Slave breeding in the United States

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Four generations of slaves on a plantation in South Carolina c. 1862

Slave breeding was a practice of American slave owners. Its purpose was to make more slaves. More slaves meant more money for slave owners.[1] Slaves were forced to mate. Pregnancies were encouraged. Slave masters often mated with their own slaves to make more slave children. Slave owners favored female slaves who could have large numbers of children.[2] Slaves cost a lot of money. Breeding slaves made new slaves without having to pay for them. Also, the end of the Atlantic slave trade created labor shortages. Slaves were bred to fill these shortages. Slave breeding tried to improve the health and productivity of slaves. The practice was approved in the South because slaves were considered to be less than human. They were property, like a horse or a dog. Slaves were not given or expected to have the same rights as free people.

References[change | change source]

  1. Marable, Manning, How capitalism underdeveloped Black America: problems in race, political economy, and society South End Press, 2000, p 72
  2. Marable, ibid, p 72