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but the term slavery is obviously used for all manners of different relationships through the ages. For instance, throughout the New World, European colonialism created various systems where certain groups of people (e.g., indigenous people, deported convicts, and people bought through the slave trade) were forced to work for others with little or no rights, under conditions we would easily recognize as slavery-like, except possibly for the squabbling over the relevance of the concept of ownership. Take the Spanish encomienda system, which treated Native American people in many areas as slave-like, up to the point where governors (and after independence, governments) even traded indigenous laborers among one another. The question is always to what extent you want to make personal ownership by private individuals, if possible certified in written documents, a necessary criterion for calling a relationship slavery under a narrow literal interpretation.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 02:53:42 PM EST

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