How and why did America become a slaveholding nation? Although it was not a planned system, it was, unfortunately what we ended up with. Colonial America became a slaveholding society by gradual changes in the laws to gain a stable supply of labor.
When the word slavery is brought up, most people today would think of African Americans working and struggling under the control of a white man. However, this was not always entirely true. Slave labor was an American institution. It wasn't only southern, but it in fact began in many of the Northern states. Things which may have influenced slavery were the Jamestown disaster, which made colonial life very tough, and also the search for a permanent, dependent labor source. In 1619, the Dutch pirated 20 Africans from a Spaniard ship and traded them to the English for food. These baptized Christians were forced to work 5-7 years. At this time there were no slaves, only indentured servants. By the year 1640 there were still no slave laws. In fact African Americans at this time were equal and worked alongside the white man. The year 1641 was when a distinction between the white man and the black man was first made. The first slave laws were made in Massachusetts and these laws of slavery gradually spread throughout the rest of the nation. By 1680 the slave laws were legalized and African Americans were no longer free or equal. There were no criminal offense charges to killing a black slave and I believe this is when things got out of hand.
Thinking about how horrible those African Americans were treated makes me all the more happier to be living in a time where all are created free and equal. I am glad that our nation has made such a vast improvement and I cannot imagine living today without such diversity surrounding me. Looking at our society today I think that we have conquered race discrepancies and I believe that segregation is no longer an issue in our country. Sure, every now and then some...
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