves in ensuring national development and in carrying out daily household as well as national duties. The debate over the future of slavery between these two regions and America in general was the cause of disruption of the union which existed between them as some were talking of abolishing slavery which others could not agree to resulting in a secession which resulted into a war with Northern and Western regions fighting to preserve the slavery union as Southern region fought for independence (Hummel, 2013).

Abraham Lincoln known for issuing Emancipation Proclamation was entirely and completely against slavery and believed that the slavery institution was built upon injustice and bad policies. Lincoln in one of his debates asserts that in a scenario where A can prove conclusively that he can, of right, enslave B, B also can snatch the same argument and equally prove that he can enslave A justly (Kinealy, 2015). He insinuated a case of equality where slavery is no social factor.

The discussion between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas was indeed critical since it aimed at addressing sectional conflict over slavery and states’ rights. The discussion also touched on influencing political discourse. The outcome of this discussion was to find a resolution to the then prevailing conflict between the rights of slaves and the right of states. The outcomes would answer whether slaves would be freed or retained by states as part of their rights (Acharya, Blackwell & Sen, 2016).

Lincoln strongly believed that slavery was morally repugnant and despite the ongoing civil war, he must find ways to put an end to it and maintained that his emancipation proclamation would exclude “the so-called border states.” In 22nd September 1862, Lincoln provided a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation which would set free more than three million black slaves in the United States and “recast Civil War as a war against slavery (Hummel, 2013).” On 1st January 1863, he made the major Emancipation Proclamation which aimed at setting all slaves free.

The end to the Civil War marked great advancements in the American Society. It resulted in a nation marked with freedom and equity diminishing the “Us” and “Them” syndrome (Kinealy, 2015). It resulted into medical advances with more schooled physicians who were previously slaves. The involvement of everyone in national development, not as slaves but free men resulted into accelerated rate of technological, social, military, and cultural enhancements.

Slavery and the Totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin

The regime of Hitler and Stalin totally depended on slaves in ensuring effective social, economic and political status. Stalinist regime perceived that it is integral, inherent, and irreplaceable to deal with slaves as the chief catalysts to development and sustainability (Wiedemann, 2014). Hitler regime also maintained that if only nit wishes to prosper in power, it must continue to utilize slave labor as an auxiliary means to ensure relevance and control the Russian people.

Slaves played an integral in Hitler’s rule by taking up the role of soldiers forcefully. As the numbers of soldiers in German camps were lessening, Hitler called for the use of male laborers and prisoners to fill up the gap and join the war as soldiers (Hummel, 2013). In Hitler and Stalin regimes, slaves had the role of ensuring high production to feed the soldiers in war sufficiently and keep members in the camps alive. During the war, there was acute labor shortage hence the two regimes deemed it wise to acquire “free labor” from their enemies.

Many German corporations resorted to the use of free labor which they showed interest in assisting the nation in conquering the war by manufacture of weapons and food processing yet in the actual sense they were after maximizing profits at minimal labor costs. The firms were assisted by the Nazis in acquiring the slaves and getting them to work.

Most contemporary societies maintain that the two regimes were ill-informed and their “free Labor” concept was indeed contradictory to human rights. Most contemporary societies believe that the colossal extent of slave labor especially in German Corporations was aimed at making the corporations rich during the during the Third Reich. The Nazi played a significant though unjustified role in development of corporations such as Bosch, Mercedes, Deutsche Bank and VW amongst others.

Legacy of Slavery: America

When slavery was officially called to an end in 1865, proposals arose to grant freed black compensation through citizenship and property transfer which resulted into “forty acres and a mule” concept. After assassination of Lincoln, much compensation was not done and most freed slaves remained in the squatters in the plantations (Kinealy, 2015). Thereafter, racism became a great factor with black Americans facing formidable barrier to political, social, and economic equity resulting in segregation and discrimination.

The prisons in the Southern part of the United States served as execution chambers, Death Houses and Red Hats as described by most of the slavery victims. These were places where a slave would not like to be sent to as survival was minimal. However, these places have currently transformed into Museums, Gift Shops, and Radio Stations amongst others (Furstenberg, 2003).

The slavery experience tends to be intergenerational as modern generation of black Americans still experiences its effects. Most black people are suffering from psychic damages. Black people have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to stressed hormones inherited from parents (Acharya, Blackwell & Sen, 2016). Scientists also trace the low birth weight of Negro children to the traumatic stress of the parents and lineage family.

