Slaves in Early America

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The slave trade to the British colonies in America was quite widespread throughout the northern and southern colonies. Slavery became a key part of the colonies’ economy because of their reliance on it for agriculture. The labor force in Colonial America began as indentured servitude, but later shifted towards complete slavery, without a chance of freedom. The treatment of slaves was harsh, but slavery differed somewhat between the Southern Colonies and the Northern Colonies. The Northern and Southern Colonies differed in their roles in the slave trade and in the work slaves would perform, but not in their treatment of slaves, or their racial attitudes towards slavery.

Slavery in the southern colonies differed from slavery in the northern colonies. The southern climate and soil made it quite suitable for growing commercial crops and as a result there was a need for a larger labor source than in the North. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.in colonial America, this large labor force was most often organized into a series of large plantations. Slaves in the colonial Chesapeake region were used primarily for the growing and harvesting of tobacco. Before the slaves were used to harvest crops, plantation owners used white, indentured servants. After Bacon’s Rebellion in 1675, the labor force began a transition towards slave labor as plantation owners were seeking a more controllable labor force. The slaves became cheaper and more readily available as England became more of a commercial power and relied more heavily on slave labor. Since tobacco was a very labor-intensive crop, plantation owners accumulated many slaves. The harvesting of tobacco included transplanting the crop from seedbeds to hills, pruning, and then curing. Slaves would also have to remove pests by hand. In the Deep South, Georgia and the Carolinas, rice and indigo became the staple crops. Rice and indigo were also labor-intensive crops. They had to be grown on large-scale plantations or...
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