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Why did colonial lawmakers create strict slave codes in the late


Lawmakers wanted slaves to be treated fairly

B) Lawmakers feared an uprising because the African population had increased greatly.
C) Lawmakers wanted to prevent importing of even more Africans to America.
D) Lawmakers wanted African Americans to be treated the same as indentured servants
E) Lawmakers wanted to pave the road for African slaves to eventually become fee men
through the process of manumission

Lawmakers feared an uprising because the African population had increased

Slave codes in Virginia became tighter and tighter throughout the 1600s and
race based slavery became hereditary and absolute
As slavery spread to the English colonies in the late 1600's, strict slave codes
had to be enacted. These slave code laws helped regulate the relationship
between slave and owner, prohibited slaves from learning to read and write,
required a slave to be granted permission from the owner to leave the
plantation, and did not allow weapon possession amongst slaves. Colonial
authorities feared trouble, so they wrote slavecodes. Under the codes,
enslaved people could not meet in large numbers, own weapons, or leave a
plantation without permission. It also became illegal to teach enslaved AfricanAmericans to read or write.

Slavery in the French Colonies: Le Code

Noir (the Black Code) of 1685
January 13, 2011 by Kelly Buchanan
The following is a guest post by Nicole Atwill, Senior Foreign Law Specialist.
The Black Code tells us a very long story that started in Versailles, at the court of
Louis XIV, the Sun King, in March 1685 and ended in Paris in April 1848 under
Arago, at the beginning of the ephemeral Second Republic. In a few pages, with the
aridity that befits the seriousness of laws, it tells us of the life and death of those who,
in fact, do not have a history. In five dozen articles, it marks the road that was
followed by hundreds of thousands, millions of men, women and children whose
destiny should have been to leave no trace of their passing from birth to death. (p. 7)
(Translation by the author of this post).
This first paragraph of Le Code Noir ou le calvaire de Canaan (The Black Code or the
Ordeal of Canaan) by Louis Sala-Molins perfectly conveys the substance of the Black
Code. I first reviewed the Black Code a few years ago when I helped a reader. The Law
Library owns a 1742 edition that is part of our Rare Book Collection. I did not know much

about it and wished to study it when I found time thankfully, this blog gives me the
opportunity to do so.
Although published two years after his death, the Black Code is usually attributed, at least in
spirit, to Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the famous Minister of Louis XIV. Colbert, known as a great
financier, the founder of the French Navy, and the reorganizer of French commerce and
industry, was also a remarkable jurist (as noted in the book Great Jurists of the World). He
was at the origin of the codifying ordinances adopted during the reign of Louis XIV such as
the Civil Ordinance, the Criminal Ordinance, the Commerce Ordinance, and the Navy
Ordinance. The Colonial Ordinance of 1685, best known as the Black Code, was the last
one to be prepared during his Ministry and may have been completed by his son, the Marquis
de Seignelay. Although subsequent decrees modified some of its provisions, the gist of the
Code remained in place until 1848.
The Codes sixty articles regulated the life, death, purchase, religion, and treatment of slaves
by their masters in all French colonies. It provided that the slaves should be baptized and
educated in the Catholic faith. It prohibited masters from making their slaves work on
Sundays and religious holidays. It required that slaves be clothed and fed and taken care of
when sick. It prohibited slaves from owning property and stated that they had no legal
capacity. It also governed their marriages, their burials, their punishments, and the conditions
they had to meet in order to gain their freedom.
Although some may have seen the Black Code as an improvement over existing law at that
time, many condemned it in very strong terms. Voltaire wrote that the Black Code only
serves to show that the legal scholars consulted by Louis XIV had no ideas regarding human
rights. Robert Giacomel, a French attorney, called the Black Code a crime against humanity
in his book Le Code Noir, autopsie dun crime contre lhumanit (The Black Code, Autopsy
of a Crime against Humanity). Sala-Molins, who taught political philosophy at the
University of Toulouse and at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, referred to it as the most
monstrous legal document of modern times and only a weak barrier to the masters tyranny.
Slavery was abolished in France on February 4, 1794. The decree stated: The Convention
declares the slavery of the blacks abolished in all the colonies; consequently all men
irrespective of color living in the colonies are French citizens and shall enjoy all the rights
provided by the Constitution. Unfortunately, none of the implementing measures were
taken, and slavery was reinstated by a decree of July 16, 1802, while Napoleon Bonaparte
was First Consul. It was definitively abolished by a decree of April 27, 1848, on the initiative
of Victor Schoelcher. The Black Code had remained in force for 163 years.
On May 10, 2001, the French Parliament adopted Law 2001-434 known as the Taubira law,
after the deputy who introduced it before the National Assembly (click on Les autres textes
lgislatifs et rglementaires and enter the law number). Its first article provides as follows:
The French Republic acknowledges that the Atlantic and Indian Ocean slave trade on
the one hand and slavery on the other, perpetrated from the fifteenth century in the
Americas, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean and in Europe against African,
Amerindian, Malagasy and Indian peoples constitute a crime against humanity.
In addition, the law required the introduction to the school history curriculum of courses on
slavery and the establishment of a Slavery Remembrance Day to ensure that the memory of

