The 1800's saw the true rise and fall of slavery in the United States, and with it came immense economic, social, and political upheaval. Stampp, Fogel, Engerman, and Genovese are among those who have analyzed and wrote about American slavery during that time period, and their works have included the attitudes of American slaves toward their own experiences and I will also discuss that thesis based on what those authors have wrote. This topic has been the topic for many heated debates and opinions on the matter vary wildly; the readings and views discussed are no different.
Kennith Stampp, said throughout his paper that slaves were, in some cases, content with their lives because those who were born into slavery had no way of knowing the morality or ethics behind their position due to only knowing slavery from their first breath. "They find themselves existing in this state and pass through life without questioning the justice of their allotment, which, if they think at all, they suppose a natural one"" (Stampp 289). Also, Stampp gave insight to potential reasoning by supporters of slavery in that they argued due to the kindness the masters showed the slaves, the slaves were cheerful and content with their servitude. "Bondsmen generally were cheerful and acquiescent-so the argument went- because they were treated with kindness and relieved of all responsibilities"" (Stampp 289).
Other views Stampp has on the attitudes of American slaves about their work experiences is how valiantly some slaves pursued and fought for their freedom. "In southern court records there are numerous cases of runaway slaves who killed whites or were themselves killed in their frantic efforts to gain freedom"" (Stampp 302). Another example of how some slaves resented their bondage is of a Louisiana fugitive who was found and shot that was "so determined to not be captured, that when an effort was made to rescue him from drowning he made battle with his club, and sunk waving his weapon in angry defiance" (Stampp 302).