The trade became more robust by the seventeenth century and peaking towards the close of the eighteenth century. The main reason for the start of the trade was to find labor for the expanding European empires because the indigenous people proved unreliable.
Most of them were dying from diseases and the climate did not favor them, but the Africans were resilient to these factors, they were resistant to the diseases, were used to the tropical climate and they could work very hard in mines and plantations Evans, But this was not new to Africa as the Africans had been traded for many years as slaves mainly to Europe through the Islamic-run and the famous trans-Saharan trade routes.
The first slave market was a maritime town in Portugal called Lagos mostly dealing with imported African slaves. The Europeans did not like the slaves that they obtained from the North African coast who were dominantly Muslims because they seemed too well educated and were bound to rebel. Also slavery was a traditional norm in many African societies where kingdoms and states condoned forced labor, serfdom, chattel slavery and debt bondage Slave Code, n.
The triangular trade involved three stages where the first stage involved bringing of manufactured goods mainly cloth, tobacco, spirit, and many others to Africa, these were then exchanged for slaves. The second stage commonly referred to as the middle passage, involved shipment of slaves to America, and the final stage was the return of the slave traders to Europe with produce from the plantations in America.
At first most of forced laborers in the plantations were whites, indentured servants, but as blacks started coming in, the whites were left out and this is where the notion of miscegenation propped up.
This is basically race mixing, which was initially seen when white slave master had children with the female slaves as a way of increasing their labor force. But with time opposition to this become obvious and as a result anti-miscegenation laws were set up baring whites and blacks from marrying or even having sex Evans, There was also the issue of slave codes which were enacted to deny the Africans their rights.
The English colonists categorized Africans as their cultural inferiors, human chattels who had no civil rights. For example, the southern colonies relied mostly on the slaves for their labor in cultivating the cash crops in the large plantations.
This was mostly in Southern Carolina. To gain authority over the slaves, they came up with the Southern Carolina Slave Code which among other things, authorized whites to detain and examine any slave that was found not accompanied by a white outside a house or plantation, prohibited the leaving of plantations by the blacks, prohibited blacks from being taught how to read and write, called for severe punishment for blacks who engaged in criminal behavior especially against the whites and many other restrictions Slave Code, n.
For many years slavery existed to satisfy the greed for wealth and power of the colonists and the slave masters. People especially the blacks were stripped off their human dignity. But with time it becomes known that it was just a social sin. Its impacts were felt both from where the slaves were fetched to the slave masters abode. Slaves could be free after they had successfully completed a period of servitude; they could eventually rise to a position of higher station within the same society that had once enslaved them.
Later, between the 9th and 15th centuries, the Europeans developed a history of serfdom, a form of servitude that bound peasants to the land they worked. This European world, however, had passed by the time of English colonization. Nevertheless, a large, landless, and poor population remained. Their status prompted the use of the indentured system, contracted labor for a set amount of time, to both provide the lower class with a means of transportation to the colonies and, for the upper class, a source of labor.
Just as the indentured were making their way across the Atlantic, Africans were finding their way to Jamestown as well, although not by choice. In , a British pirate ship had been sailing off the coast of Virginia. The English offered to trade the twenty Africans on board their ship for provisions with the settlers at Jamestown. Originally, the people of the twelve-year-old colony had no interest in the cargo being offered, but they eventually made the trade.
Because this first group of Africans landed in the colony by chance, it is reasonable to surmise that once traded successfully, word got out and more slave ships followed. Anthony Johnson is an excellent example of what might have occurred with the first Africans who arrived. Times however, were difficult for both masters and servants. Virginia was facing economic challenges because people could not stay alive. Disease was killing the colonists during the first fifteen years.
More than half of those who immigrated died of disease. People were acquiring land, but they simply could not do much with it. People only existed; they were not making any substantial money. One crop that began to give some hope for a better economy was tobacco. The Virginia colony began to experiment with it in Settlers found that they lived in the right climate for this crop to grow and flourish. As the crop grew, people within the colony began smoking it and the demand for tobacco increased because colonists found it hard to resist.
This created a relationship between the demand for tobacco and the labor to supply it. The labor-intensive nature of tobacco was another reason it required a large work force. The crop was essentially a year round one that needed constant tending.
Tobacco had to be trimmed often, de-bugged routinely, harvested when ripe, and prepared for sale. The crop ripened in mid-summer, the hottest months of the year. When harvesting the crop, the laborers had to cut it, trim it again, dry it, and bundle it for shipping. Tobacco alone created a huge, almost desperate need within the colony for labor.
The colonists had figured out a way to make money and improve the economy, but they could not turn the opportunity into a profitable reality for two major reasons. First, by there was an increasing reduction in the numbers of indentured servants due to deaths because of disease.
Secondly, the contracts were expiring for those who had been indentured before tobacco began to boom for the colony. These former servants were becoming freemen, able to have their own land to grow the new economic opportunity. The colonists had to find another way to achieve the success they felt they deserved and they began looking to the African slave trade as an answer to their dilemma.
The speed at which African slavery developed was tied to the economy and who was benefiting from the slave trade itself. Plantation owners, slave brokers, ship builders, and those who were operating the ports were all profiting.
Between and the colony began to divide, not along class lines as before, but by skin color. An important turning point, according to Jordan, is John Punch, an African indentured servant. This is a complicated period because while some Africans were being enslaved for life, others were able to purchase land and remain free. By the time Antonio and Mary were freed from their servitude in , Antonio had taken the name Anthony Johnson. Within nine years, he had purchased acres of land and a head of cattle.
The fact that Johnson and other free Africans were able to own land does not mean that whites thought of them as equal. Actually, a belief that Africans were inferior to whites was intensifying. The legal decisions and laws restricting Africans within society made whites believe Africans should be feared. That which is feared must be controlled. Slavery would eventually become a system of control over slaves by the use of horrific violence.
Although changes in the treatment of Africans based on race was occurring, the need for labor remained a persistent issue. At this point, the explosion of the tobacco economy and the increase in the slave trade became interdependent. It is reasonable to assume that the loss of labor due to indentured contract expirations, caused landowners to seek new sources of labor. Servitude for life would serve their purposes.
Laws creating a slavery system began to appear for Africans. In , the first law was passed changing servitude into slavery for life. One year later the law changed to include children born to slave mothers, making them slaves for life as well. While the laws were changing, Anthony Johnson was still living as a free man.
- In my essay, “The Evolution of Slavery in Colonial America” author Jon Butler explains the reasons of the traces of the evolution of slavery. Butler describes the differences of the African experience in America and the European experience in America in detail.
Slavery in America. Custom Slavery in America Essay Writing Service || Slavery in America Essay samples, help Slavery appeared not only as a moral issue, but also affected the nation on an economic, social and legal level.
Unlike most editing & proofreading services, we edit for everything: grammar, spelling, punctuation, idea flow, sentence structure, & more. Get started now! Slavery in America Essay Thesis. Introduction. Slavery is a topic that has dominated the history of America throughout its first years. The landowners believed to have been from the South subjected to servitude more than four million individuals shipped from the African continent to work in their farmlands.
Critical Essays Slavery in the United States Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List The first African to arrive in the New World is believed to have accompanied Christopher Columbus on one of his voyages to the Americas; African slaves began arriving shortly after Early records of slavery were traced to the Hammurabi Code of BC, and also the bible which shows that slavery was an established institution. Many ancient .