Office of Communications Keswick Rd. Property is as much a social construct as a physical object, and the idea of slaves owning property raised some peculiar legal questions with elements of squatter's rights and underground barter economies. More from the Spring issue. There's no proof of the liberating potential of property. Letting slaves have property shifted a lot of that burden onto the slaves themselves. But there's no reason to think that's true. If anything, it strengthened it.
Genevieve. Age: 32.
But the masters let them do this because it was good [economically] for the slave system.
Amelie. Age: 32.
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More social media options Share on LinkedIn. Allowing slaves to own a few meager things of their own might seem like a form of leniency—even if whatever slaves owned was at the whim of their masters, who might appropriate it at any time and leave them with no legal recourse. The slaves did that because it gave them a more rounded and healthful diet, which should not be underestimated since they might be given nothing more than pork fatback and moldy bread.