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ClarifiedChaos
07-10-2012, 10:42 AM
More specifically, what jobs would slaves typically have been given in the eighteenth century? So far I've come up with this list:

Blacksmith
Seamstress / Tailor
Farmer
Miner
Solider / Knight / Guard
Medic
Carpenter
Lumberjack
Maid / Butler
Sailor / Dock Worker
Prostitute

Some of those may sound a bit strange, but it pertains to my WIP. I'm thinking sort of the Industrial Revolution. Any thoughts?

*See post number three for a more accurate description of what I'm looking for since I cannot seem to do it in one post.*

blacbird
07-10-2012, 10:54 AM
Slaves? If you're talking about American slavery, you need to do some research. Your list sums up many of the major occupations that most free common folk would have labored in (although I don't know about "medic"). Slaves mostly did the lowest forms of forced labor, and the big one undoubtedly was tending fields. Brutal, hard work, in those days. Household servants would have been another big one, but even there, slaves would have generally held only the most menial positions. Skilled trades were totally the domain of free people, who were almost, but not quite, all white European-ancestry folks. A famous exception would be Crispus Attucks, a free black sailor who was one of the first fatalities of the American Revolution, killed at Lexington.

Probably not many "butlers". And "soldier, knight, guard" just seem completely out. it wasn't common practice, I don't think, to place slaves in charge of weapons. And there were no "knights".

Remember also that the Industrial Revolution in North America centered mainly in northern areas, and the bulk of slaveholders were in the agrarian south. By the "18th century" you're addressing mainly colonial times, pre-Revolution.

I'd recommend a historical study of American slavery titled The Peculiar Institution, by Kenneth Stampp. Well-written and informative.

caw

ClarifiedChaos
07-10-2012, 11:19 AM
I just realized I did not do a very good job in describing what I was looking for. :o

My work in progress is Young Adult novel focusing on a dystopian society where basically the world is run by slaves. It's sort of an alternate history, if you will.

So, more specifically, I want to know what jobs would have been available to anyone during the early industrial revolution, around the time steam power was used as the primary source of power.

Thank you for helping me better explain this though! :D

Unimportant
07-10-2012, 11:21 AM
What country/culture are you talking about? Jobs in Japan /=/ Jobs in Papau New Guinea /=/ Jobs in America

ClarifiedChaos
07-10-2012, 11:32 AM
What country/culture are you talking about? Jobs in Japan /=/ Jobs in Papau New Guinea /=/ Jobs in America

It would be similar to jobs in Europe. It's not set in a place that exists. The setting is a city on the edge of the ocean, if that helps at all.

blacbird
07-10-2012, 11:43 AM
It's not set in a place that exists.

So, you're writing Fantasy. The trick with Fantasy is: You get to make up your own rules. Don't overworry about factual history. Just make everything make sense. You can have your slaves devoted to the manufacture of left-handed metric deefendorfers because that's what their masters desire, and without such devices, they'll all turn blue and shrivel and die.

Now go write.

caw

ClarifiedChaos
07-10-2012, 11:47 AM
So, you're writing Fantasy. The trick with Fantasy is: You get to make up your own rules. Don't overworry about factual history. Just make everything make sense. You can have your slaves devoted to the manufacture of left-handed metric deefendorfers because that's what their masters desire, and without such devices, they'll all turn blue and shrivel and die.

Now go write.

caw

Hahaha! Thank you very much for this.

Priene
07-10-2012, 03:29 PM
The primary industry driving growth in the industrial revolution was textiles, because its market satisfied a demand that already existed. Subsidiary industries such as railways grew up to shift the produce, along with mining for raw materials and power source. Port cities grew to import the materials needed for industry (particularly Liverpool to supply Lancastrian cotton mills) and to ship out the manufactured articles.

Slaves, it should be noted, make terrible factory workers, because factories give workers an opportunity to organise unavailable to, say, isolated plantation slaves. And the presence of large machines gives disgruntled slaves (ie all of them) the chance to sabotage production without it being obvious they caused it.

ClarifiedChaos
07-10-2012, 10:01 PM
Slaves, it should be noted, make terrible factory workers, because factories give workers an opportunity to organise unavailable to, say, isolated plantation slaves. And the presence of large machines gives disgruntled slaves (ie all of them) the chance to sabotage production without it being obvious they caused it.

Good, that means I'm on the right track. :D

Thank you!

Dave Hardy
07-10-2012, 10:41 PM
Probably not many "butlers". And "soldier, knight, guard" just seem completely out. it wasn't common practice, I don't think, to place slaves in charge of weapons. And there were no "knights".


