1619 was a critical year in development. The House of Buregesses was created, but more importantly, the first slaves were brought into the colony of Jamestowne, Virginia. While the treatment of the slaves and their role in American society changed significantly from 1607-1775 the reasons for the rise of their importance reflected economic, geographic, and political factors.
The geography of the southern colonies was not suited to standard farming as that of the northern colonies. The soil of the land was not suited to the growing of standard crops like wheat and corn. Also, the hot weather of the south did not allow for easy farming, and its wet and temperate sub-tropical climates was best suited for the growing of tobacco, rice, and indigo. Along with this, the extensive river system which divided the southern colonies into tiny interconnected pieces provided the best transportation for mass goods and for wet soil. The many river parts of the south made it easy to transfer goods grown on plantations, and to facilitate the purchase of slaves. Economically, slavery was what saved the south. The colony of Jamestown would not have survived had it not been for the discovery of John Rolfe for better and much more efficient ways to cultivate tobacco in mass quantities. The most economically feasible way to plant and harvest the tobacco was by maintaining massive amounts of land, which could be worked by cheap labor, and thus the influential plantation was formed. The use of cheap labor and he lack of luxury conditions for these workers provided the most efficient land profitable economic system. By using slaves who had limited rights and by keeping them in subservient conditions, large plantations where massive amounts of money was invested and produced provided the economic model of wealth and aristocracy for the southern colonies. Thus, the economic conditions of the south fostered the growth of slavery.
While the use of cheap labor to cultivate tobacco on large...
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