this crime lives forever in future generations (Articles 2, 4). Former President Jacques
Chirac chose May 10th as the commemoration day.

Le Code Noir
Title page to a 1743 copy of theCode Noir.

Title page from a 1685 copy of the Code Noir.

Le Code Noir (transl. The Black Code), was a decree passed by France's King Louis XIV in
1685. The Code Noir ordered all Jews out of the colony, forbade the exercise of any other
religion, other than the "Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith", restricted the activities of
free Blacks (affranchis) and defined the brutal conditions of slavery in the French colonial
empire. This law was in effect for over a century, although the slave-masters often ignored all
provisions dealing with the rights of slaves and continued their cruel exploitation with

Edict of the King:

On the subject of the Policy regarding the Islands of French America

March 1685

Recorded at the sovereign Council of Saint Domingue, 6 May 1687.

Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and Navarre: to all those here present and to those
to come, GREETINGS. In that we must also care for all people that Divine Providence has put
under our tutelage, we have agreed to have the reports of the officers we have sent to our
American islands studied in our presence. These reports inform us of their need for our
authority and our justice in order to maintain the discipline of the Roman, Catholic, and
Apostolic Faith in the islands. Our authority is also required to settle issues dealing with the
condition and quality of the slaves in said islands. We desire to settle these issues and inform
them that, even though they reside infinitely far from our normal abode, we are always present
for them, not only through the reach of our power but also by the promptness of our help toward
their needs. For these reasons, and on the advice of our council and of our certain knowledge,
absolute power and royal authority, we have declared, ruled, and ordered, and declare, rule,
and order, that the following pleases us:
Article I. We desire and we expect that the Edict of 23 April 1615 of the late King, our most
honored lord and father who remains glorious in our memory, be executed in our islands. This
accomplished, we enjoin all of our officers to chase from our islands all the Jews who have
established residence there. As with all declared enemies of Christianity, we command them to