Just for the sake of being contrary, there were military retainers of slave origin in the 18th century, just not in Western Europe. The Egyptian Mameluks were technically slaves, often bought from warrior tribes in the Caucasus. However in Egypt, they formed the ruling class. The Egyptian peasants and workers were a lot more downtrodden than the Mameluks.

The class of Imperial Knights in Germany originated as serfs of the Holy Roman Empire. But by the 18th century I don't think there was any pretense they were anything but autonomous landowners.

Finally, there were the chikunda of the prazo senores in Mozambique. The prazos were landowners from old colonial families, of mixed Portuguese & native origin (with ancestors from as far afield as Thailand). The chikunda were native warriors, technically slaves, who formed the prazeiro's personal fighting forces.

So you can find some example of just about anything somewhere. As others have noted, 1) it's a fantasy, worldbuilding is what you make of it; 2) the world is a big place, if you want to take models from actual history, you need to be aware of how varied cultures were, even in so seemingly limited a time frame as the 18th century.

Priene
07-10-2012, 11:24 PM
Good, that means I'm on the right track. :D

Thank you!

The other thing with factories is the amount of investment needed to get one going. If you've just invested millions creating one, involuntary labour are about the last people you want staffing it. Which is one reason why feudal societies (particularly in Eastern Europe) didn't last long beyond their introduction. Too unprofitable. Not that the feudal landlords would have seen it that way.

L.C. Blackwell
07-11-2012, 05:40 AM
As suggested, compulsory labor tended to be tied to agricultural estates with a wealthy landowning class.

You might also find it interesting to look at serfdom in Russia, where the "souls" of the estate might be used for agricultural labor, but others were gifted artisans and craftsmen, and still others formed theatrical and musical troupes renowned for their performances.

Note that being a gifted performer was no guarantee of a decent life: the artists were still the property of the master, and could be used or misused at his will.

For instances of sabotage in factories, try to find descriptions of prisoners set to work for the German war machine in WWII. I've heard of dummy artillery shells particularly--lacking any ability to explode, and at least in one instance, carrying a note of encouragement to the Allies where the warhead should have been.

ClarifiedChaos
07-11-2012, 08:12 AM
For instances of sabotage in factories, try to find descriptions of prisoners set to work for the German war machine in WWII. I've heard of dummy artillery shells particularly--lacking any ability to explode, and at least in one instance, carrying a note of encouragement to the Allies where the warhead should have been.

Interesting. I'll have to look into that.

Chasing the Horizon
07-11-2012, 10:08 AM
I'm a little confused about what time period we're talking about. Steam was used in a limited industrial capacity in the 18th Century, but the steam engine designs most people are familiar with, the steam locomotive, and wide-spread industrialization didn't come about until the 19th Century.

Even though you're writing fantasy, you still need to have a basic time period for your tech level (mine is 1900-1920, just as an example). And you definitely DO need to do research for fantasy. If you try to just make it up and go write like blacbird said, your world will lack believability and authenticity.

Anyway, some sample jobs for the 1700-1800 time period:
Cartwright
Butcher
Store clerk
Baker
Cook (restaurant or in private wealthy home)
Bricklayer
Stone mason
Street vendor
Pickpocket
Server (tavern/restaurant)
Inn keeper
Teacher
Nurse / wetnurse
Midwife
Printing press operator
Writer
Actor
Dancer
Artist (any medium, except digital of course)
Glass maker
Wheelwright
Cobbler
Potter
Constable/Sheriff
Politician
Fortune teller
Banker
Lawyer

Yeah, I'll stop now. One thing to keep in mind is that back then things were way more specialized because it took a ridiculous amount of labor to make anything. So pretty much everything your characters touch, see, or use . . . someone had a job making that thing.

L.C. Blackwell
07-11-2012, 11:30 AM
Interesting. I'll have to look into that.

Actually, I'm not sure it was artillery--may have been an unexploded aerial bomb, but I do remember the story, and I think the thing came from a prison factory in Czechoslovakia, if that's any help. :)

Squirrel on a Ledge
07-13-2012, 04:43 AM
It might help to research how a variety of cultures used slavery. For instance, the other day, I was reading about slavery in ancient Greece. They used slave for plenty of seemingly "normal" jobs...it's just that the slave owner got money from the labor.

From what I know about slavery, the only thing that seems consistently out of bounds is anything considered sacred or special. For instance, in ancient Greece, slaves were not politicians. Similarly, contrary to popular belief, most scholars do not think that the Pyramids were built by slaves. It seems like in most cultures where slavery existed, slaves did whatever was considered too low for normal citizens: anything dirty, physical, dangerous, etc.

That being said, even in the US, some slaves did serve as soldiers. Sorry I don't remember specific names, but there were even slaves who fought alongside their "owners" in the Civil War.