Drawing the Color Line Essay
A complex series of events drove English American settlers to acquire African slaves. Desperate for labor in order to grow food for colonists became overwhelming. This especially pertained to Virginia colonists during “starving time” when settlers, crazed for food could be driven to dig up corpses or roam the woods all in search for food (pg.23). The number of indentured servants was dwindling during, making another source of manual labor vital to the survival of the colony. Indians were ineffective slaves since they were defiant, resourceful, tough and familiar with the land (pg.24). The colonists’ frustration at their own incompetence while people they thought of as savages took care of themselves could have made them especially susceptible to becoming the masters of slaves. Black slaves had been used previously by various European countries for years so the concept wasn’t inconceivable. Furthermore, unlike Native Americans, these slaves were far from their cultures and the land was unfamiliar (pg.25). The conditions in which slaves were transported may have left black slaves in a state of helplessness, especially in the face of a superior force (pg.26). Black slaves that were captured and sent to different countries on slave ships were chained together with a limited supply of oxygen, choking on the stench of their own excrement and sometimes killing in a desperate attempt to breathe (pg.26). Under these conditions, black slaves must have been put in a state of psychic and physical vulnerability. One out of every three black slaves survived (pg.26), the transportation, however, the profits made these setbacks worthwhile for the slave trader (pg.27) . Slavery in the south was much more severe than in the north because the south relied on manual labor for their plantations whereas the north focused more on manufacturing. Also, religiously, the two regions differed greatly. The north centered their entire culture on...
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