be gone within three months of the day of issuance of the present [order], at the risk of
confiscation of their persons and their goods.
Article II. All slaves that shall be in our islands shall be baptized and instructed in the Roman,
Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. We enjoin the inhabitants who shall purchase newly-arrived
Negroes to inform the Governor and Intendant of said islands of this fact within no more that
eight days, or risk being fined an arbitrary amount. They shall give the necessary orders to have
them instructed and baptized within a suitable amount of time.
Article III. We forbid any religion other than the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith from
being practiced in public. We desire that offenders be punished as rebels disobedient of our
orders. We forbid any gathering to that end, which we declare to be conventicle, illegal, and
seditious, and subject to the same punishment as would be applicable to the masters who
permit it or accept it from their slaves.
Article IV. No persons assigned to positions of authority over Negroes shall be other than a
member of the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith, and the master who assigned these
persons shall risk having said Negroes confiscated, and arbitrary punishment levied against the
persons who accepted said position of authority.
Article V. We forbid our subjects who belong to the so-called "reformed" religion from causing
any trouble or unforeseen difficulties for our other subjects or even for their own slaves in the
free exercise of the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith, at the risk of exemplary punishment.
Article VI. We enjoin all our subjects, of whatever religion and social status they may be, to
observe Sundays and the holidays that are observed by our subjects of the Roman, Catholic,
and Apostolic Faith. We forbid them to work, nor make their slaves work, on said days, from
midnight until the following midnight. They shall neither cultivate the earth, manufacture sugar,
nor perform any other work, at the risk of a fine and an arbitrary punishment against the
masters, and of confiscation by our officers of as much sugar worked by said slaves before
being caught.
Article VII. We forbid them also to hold slave markets or any other market on said days at the
risk of similar punishments and of confiscation of the merchandise that shall be discovered at
the market, and an arbitrary fine against the sellers.
Article VIII. We declare that our subjects who are not of the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic
Faith, are incapable of contracting a valid marriage in the future. We declare any child born from
such unions to be bastards, and we desire that said marriages be held and reputed, and to hold
and repute, as actual concubinage.
Article IX. Free men who shall have one or more children during concubinage with their slaves,
together with their masters who accepted it, shall each be fined two thousand pounds of sugar.
If they are the masters of the slave who produced said children, we desire, in addition to the
fine, that the slave and the children be removed and that she and they be sent to work at the
hospital, never to gain their freedom. We do not expect however for the present article to be
applied when the man was not married to another person during his concubinage with this
slave, who he should then marry according to the accepted rites of the Church. In this way she
shall then be freed, the children becoming free and legitimate. . . .
Article XI. We forbid priests from conducting weddings between slaves if it appears that they do

not have their masters' permission. We also forbid masters from using any constraints on their
slaves to marry them without their wishes.
Article XII. Children born from marriages between slaves shall be slaves, and if the husband
and wife have different masters, they shall belong to the masters of the female slave, not to the
master of her husband.
Article XIII. We desire that if a male slave has married a free woman, their children, either male
or female, shall be free as is their mother, regardless of their father's condition of slavery. And if
the father is free and the mother a slave, the children shall also be slaves. . . .
Article XV. We forbid slaves from carrying any offensive weapons or large sticks, at the risk of
being whipped and having the weapons confiscated. The weapons shall then belong to he who
confiscated them. The sole exception shall be made for those who have been sent by their
masters to hunt and who are carrying either a letter from their masters or his known mark.
Article XVI. We also forbid slaves who belong to different masters from gathering, either during
the day or at night, under the pretext of a wedding or other excuse, either at one of the master's
houses or elsewhere, and especially not in major roads or isolated locations. They shall risk
corporal punishment that shall not be less than the whip and the fleur de lys, and for frequent
recidivists and in other aggravating circumstances, they may be punished with death, a decision
we leave to their judge. We enjoin all our subjects, even if they are not officers, to rush to the
offenders, arrest them, and take them to prison, and that there be no decree against them. . . .
Article XVIII. We forbid slaves from selling sugar cane, for whatever reason or occasion, even
with the permission of their master, at the risk of a whipping for the slaves and a fine of ten
pounds for the masters who gave them permission, and an equal fine for the buyer.
Article XIX. We also forbid slaves from selling any type of commodities, even fruit, vegetables,
firewood, herbs for cooking and animals either at the market, or at individual houses, without a
letter or a known mark from their masters granting express permission. Slaves shall risk the
confiscation of goods sold in this way, without their masters receiving restitution for the loss, and
a fine of six pounds shall be levied against the buyers. . . .
Article XXVII. Slaves who are infirm due to age, sickness or other reason, whether the sickness
is curable or not, shall be nourished and cared for by their masters. In the case that they be
abandoned, said slaves shall be awarded to the hospital, to which their master shall be required
to pay six sols per day for the care and feeding of each slave. . . .
Article XXXI. Slaves shall not be a party, either in court or in a civil matter, either as a litigant or
as a defendant, or as a civil party in a criminal matter. And compensation shall be pursued in
criminal matters for insults and excesses that have been committed against slaves. . . .
Article XXXIII. The slave who has struck his master in the face or has drawn blood, or has
similarly struck the wife of his master, his mistress, or their children, shall be punished by death.
Article XXXVIII. The fugitive slave who has been on the run for one month from the day his
master reported him to the police, shall have his ears cut off and shall be branded with a fleur
de lys on one shoulder. If he commits the same infraction for another month, again counting
from the day he is reported, he shall have his hamstring cut and be branded with a fleur de lys

on the other shoulder. The third time, he shall be put to death.

