AP American History Essay
The British North American colonies grew considerably between 1600 and 1763. Imports and exports across the Atlantic caused a constant demand for labor in the colonies. The British colonies supplied raw goods as well as some manufactured goods for countries around the world especially in Europe. As the demand for cash crops and raw materials from the Americas grew, the demand for labor also increased. Trans-Atlantic interactions fostered continuity in the demand for labor in the British North American colonies from 1600 to 1763 but also fostered changes in the sources of labor.
The harsh conditions for indentured servitude remained during this period. Indentured servants were treated basically as slaves and many, when freed, were unable to make a decent living for themselves with the small amount of land they were given. The government and society still viewed former indentured servants as inferior to the middle class colonial citizens. Indentured servants were the main source of labor, especially in the north, until Bacon’s rebellion. Nathanial Bacon in Jamestown led Bacon’s rebellion; this rebellion was brought about against the rule of Governor William Berkley. The immediate cause was Berkley’s refusal to retaliate against a number of recent Native American attacks on the frontier settlements, most of which were inhabited by former indentured servants. The long-term cause was the inequality in society between former indentured servants, the lower class, and the middle class. After this rebellion, landowners began to prefer permanent African slaves to indentured servants who only worked unpaid for about seven years. African slaves soon proved a better source for labor because they did not rebel like the indentured servants, and they proved far more healthy and durable than Native Americans. The south especially began to rely on this source of labor because of their cash crops and their...
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