Slavery, Human Trafficking, and the Global Economy

Slavery is currently more wide spread and dangerous than before. Unlike the old slavery which was legal and acceptable, current slavery is prospers against odds because of its illegality and non exposure. The current slavery does not look into race or ethnic group but is widespread across groups and nations (Genovese, 2014). Current slavery takes the form of debt bondage, serfdom, marital and sexual slavery, and child slavery amongst others.

Currently, human trafficking takes exists because of a number of reasons consisting of sexual exploitation of women and children. Additionally, men, women, and children are enslaved for a wide range of purposes. Unlike the old slavery where people were taken by force, current slavery is done through kidnapping and wrong persuasion (Kinealy, 2015).

Trafficking is common in the United States, Mexico, Columbia, and Eastern Europe amongst others. Trafficking is mainly caused by increasing rate of crimes and immorality.

Feminizations of poverty are the process whereby the women become economically deprived and as a result of the poverty, they are compelled into sex slavery and commercial sex (Ferguson, 2014).

Ending Slavery and Revision

Unlike the old slavery, modern slavery is build on illegality and pinpointing people who practice it, is met with technicality. Organizations such as Free the Slaves NGO persist to press on in their fight against modern slavery (Acharya, Blackwell & Sen, 2016). January is marked as Human Trafficking Awareness Month assisting people to gather, learn, and take precaution against modern tracking.

In all countries on the planet Earth, slavery is illegal and chargeable in a court of law. The religions across nations are also strong in their religious aspects against slavery (Pauley, 2014). Most nations are providing support in terms of financial and social collaboration to the pro-slavery movements.

Despite the attempts, achieving complete abolition of slavery is met with complexity remains an elusive goal because of a number of factors consisting of increasing rate of criminal and immoral acts, increasing population and need of interdependence


Acharya, A., Blackwell, M., & Sen, M. (2016). The political legacy of American slavery. The Journal of Politics, 78(3), 621-641. http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/686631

Ferguson, M. (2014). Subject to Others (Routledge Revivals): British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834. Routledge. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1395175

Furstenberg, F. (2003). Beyond freedom and slavery: autonomy, virtue, and resistance in early American political discourse. The Journal of American History, 89(4), 1295-1330. https://academic.oup.com/jah/article-abstract/89/4/1295/744807/Beyond-Freedom-and-Slavery-Autonomy-Virtue-and

Garnsey, P., & Saller, R. P. (2014). The Roman Empire: economy, society and culture. Bloomsbury Publishing. http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520285989

Genovese, E. D. (2014). The political economy of slavery: Studies in the economy and society of the slave South. Wesleyan University Press. https://books.google.nl/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ld_bAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=slavery+and+politics+journals&ots=21s-KkeAoH&sig=cw3HuAltTdIO_-NnCAIA-nxOSeg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=slavery%20and%20politics%20journals&f=false

Glover, T. R. (2015). The Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire. Read Books Ltd. https://archive.org/details/conflictofreligi00glovuoft

Halperin, C. J. (2015). Feudalism in Russia, Then and Now: Vladimir Shlapentokh’s Concept of a ‘Feudal Society’. Петербургские славянские и балканские исследования, (2), 208-225. http://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/feudalism-in-russia-then-and-now-vladimir-shlapentokh-s-concept-of-a-feudal-society

Hummel, J. (2013). Emancipating slaves, enslaving free men: a history of the American civil war. Open court. http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/douglass/douglass.html

Kinealy, C. (2015). Daniel O’Connell and the Anti-slavery Movement:’the Saddest People the Sun Sees’. Routledge. http://www.worldcat.org/title/pannonia-and-upper-moesia/oclc/251467399/editions?referer=di&editionsView=true

Mócsy, A. (2014). Pannonia and Upper Moesia (Routledge Revivals): A History of the Middle Danube Provinces of the Roman Empire. Routledge. http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1863057.Hitler_Stalin_and_Mussolini

Pauley, B. F. (2014). Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini: Totalitarianism in the twentieth century. John Wiley & Sons. http://journal.apee.org/index.php/2017_Journal_of_Private_Enterprise_vol_32_no_1_Spring_parte4

Pecquet, G. M. (2017). The Original Road to Serfdom: From Rome to Feudal Europe. Journal of Private Enterprise, 32(1), 45. https://www.academia.com/Adults-Children-Empire-Routledge-Revivals/dp/0415749662

Wiedemann, T. (2014). Adults and Children in the Roman Empire (Routledge Revivals). Routledge.