Edmund S. Morgan's book, American Slavery, American Freedom, is a book focused on the Virginian colonists and how their hatred for Indians, their lust for money, power, and freedom led to slavery. The Virginian society had formed into, as Morgan put it, a republican society towards the end of the 18th century. This society believed in a certain view of freedom and liberty that would define America, through the realization of how this republican freedom depended on its opposite, slavery. How had the Virginia, a society that originally never incorporated slaves into their workforce, become so dependent on them to the point that they feared them? This question and the republican belief of freedom in America are the thesis and topic for Edmund S. Morgan's book.
The analysis, done by Morgan, begins back before the beginnings of the colony in Virginia. The colony was originally proposed by Sir Humphrey Gilbert; this idea was thwarted in 1583 when Gilbert's ship sank. The original plans for this colony, made by Gilbert, did not include “slavery or forced labor of any kind.” (24) The English, in fact, had this view of themselves freeing countless Indian and Negro slaves from the clutches of the evil Spaniards. The English held some sort of fantasized idea, that the Indians and Negroes would be appreciative of them, and serve them in submissive harmony. The English clearly at this point in history sought to create an English colony branded by a new kind of freedom.
Upon achieving a colony in the New World, in 1586, the Colonists faced an immediate danger of starvation. The means of defeating this danger was the dependency on the natives. However the English, depending on the Indians for food, also were the same people that would burn down the native supply of corn, and would kill so many of their people. To fight and kill those that you depended on for survival, was a stupid idea for the English, and was in fact
Bibliography: Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1975.