Slave patrols began in South Carolina in 1704 and spread throughout the colonies and lasted well beyond the American Revolution. As the population of black slaves boomed, especially with the invention of the cotton gin, so did the fear of slave resistance and uprisings. Its development began when other means of slave control failed to instill slave control and obedience. Their biggest concern were slaves on the plantations since that is where slave populations were highest. At first, incentives such as tobacco and money were offered to urge whites to be more vigilant in the capture of runaway slaves. When this approach failed, slave patrols were formally established. Laws were put into place to regulate the activities of both blacks and whites. Slaves who were encountered without passes were expected to be returned to their owners, as stated in the slave code. Punishment for runaway slaves could be expected. Black persons were subjected to questioning, searches, and other forms of harassment. Oftentimes, whippings and beatings for non-compliant, and even compliant slaves, could be expected. More than floggings and beatings, however, slaves feared the threat of being placed on the auction block. This meant being separated from their families, who were the biggest support in coping with their situation. If caught by patrols and returned to their masters, being placed on the auction block was an option for masters who no longer wanted to deal with their non-compliant slaves.During these times, slaves were often neglected and mistreated despite having permission to travel.
Slave owners feared slave gatherings would allow them to trade or steal goods and the potential for a rebellion. South Carolina and Virginia selected patrols from state militias. Slave patrols were often equipped with guns and whips and would exert brutal and racially motivated control. At times, blacks developed many methods of challenging slave patrolling, occasionally fighting back violently. The American Civil War developed more opportunities for resistance against slave patrols and made it easier for enslaved people to escape. #Plantationpolice#Read