Article XXXIX. The masters of freed slaves who have given refuge to fugitive slaves in their
homes shall be punished by a fine of three hundred pounds of sugar for each day of refuge.
Article XL. The slave who has been punished with death based on denunciation by his master,
and who is not a party to the crime for which he was condemned, shall be assessed prior to his
execution by two of the principal citizens of the island named by a judge. The assessment price
shall be paid by the master, and in order to satisfy this requirement, the Intendant shall impose
said sum on the head of each Negro. The amount levied in the estimation shall be paid for each
of the said Negroes and levied by the [Tax] Farmer of the Royal Western lands to avoid costs. . .
Article XLII. The masters may also, when they believe that their slaves so deserve, chain them
and have them beaten with rods or straps. They shall be forbidden however from torturing them
or mutilating any limb, at the risk of having the slaves confiscated and having extraordinary
charges brought against them.
Article XLIII. We enjoin our officers to criminally prosecute the masters, or their foremen, who
have killed a slave under their auspices or control, and to punish the master according to the
circumstances of the atrocity. In the case where there is absolution, we allow our officers to
return the absolved master or foreman, without them needing our pardon.
Article XLIV. We declare slaves to be charges, and as such enter into community property.
They are not to be mortgaged, and shall be shared equally between the co-inheritors without
benefit to the wife or one particular inheritor, nor subject to the right of primogeniture, the usual
customs duties, feudal or lineage charges, or feudal or seigneurial taxes. They shall not be
affected by the details of decrees, nor from the imposition of the four-fifths, in case of disposal
by death or bequeathing. . . .
Article XLVII. Husband, wife and prepubescent children, if they are all under the same master,
may not be taken and sold separately. We declare the seizing and sales that shall be done as
such to be void. For slaves who have been separated, we desire that the seller shall risk their
loss, and that the slaves he kept shall be awarded to the buyer, without him having to pay any
supplement. . . .
Article LV. Masters twenty years of age may free their slaves by any act toward the living or
due to death, without their having to give just cause for their actions, nor do they require
parental advice as long as they are minors of 25 years of age.
Article LVI. The children who are declared to be sole legatees by their masters, or named as
executors of their wills, or tutors of their children, shall be held and considered as freed slaves. .
Article LVIII. We declare their freedom is granted in our islands if their place of birth was in our
islands. We declare also that freed slaves shall not require our letters of naturalization to enjoy
the advantages of our natural subjects in our kingdom, lands or country of obedience, even
when they are born in foreign countries.
Article LIX. We grant to freed slaves the same rights, privileges and immunities that are
enjoyed by freeborn persons. We desire that they are deserving of this acquired freedom, and
that this freedom gives them, as much for their person as for their property, the same happiness

that natural liberty has on our other subjects.

Siete Partidas (Seven Part Code)

France chose to draw up a slave code because, unlike the English, the French
colonies never had a plantocracy which was fully in control as it was in the British
colonies. Until 1785 there were no French Local Assemblies. Therefore, all laws
and policies were decided in France and carried out by the Governor or the
Intendant and the many officials on the islands. Slaves worked on coffee as well
The British viewed their slaves as chattel property and as such, they could be
sold, transferred to another estate or used to pay debts. Slave marriage and
manumission therefore, were not encouraged. The Spanish, on the other hand,
considered the slaves to be human beings-albeit lesser human beings! They
acknowledge that slavery was wrong, but argued that it was a necessary evil.
The Spanish felt that they had a Christian duty towards the slaves. This was
reflected in the slave laws themselves and account for the main differences
between the Spanish slave laws (Siete Partidas) and the British Slave Laws. For
example, Spanish slaves had rights-they could not be starved, overworked or
unlawfully punished. The law guaranteed them right of entry to the Roman
Catholic Church as well as time for religious instructions. They could also marry
without their owners' permission and were allowed to have a family. One must
note however that many of these laws were just on paper.


