23 March 2012
Slavery in America
Almost every person in the United States who has been educated has heard or learned a little bit about slavery in some sort of way, however, most people do not know where slavery first began, what the cause was, and how it affected our country. Slavery did not begin in the United States as most people would think, but it has been a long system of labor going back to the ancient world of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and China. The method of capturing and then trading people had become a regular part of society in recorded history. Before the trade of Africans to America, Muslims from the Middle East bought and sold millions of slaves from Hungary to Southeastern Asia and the Far East. People did not think of slavery as anything special or out of the ordinary when the Portuguese and Spanish first brought slaves to work in the gold mines of Central America and the Caribbean islands in 1503 because they had already been aware of slavery from ancient times. In the New world, slaves were used to work in the sugar, tobacco, cotton, and rice plantations creating a new economy and industry. The slave trade brought so much profit to the economy and had a huge part in the United States and Western Europe becoming dominant nations of the world. After 1730, more and more North American and English traders began getting more involved in the slave trade. About 310,000 slaves were sold in just the eighteenth century. Homeports for the business of slave trading were located in Boston, Charleston, and New York. On the map of the Atlantic World, the trade pattern was portrayed as a
triangle because first run would be shipped from New England to Africa so that it can be bartered for the slaves who were taken to the West Indies and later exchanged for sugar or molasses to be shipped back to New England. Slavery in North America was very different compared to slavery in the rest of America due to various reasons. First of all, only about 500,000 slaves were brought into the United States while about 12 million were transported to the Caribbean and South/Central America. In 1770, more imports to North America were ended even though a few southern states still traded after the American Revolution. Second, English people did not have much experience with slavery while the Portuguese and Spanish had plenty of knowledge and experience with the slave industry. Also, the first slaves in Virginia were seen more as workers rather than a piece of property and some were even treated like servants instead of slaves. The colonies north of Virginia did not depend or have much slaves because the English and Pennsylvania colonies did not believe in slavery. The Quakers and Puritans could not accept the idea of having slaves when all they wanted was to create better societies in the New World. The northern colonies also had a cooler climate and no crop that would make good profit if exported, so they did not really find the need to have any slaves because there was not much labor work to be done. Before the American Revolution, about 400,000 African Americans lived in the southern colonies and only 50,000 lived in the northern colonies. During the American Revolution, slavery did not spread much even though it was a profitable business. There were constant debates on when slavery would end in the future. Some people thought it would end by the next century, and this worried Southerners who wanted to protect the institution of slavery and continue with the slave trade. To make
sure this would happen, the South were able to win three very important agreements. The first one was the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, which allowed slave owners or slave catchers to cross the state lines in order to retrieve any runaway slaves. The second was the Three-Fifths Clause, which meant that every slave would be counted as three-fifths of a...