Born Into Slavery

Many a character will get Made a Slave in the course of his or her adventures, and then get away again; sometimes this is even the driving force of some Long Lost Heir or Proud Warrior Race Guy. Other times it's just Whacky Hijinks, because who isn't going to laugh and enjoy the Fanservice of a little harmless Go-Go Enslavement?

And then there are the ones who were never made slaves, because they were born into it. Some of these people may come from a Slave Race, and some of them may even find Happiness in Slavery, but an overwhelming number of protagonists Born Into Slavery are deeply opposed to this condition. They may wish to avenge particular wrongs, or start a war to free their people, or just join a moral crusade for general emancipation. And that's if the story isn't entirely focused on them struggling to gain freedom just for themselves and/or loved ones.

It is also not guaranteed they will succeed, even in modern works, although it leaves a bad taste in our mouths when they don't. May ultimately invoke I Die Free.

Generally, a childhood spent enslaved will mess you up pretty much for all time, regardless. This is also considered interesting.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men member Longshot was a clone created by scientists working for Mojo, with the express purpose of working as a stuntman in movies; however, the inventor of the technology had planted a seed that would grow into the desire for freedom in his creations, and Longshot's first words were to tell Mojo, "No-one owns me." Eventually, he would indeed lead a rebellion and escape to Earth, beginning Mojo's long enmity with the X-Men and other heroes.

  • Blood and Honor: Vette was born a slave on Ryloth and separated from her family at a young age. After being sold to various owners, she was freed, only to end up in a slave collar again shortly after the story begins. Eventually she manages to find both her mother and sister and buy the latter's freedom.


  • Akai, as well as his parents and mostly all elves in Phenomena with the exeption of Alk and Ilke. And a hidden elf tribe called Dark Elves.
  • Kullervo from the Finnish epic Kalevala.
  • Manpower's genetic slaves in the Honor Harrington novels.
  • Paulo the Elder and the Malê of Mal Rising, as were most politicians in post-Civil War South Carolina.
  • The Mark of the Horse Lord: Phaedrus the gladiator's father didn't get around to freeing his housekeeper and their son before he died. Phaedrus is rather lost after winning his freedom and ends up moonlighting as a tribal king.
  • The Attwell family, in Pact, is enslaved by an Incarnation of Conquest, due to mistakes made by an ancestor. Each child is allowed to grow until they reach thirteen years of age, and then they are forcibly awakened by their parents and then bound. Malcolm Fell Attwell, Conquest's main agent, is a Death Seeker who's looking for someone to kill him so that he won't have to do it to his niece in his deceased brother's stead.
  • Pharaoh, being set in Ancient Egypt after its golden age, has fellahin (peasants) who are, for all intents and purposes, slaves. Of the state, so they don't have any protection from the clerks.
  • In the Red Rising trilogy, every character not born into the Gold ruling caste is typically seen as property. Some colors have more freedom than others, but their roles in society all exist to prop up Gold.

     Live Action TV 
  • The Jaffa in the Stargate universe, as an engineered Slave Race, are all this. Teal'c, the Jaffa we see the most of, is more or less the Trope Namer for I Die Free.
  • Melisandre in Game of Thrones was this. She reveals that her mother was a slave, presumably making her daughter one as soon as she was born. The books reveal she was sold to the Red Temple as a young girl.

     Real Life 
  • Pursuant to Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, the US actually banned the importation of slaves in 1808 (fifty-seven years before the ratification of the 13th amendment banning all slavery). The anti-slavery Founding Fathers hoped that the activation of this law would rapidly strangle slavery in the US by depriving the plantations of replacement slaves. However, what they did not foresee was the fact that by 1807, there were so many slaves in the US that the slave owners were simply able to breed more slaves from their current "breeding stock". Older male slaves who had worked well would be put out to "stud" (which provided the slave owners with another source of income). And in many plantations, slaves would be forced into marriages and made to breed (many masters cut out the middleman and raped the women themselves). The intra-US slave trade was a massive business, and slave population actually rose post-1808. And all of those slaves freed at the end of the Civil War were probably born into slavery (any foreign-born slaves would have been in their late 50s at least,note  which, given slaves' life expectancy, would be quite rare).
    • This sort of thing did not happen in South America or the Caribbean in large numbers because working conditions were so harsh that most of the slaves were worked to death before age 30 (or they were freed, whereupon their children are no longer slaves).
    • The other factor, economics making slavery untenable, also never happened due to the invention of the cotton gin which made harvesting it much easier. So slavery remained a profitable institution up to its abolition.