Slavery Effects on North America

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, Compromise of 1850 Pages: 11 (3944 words) Published: March 5, 2012
Slaveries effects on North America
Slavery was present in the United States from the moment the declaration of independence was signed. It's presence during this critical time period of development in the United States, from the day the United States was founded and beforehand allowed for it to interweave itself in almost all aspects of America; primarily economically, politically, and socially. Slavery impacted America in numerous ways, from the political balancing act of free and slave states, to the growth of the southern slave centered economy, slaveries presence during americas infancy was extremely influencing. Slavery was first introduced to english north america in Jamestown, Virginia 1619. A dutch slave trader made port and exchanged 20 “negars” for food.[1] It would take 240 years until slaveries abolishment in 1865[2] Nearly 12 generation of slaves would have to endure the harshness of slavery. Slavery didn't start out as the horrible institution that it would soon become, the very first africans to arrive were treated as indentured servants no different from their white counterparts. They had the ability to gain freedom after a set period of servitude or by converting to christianity. Slavery had a slow initial start in the colonies. At first african slaves were difficult to acquire in north america because of the Caribbean's voracious appetite for slave labor.[3] African population growth in north america started off very slowly. “In 1625 their were only 23 africans present in virginia.” 25 years later there were only 950, 3-4% of the colonies population, and they were still treated in the same manner as an indentured servant.[1] The main reason behind slaveries growth in america was economy based. Economic success was important for prosperity in north america. Shortly after the founding of Jamestown the colonist realized that tobacco, an extremely profitable crop, could be grown in the soil. The only problem was that it required a lot of labor and they had a small labor force.[2] There was a huge imbalance between available land and workers. Tobacco growers just couldn't find enough workers for their fields. There grew huge demand for more workers, but fewer and fewer indentured servants came to america and their voyage payments were seen as too costly, while the need for labor still climbed. As a result the planters looked for a cheap and abundant source of labor, slavery. They first saw native americans as a prime candidate. There were plenty of them and they often caused problems for the colonists. Any captured indian could be put to hard work as a slave, but native americans were soon considered “bad slaves”. They were susceptible to disease, they were rebellious, and they could escape south to be freed in florida by the spanish, or blend in with the native population. “Because indian captives often ran away, the traders preferred to ship them to New York, Boston, and the West indies and import enslaved Africans to work in the Carolinas”[3] The next source of labor seen as viable were africans. They were hardy, immune to many diseases, and had little chance of escape in america. Another big reason behind slaveries growth was because of Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. The rebellion Nathaniel Bacon led was a battle of indentured servants, small farmers, and a few slaves against Virginia's wealthiest planters and political leaders.[4] It resulted in the torching of the virginia capital Jamestown. Seeing these men form together for a cause struck fear in the ruling class. As a result of the indentured servants actions, planters began the transition to african slavery over indentured servitude.[1] By the second half of the 17th century slavery was cementing itself in america, most prominently in the south. It influenced the structure of the political systems and the way constitutions were written. Laws were being created and the practice was becoming more common and established....
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