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.
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Anime & Manga
- Fullmetal Alchemist reveals that the protagonists' father, Hohenheim, was over four hundred years old. It also reveals concurrently that around Ed's age he was a nameless slave designated #23, in the vanished Xerxes Empire. He climbs up from there with the help of Homunculus, who regards him as a father, but until the little blob in the jar started talking to him he had no particular ambitions beyond doing his work and being left alone.
- One of Legato Bluesummers' A Day in the Limelight bits in the Trigun manga shows us his backstory, which was either this or being Made a Slave in infancy or very early childhood. Then the little blue-haired Sex Slave who discovers his psychic powers and instead of using them to escape sets out to make sure of killing everyone in the entirety of the town. This causes them to start raping him to death as a punishment, apparently preventing him from focusing enough to stop them, since he's just starting to grow into his powers.
- And then Knives has an accidental Big Damn Heroes moment, and decides to spare the kid and let him tag along when he offers his life gladly in thanks. Reaches Tear Jerker when the boy is clearly crying for joy even as he admits that he doesn't have a name, and stumbles after the Magnificent Bastard with the shackles still trailing shattered chains.
- Rather than becoming a Morality Pet, as one might expect given the general scenario, the little boy pulls a From Nobody to Nightmare, and grows up to be both a major purveyor of horror and a poster boy for Happiness in Slavery, because of his Mad Love for the aforementioned Big Bad. Also a Boomerang Bigot and Nietzsche Wannabe completely on board with his boss's plan to Kill All Humans.
- In Gangsta such was the fate of many children who were born Twilights, up until a few years ago when slavery became illegal at least.
- Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars.
- 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.
- 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.
Live Action TV
- Pursuant of 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 the middleman and did the raping 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 all 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).