June 23, 2014
Was Slavery a product of white racism or the desire to find a steady and reliable work force? Why did African slavery expand so rapidly in the late 17th century?
Over one-half of all the immigrants to the New World between 1500 and 1800 were Africans, virtually all of them sent to the Americas against their will. African society was portrayed as primitive and uncivilized. Africans were kept as slaves in Africa because of criminal behavior, unpaid debts, or from being captured in wars. Africans began to sell slaves as early as the eighth century to traders from the Mediterranean and later to the Portuguese. The African slave trade long preceded the European settlement in the New World (Text page 18.) Beginning of the sixteenth century, Africans and Europeans immigrated to the Americas. The search for economic growth led the migration of Europeans to the New World. The Mayflower sailed to Plymouth in 1620, and by 1650 new colonies were being built, which developed a growth in population in the colonies. By 1700, slavery had spread well beyond its original locations in the Caribbean and South America and into the English colonies to the north (Text page 18.) As the colonies expanded, more settlers arrived, and more settlers had larger farms that required more work and labor. The demands for slaves were overwhelmingly high. There were several reasons of racist assumptions among whites about the inferiority of blacks; the enormous economic investments many white southerners had in their slaves; and the inability of even such men as Washington Jefferson, who had moral misgivings about slavery, to envision any alternative to it (Text page 125.)
The demand for African servants to supplement the scarce southern labor force existed almost from the first moments of settlement. For a time, however, black workers were hard to find. At first, many farmers used indentured servants as labor. Indentured servants worked...
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