Las Siete Partidas, the Seven-Part Code, was a set of laws codified in
medieval Spain, some of which were crucial to the legal foundation
of modern slavery in the New World. The code, possibly the most
consequential and comprehensive set of laws of the medieval period,
was compiled in Castile between 1251 and 1265 under Alfonso X the
Wise. The laws went into effect around 1348 and became the
foundation for all Spanish jurisprudence. Beginning with Spanish
expansion in the sixteenth century, the code spread to Spains New
World possessions in the Americas, Asia, and Africa, giving the code
the widest territorial influence of any single legal code.

In Iberia the institution of slavery relied on the legal precepts of the

ancient Visigoths and Romans as well as the Byzantine Justinian
Code that combined Roman and Church law in the early medieval
period. Traditionally slavery was justified by the rules of war; slaves
were furnished by the vanquished and prisoners of battle. In the early
medieval period, as a result of the Islamic conquest of southern Spain
(711-1492) and the Crusades spanning the eleventh to the thirteenth
centuries, religion became a significant component of the justification
of war and enslavement. The Siete Partidas built on these legal and
ethical traditions.
The Castilian code permitted individuals as well as municipal and
religious organizations to own slaves and codified the criteria that had
traditionally justified enslavement. Prisoners of just wars,
particularly non-Christians, as well as condemned persons, children
of enslaved mothers, and those who voluntarily sold themselves into
slavery for debt relief or other economic reasons were regarded as
legitimate slaves. The Siete Partidas appended the traditional
conditions with two additional categories of persons eligible for
slavery: children of priests were required to serve as slaves in their
fathers churches and Christians who provided war material to Moors
could be legally enslaved. Muslims, Jews, and others considered
infidels could not legally own Christian slaves.
The Siete Partidas protected certain rights for enslaved individuals
and provided a number of legal channels for manumission. Christian
slaves were entitled to marry one another with the masters
permission, and masters were legally bound to grant permission
unless they could prove that the union posed a serious danger to their
interests. Masters were prohibited from exhibiting cruel treatment,
including separating families, excessive physical punishment,
starving slaves, or exploiting them sexually. Masters who did not
abide by these laws could be taken to court, and, if proven guilty,
their slaves would be sold to another master or, in certain cases,
manumitted. Slaves who displayed exceptional service to a master or
the state were eligible for manumission. Slaves were legally
permitted to ply a trade and to own property; they had the legal right
to earn, borrow, and lend money and to purchase their freedom or that

of another. Slaves were permitted to bring legal suits, testify in court,

and organize religious brotherhoods.
The laws of the Siete Partidas addressing the rights of masters and
slaves in medieval Spain reflected a system of slavery that was
largely domestic, urban, and temporary and affected an enslaved
population of a various nationalities. Sub-Saharan and North-African
soldiers and slaves accompanied the occupying Muslim armies, and
those captured in battle were considered Spanish property, while other
Africans arrived in Spain via slave markets or as free persons.
Sardinians, Greeks, Russians, Spaniards, Canary Islanders, Turks,
Egyptians, and Moors were among the various peoples who served as
slaves in medieval and early modern Spain. While the laws of
the Siete Partidas were closely aligned with the Catholic Church and
favored Christians, slaves in medieval Spain might be Christian as
well as Jewish or Muslim. The slave laws of the Siete Partidas did
not refer to nationality or race. Because the Partidas reflected the
Spanish cultural and religious belief that enslavement was an
unfortunate and accidental status rather than a natural state, the
burden of proof of a persons enslaved status fell on the owner;
without positive evidence, an alleged slave would be freed.
After 1500, the Siete Partidas spread to Spains overseas possessions,
including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Florida,
and Louisiana. While Spain developed colonial policy in subsequent
centuries to regulate the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the growth of
plantation slavery, both of which were on a scale unparalleled in the
ancient and medieval worlds, Spanish legislators continued to rely on
several elements of the Siete Partidas. The influence of
the Partidas made for greater legal rights, protections, and channels
to freedom for slaves in the Spanish Americas relative to British
North America. How much these rights were observed in practice is a
matter of scholarly debate. Nonetheless, numerous slaves in Spanishinfluenced regions such as Cuba and Louisiana petitioned courts to
uphold their rights and either won or purchased their own freedom
based on the legal precedents of the Partidas.
Elements of the Siete Partidas remained in force in Florida,
Louisiana, and Texas even after these territories went from Spanish to

American possession. The Partidas continue to undergird basic law

in Spanish America and the Philippines.

