Slavery, condition in which one human being is owned by another [ HYPERLINK "" \l "ftn1" 1 ] , has been part of countless civilizations since the dawn of Mankind. From the fields and mines of Ancient Mesopotamia, through great Rome and sophistic Greece, and all the way until just but a century ago in America and Russia, slavery was a basic foundation of the society. In its beginning, and several times since, slaves were kept almost as family members, but mostly they were put to do the hard, physical work. Slavery was always weld together with the economy of the owners, be it civilians or the monarch crown.
Even today some slavery still exists. We might hear and read about evil criminality referred to as human trafficking, forced prostitution, child soldiers, forced and bonded labour and the use of children in international drug trade, children labour [ HYPERLINK "" \l "ftn2" 2 ] . Also "Conservative estimates indicate that at least 27million people, in places as diverse as Nigeria, Indonesia and Brazil, live in conditions of forced bondage [ HYPERLINK "" \l "ftn3" 3 ] . International organizations like the UN, with its Anti-Slavery Commission, still fight to abolish these modern remains of slavery. In our everyday life language we tend to say that we are slaves of our work, our money or some other materialistic need. Fortunately slavery in its ancient and medieval context has been abolished in practically the whole world.
Serfdom, condition in medieval Europe in which a tenant farmer was bound to a hereditary plot of land and to the will of his landlord [ HYPERLINK "" \l "ftn4" 4 ] , differs principally from slavery in the fact that serfs obtained their subsistence by cultivating a plot of land that was owned by a lord. The reason for then comparing serfdom in the Russian Empire with slavery in the USA lies in the fact that in 18th- and first half of 19th century Russia the nobility, the Dvoryanstvo, possessed the power to practically do everything they wanted with their serfs. This power was identical to the slave owners' in the Southern States of America, also in the 18th- and 19th century. This essay aims at showing how fundamentally different the American and Russian society was, and, ironically, how both contained unfree human beings in miserable conditions. The difficult conditions will be looked at too, and the interesting difference that can be found when comparing the fall of slavery and serfdom will be given some attention. The research question is then; What were the simmilarities and differences between slavery in the USA and serfdom in the Russian Empire? The topic is worthy of investigation since the effects of slavery and serfdom still affect people living in the USA and Russia today.
The United States of America
The New World
On October 12, 1492, when Columbus (1451-1506) reached land in the West Indies for the first time and met the indigenous people there, he made especially many notations in his log book. "(a€¦)they [native people] indicated that people from other nearby islands come to San Salvador [Columbus named the island so] to capture them; they defend themselves the best they can. I believe that people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves" [ HYPERLINK "" \l "ftn5" 5 ] . Columbus' log indicates that the Native American civilizations already consisted of some sort of slavery, unless Columbus' own wish to make slaves of them made him misunderstand what they were trying to tell him. Columbus thinking like this is not unreasonable, considering what we can read further in the log: "They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them" and, perhaps most surprisingly "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men, and govern them as I pleased." This was day one, not counting the days it took to sail to this new land, and already some sort of prediction about the future of the new continent could be drawn, like in a novel consisting of foreshadowing.
This was the beginning of the colonization of the West Indies, and later, the whole Northern- and Southern American continent. Portugal, Britain and France soon joined the