Man’s destiny is at his own hands. Certainly true nowadays for most people, but there was a time when, and presently in some areas where, people do not decide their own destiny. Destiny of those people was decided upon by their masters or their rulers.
In the early modern period (1500’s – 1700’s) most people do not have the luxury to choose their own path. Take for example the Africans and the people under some monarch. During this time, Africans were compelled to be slaves and imported to Europe and America. While in the case of people under monarchy, their laws are under the authority of their ruler.
According to the True Law of Free Monarchies written by James I of England, the king is responsible for the whole land and his subjects. He is the master of every individual residing in his kingdom. He had the power over the life and death of his people. In a monarch, rules and laws made by the king were crafted at his followers’ advise or proposal but it is still subjected to the king’s discretion on what to implement when times arises. His authority solely made these laws official. Implementation or revoking of certain laws or policies is within his bounds alone.
The people are put to oath to be loyal followers of their king and his predecessors. Generally, a king’s subject has a sort of liberty as long as they follow the rules of the land and whatever the king wishes them to do. Most of the kings give very harsh punishment to those persons who do not follow his orders. The king is not bound to anything except his conscience and his goodwill to his subjects.
As for the slaves, they do not have the conveniences savored by the followers of the king. They absolutely do not have the freedom to do their own will. Slaves were commonly captives or prisoners of war. The victors, rather than killing them, prefer to make use of them or profit from them. Later on, slavery was brought about by racial discrimination. Slavery trade soon flourished when civilization progressed. They use/bought these slaves for the manpower needed to produce the needs of their people, especially for doing arduous tasks. They were usually traded in exchange for money, foods, goods or ammunitions. The slaves were usually kept inside the cages or tied around a tree.
According to Bosman, the slaves were first examined by a physician before they purchase them. All those handicapped were set aside, only the physically fit ones were bought. They were also branded for easy identification of their buyers. With regards to food during the voyage, the slaves were fed thrice a day, the food much better than the food that they were eating at their place according to Bosman. Their sleeping area is divided per gender.
One part is designated for men, the other is for women. They usually lie very close to each other because they are usually crowded due to the large number of slaves shipped. Majority of the slaves were treated poorly and cruelly by their masters. Very seldom will you find masters that are good to their slaves. Some who are lame were beaten to death. Slaves were not allowed to marry their masters or mistresses but there are some secret relationships that transpired.
The world of these people was very limited especially the slaves. They do everything that was asked by their master or ruler and they do not have the right to complain. Some even kill themselves when told to do so by their masters. Their lives were literally on their master’s hands. Over time, slavery trade dwindled down because of some resistance and laws enacted upon by humane individuals, monarchy had also been lax with their subject. But if you look around, the idea of slavery or ruling over somebody has not been totally obliterated, some people still do not have the power to choose their own destiny.
In the present years, slavery is not so obvious. Though it still exists but it operates discreetly. It is demonstrated by ruling class or rich people by using their money power to influence and dictate the lives of the poor. They have all the power to manipulate them, a discreet demonstration of slavery.
Works Cited Page
Bosman, Willem. A. A New and Accurate Description of the Coast of Guinea Divided into the Gold, the Slave, and the Ivory Coasts. http://www.cambridge.org/resources/0521808944/3355_WiesnerHanks%20ch13%20sources.pdf
James I. True Law of Free Monarchies. http://www.thenagain.info/Classes/Sources/JamesI.html
Lain, Zachary. All Men Are Created Equal: Or Are They? The Triangular Slave Trade. http://dhr.dos.state.fl.us/museum/programs/historyfair/Lain.pdf