I know the Partidas were laws to regulate slavery in Spanish Speaking areas, and Code Noir was a
law to regulate slavery in the French Colonies,

rule noun (INSTRUCTION)

B1 [C usually plural] an accepted principle or instruction that states
the way things are or should be done, and tells you what you are
allowed or are not allowed to do

.Statement that establishes a principle or standard, and serves as a norm for guiding or
mandating action or conduct.

Y do society need rules.

Best Answer: You have to understand that the law means nothing. The fact that a group of
people write words on paper does not change reality or human behavior.
I can go on forever about this issue but it would be too much for this answer.
We need certain rules to help us live in society. Humans live in society because it's
convenient. In ancient times was a way to be protected from wild beast or other human
groups and improve the use of resources.
Let's say that you and I agree to protect each other by taking turns watching so the other can
sleep. The agreement has to include a clause where we both take responsibility for not killing
the other. That's our law, it applies to you and me. Anyone else around us may (and will) try
to kill us because they're not part on our agreement.
Same with property, I agree to respect your property only if you accept the responsibility of
respecting my own. And that becomes part of our law, without that we have no society. We're
not partners, that's the meaning of society, partnership.
So far it makes sense to live in society. We accept responsibilities, we renounce to some of
our freedoms (not kill others, not harm others, not steal from other members of the society) to
receive in return the benefits of society (not being kill by others, not being harm by others,
not being robbed by other members of the society).
The problem start when the laws go beyond the needs of the society and start satisfying the
wants and needs of one or many members of the society, even if those many are the majority.
I'm going to pick a stupid example. Let's say that you think that some comic books are bad
for people to read. Depraved sex, explicit language and images, violence, etc. It's just a
drawing on a piece of paper but you don't like it and think that people enjoying it are
obviously depraved and dangerous. You lobby for it and get a law passed that prohibit such
comics. I have my basement full of them, I collected them for ages. Now I'll keep reading
them over and over again, violating the law. How are you going to enforce it? Not being a
victim involved nor the basics of society disturbed, I can go on breaking the law forever. I
can keep it private or I can build my own society between the society where we share the
comics and keep it for ourselves. What good does the law make to you besides satisfying

your perception of righteousness?

This example shows two important aspects of the law. One is that the common law works
because it's a contract between us that benefits all of us. Unfortunately, that concept is lost
now. We're made to believe that the law is almighty and powerful and that our responsibility
is no longer needed to make it work. That's why when our neighbor is being robbed, raped or
killed, we look the other way and call 911. The laws that don't fall into this category don't
work. If you don't get benefit from the law, you look for ways to go around it. We all do.
The other aspect is that the law has to be practical. If you can't enforce it, what's the point?
And I don't say that all laws that can be enforced are good. I'm saying that no matter how
good a law is, if you can't enforce it, it's worth nothing. Most of the time you can enforce any
law if civil liberties and use of resources are not an issue (and you're willing to accept
punishment of innocents once in a while).
The stupid example is just a metaphor of the real cases that I don't want to get into now, but
I'm sure that you can see that laws about drug use, consensual sex, dressing codes and other
forms of private behavior are represented by this example.
Today most of the laws are about the use of resources. Those are easy to enforce because the
government controls the resources. Not all of them... yet... but most of them. They control the
money, the tool we use to exchange the wealth we produce, they control the land mostly
through regulations and ordinances, they control high value assets through mandatory
registration and they control our minds through mandatory education (indoctrination).
It's easy to do, they just take what they want or need and write a law saying that the transfer
of resources is legal. Period.
I can write a book about this... to sum it up, we don't need laws in society. We can do well
with common law from common sense. The US Constitution may not be perfect but it's full
of common sense. It's in itself a good guideline to rule society. None to very little law is
needed beyond the Constitution. But if you go and check how many laws there are... it's the
effing library of congress... literally...

