Read these two Primary Source readings:
• Olaudah Equiano Excerpt
• _Thomas Phillips Excerpt
After reading the primary sources, pick a topic related to Europeans and Africans in the Transatlantic Slave Trade that you would like to analyze in your essay. Potential topic:
• The role of violence in the slave trade.



Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Essay: The Role of Violence in the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The Transatlantic Slave Trade stands as a haunting testament to the depths of human cruelty and exploitation. Central to this abhorrent system was the pervasive use of violence, which was employed by European slave traders to subjugate and control African captives. Through examining primary sources such as the accounts of Olaudah Equiano and Thomas Phillips, we can gain a deeper understanding of the role of violence in perpetuating the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its enduring impact on both African and European societies.

Olaudah Equiano, an African man who was enslaved and later became a prominent abolitionist, provides a firsthand account of the brutal violence inflicted upon African captives during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. In his narrative, Equiano vividly describes the horrors of the Middle Passage, where enslaved Africans were subjected to unspeakable acts of cruelty and dehumanization. The violence experienced by Equiano and his fellow captives serves as a stark reminder of the inhumane treatment that characterized the trade and the profound trauma it inflicted on generations of Africans.

On the other hand, Thomas Phillips, a European slave trader, offers a contrasting perspective in his own account. Phillips provides insight into the motivations behind the use of violence in the slave trade, highlighting its role as a tool of coercion, control, and profit. Phillips’s narrative reveals the callousness and indifference with which European traders viewed African lives, employing violence as a means to assert dominance and maximize their economic gains at the expense of human suffering.

The pervasive use of violence in the Transatlantic Slave Trade had far-reaching consequences for both African and European societies. For Africans, the trauma of experiencing or witnessing violence during the trade left lasting scars on individuals and communities, perpetuating cycles of pain and suffering that continue to reverberate to this day. The legacy of this violence is evident in the intergenerational trauma experienced by descendants of enslaved Africans and the enduring struggles for justice and equality in African diaspora communities.

For Europeans involved in the slave trade, the normalization of violence against African captives reinforced notions of racial superiority and moral impunity. The dehumanization of Africans through violence served to justify and perpetuate the exploitation of their labor and bodies, creating a system of oppression that was upheld through brutality and coercion. The corrosive effects of this violence on European societies are evident in the legacies of racism, inequality, and social injustice that continue to plague contemporary discourse on race and power.

In conclusion, the role of violence in the Transatlantic Slave Trade was central to its operation and legacy. Through examining primary sources such as the narratives of Equiano and Phillips, we can begin to unravel the complex dynamics of power, exploitation, and dehumanization that defined this dark chapter in human history. By confronting the legacy of violence in the slave trade and its enduring impact on African and European societies, we can strive towards a more compassionate and equitable future for all.


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