The Efficiency of Slavery

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Chapter 4 Document Based Question

The ultimate reason why slavery was such a vital factor was due to the fact that it was essentially free labor. The only thing that plantation owners had to pay was the initial transaction between auctioneer and buyer. After that, there was no need to pay the slaves for their labor. Obviously, this seemed to be the most efficient way to produce goods that would supply England’s needs. Efficiency was well sustained environmentally and economically. Politically, most of the people with authority did not disagree with slavery so it was not questioned nor was it scolded as it is today.

As stated on pages 80 and 81, the removal of natives were a vital reason why slavery was needed. The story is of Bacon’s Rebellion; a settler named Nathaniel Bacon revolted against the governor, ran him out of Virginia and burned the capital. This was a statement that was made to all of the backcountry settlers near Virginia. Indentured servants made up the most of the revolt, but this instilled fear in plantation owners. These owners were scared of rebellion therefore they wanted to transition to slave labor quickly. These settlers would know expand as far as they could, with native tribes dispersing to the Northeast, this was easy for the settlers. With even more land at their fingertips they could hold more slaves and produce more goods. Finally, the biggest factor was that the south had a clear advantage over the north because they could produce more goods due to the fact that the soil was rich and there was not such a threat of snow and frost killing crops. The south had a large production of crops because they had free labor, flat land and all the natural resources such as good soil and long periods of warm weather.

Economically, slavery was clearly the best option. “Reverend Fontaine is very clear in his letter to his brother that the use of slaves in Virginia was a decision of pure economics”(Document A) If it wasn’t morally...
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