@. Society needs rules to prevent anarchy. Rules protect the general well-being
of society. Without rules, people would do as they please, often endangering
themselves and others. Because otherwise street kids would take over the
world. 1.In society, we need rules in order to help humans live safely. 2.To
prevent anarchy where the strong dominate the weak. 3.Minorities can live in
peace. Without rules society would be uncivilized. People would do whatever
they wanted when they pleased. Rules provide safety for society. if we
didn't have rules the world would be hecktic and full of chaos rules balence
out the world Added; To prevent anarchy.
Society needs rules in order to avoid the unwelcome consequences of human
interaction in the absence of these rules. Without rules, there would be no order,
and without order there would be complete chaos. Rules mitigate this chaotic
state and provide a means of interaction without negative consequence. People
in general need rules to function. Rules are a way to define acceptable behavior
for a society. Obviously, different societies have different levels of acceptable
behavior, so different societies will have different rules. This can range from

different homes to different cultures and nations. Society needs rules in order to
maintain peace and protect people. If there weren't set boundaries,then mayhem
and chaos would result. Laws (which you could call "legal rules") lay out
expectations for behavior so a group of people can live peacefully together, and
set punishment for disregarding those rules.

Share Your Thoughts

6f. "Slave Codes"

The Granger Collection, New York

Nat Turner was inspired by visions of the Spirit to lead a slave uprising in Virginia on August
22, 1831.
Slaves did not accept their fate without protest. Many instances of rebellion were known to
Americans, even in colonial times. These rebellions were not confined to the South. In fact,
one of the earliest examples of a slave uprising was in 1712 in Manhattan. As African
Americans in the colonies grew greater and greater in number, there was a justifiable
paranoia on the part of the white settlers that a violent rebellion could occur in one's own
neighborhood. It was this fear of rebellion that led each colony to pass a series of laws
restricting slaves' behaviors. The laws were known as slave codes.
Although each colony had differing ideas about the rights of slaves, there were some common
threads in slave codes across areas where slavery was common. Legally considered property,
slaves were not allowed to own property of their own. They were not allowed to assemble
without the presence of a white person. Slaves that lived off the plantation were subject to
special curfews.
In the courts, a slave accused of any crime against a white person was doomed. No testimony
could be made by a slave against a white person. Therefore, the slave's side of the story could
never be told in a court of law. Of course, slaves were conspicuously absent from juries as

Slave codes had ruinous effects on African American society. It was illegal to teach a slave to
read or write. Religious motives sometimes prevailed, however, as many devout white
Christians educated slaves to enable the reading of the Bible. These same Christians did not
recognize marriage between slaves in their laws. This made it easier to justify the breakup of
families by selling one if its members to another owner.
As time passed and the numbers of African Americans in the New World increased, so did the
fears of their white captors. With each new rebellion, the slave codes became ever more strict,
further abridging the already limited rights and privileges this oppressed people might hope
to enjoy.

British slave laws.

No Christian can be held in slavery.

Slaves may not leave their masters houses without permission.
Slaves may not own weapons.
Slaves may not gather in groups larger than four.
White people and free black people may not entertain slaves in their
White people and free black people may not sell liquor to slaves.

Slaves who make noise in the street on Sundays will be whipped.
People of African descent may not be buried in the town
Slaves may not gather in groups larger than three.
Slaves who break this law will receive 40 lashes on the naked back.
Masters may punish their slaves for any misdeed in any way they wish
except killing them or cutting off their limbs.

Masters are no longer obligated to free slaves who convert to Christianity.
Children born to enslaved women are slaves for life.
Newly freed black people may not own or inherit land.
Any slave who murders his or her master will be tortured and killed.
Any slave who plots with others to murder his or her master will be tortured
and killed.
Any slave who plots with others to revolt will be tortured and killed.
No slave can ever own a gun or pistol.
No black person who becomes free after 1712 may own a house or pass
property on to their children.
To free a slave, the master must pay a 200-pound bond, to cover the costs
should the freed slave ever become a public charge.

No slave 14 years or older may go out after dark without a lantern.
Funerals for slaves and free African Americans must be held during
Slaves could not gamble for money
Slaves who rode a horse too fast or dangerously in the city
could be whipped