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How Did Slavery Affect Colonial America?

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How Did Slavery Affect Colonial America?

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  • October 2008
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Slavery was a practice in many countries in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its effects in human history was unique to the United States. Many factors played a part in the existence of slavery in colonial America; the most noticeable was the effect that it had on the personal and financial growth of the people and the nation. Capitalism, individualism and racism were the utmost noticeable factors during this most controversial period in American history. Other factors, although less discussed throughout history, also contributed to the economic rise of early American economy, such as, plantationism and urbanization. Individually, these factors led to an enormous economic growth for the early American colonies, but collectively, it left a social gap that we are still trying to bridge today.

Capitalism has always been a double edge sword for the United States. It began as the driving force in pushing along economic growth, but it came at the price of the African society. It was implied, and enforced, that Africans were of a lesser class through the means in which they were "used" by the slave owners to promote their wealth and stature. The larger their plantation, the wealthier and more successful people were seen. But in order to do this, the plantation owners needed workers, but if they had to pay workers reasonable wages, they could not yield a profit. Also, in the South, it was hard, rough work in the hot sun and very few whites were willing to do the work, therefore, most plantation owners purchased slaves to work the land. The plantation owner gave the slaves shelter and a small food allowance as a salary. Thereby, the plantation owner "saved" his money to invest in more land, which of course required more slaves to continue to yield a larger profit. An economic cycle was created between plantation owner and slave, one that would take generations to end. Slaves were now a necessity on the larger plantations to work the fields. They were pieces of...