Teacher: Very good. Any such stories in our literature?
Olya: Not that I know of. We do have novels and stories about the serfdom.
Kolya: Yes, like Radishev's " Traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow". That one though is different.
Kolya: Radishev's story is from much more earlier times. Also, in Russia it was feudalism and serfs, peasants came with the landownership when land belonged to the nobility. Nobility was a relatively small group of people with significant privileges, the ruling elite. Russia was an Empire. But even they had to abolish the serfdom in 1861 because it became unsustainable. Meanwhile, US was a democracy; they proclaimed themselves being enlightened and had slaves at the same time, bought and sold. Sounds like an anomaly.
Natasha: That's true. In the book Eliza, George and other members of the family seek refuge in Canada. Canada was an English colony and it did not have slavery.
Teacher: Well, that means some kind of a specific arrangement for black people. Apparently, they were brought to the US as slaves and remained that way after the US Revolution. They were excluded from the citizenship, so to speak. Why?
Kolya: In the book a slave- owner St. Clare tells about it. He defines slavery as some kind of a convenient arrangement for everyone interested: for white planters who owned the Negroes and could use them as cotton harvesters and servants, for the commerce system which benefited from buy- sell roundabout, for the Northern companies and banks which could use the Negroes as commodities- they were rather expensive for that time. Owning people was a symbol of prosperity; in the US prosperous people were defined by their wealth.