How Did Race, Class and Gender Interact in 17th Century Virginia

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Race, class and gender interacted in 17th Century Virginia in several important ways which include the English changing the slave system that was not based on race into one that was, population of free blacks were also strictly controlled which resulted in their slave status as being inevitable and they created the perception that masculinity and femininity only existed among white men and women.

The first law to discriminate blacks from the Europeans was created in 1640 where all blacks except freeholders were banned from bearing arms. Not being able to bear arms meant that in no way were the black able to fight against their unfair treatment. The black indentured servants were also treated unfairly when it came to punishments. This can be seen with the case of John Punch. He and two other white servants tried to escape to Maryland but ended up being caught. The two white servants only had to serve 3 extra years while John Punch was sentenced to serve for life. (Film Slavery and the Making of America) To push racial slavery further, a law was implemented that banned nonwhites from purchasing whites. This ensured that whites could never be servants under blacks; blacks were always of a lower class to whites. Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 was another case where we see unfair punishment being handed out to the blacks. When Nathaniel Bacon died suddenly, the enslaved had no where to go and were captured by the new army England had sent. The leader of the army said that those whites that surrendered would get a few extra years of service but blacks that surrendered got service for life instead of death. (C.D.) More unfairness followed with the act in 1687, “Speedy Prosecution of the Negros and Other Slaves.” This law saw differences in how the black and white that committed capital crimes were prosecuted. Blacks were prosecuted in the county they committed the offense whereas Whites were sent to the capital for trial. The Slave Code in 1705 also stated that Blacks...
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