Justification of American Slavery

Topics: Slavery, Indentured servant, Slavery in the United States Pages: 6 (2282 words) Published: July 16, 2006
How can you justify something that's incredibly wrong? Our "founding fathers" were face with the same dilemma over 400 years ago when it came to the issue of building up The New World. They wanted create a place where freedom and justice roamed, escaping the lifestyle from which they came. However, our "founding fathers" knew that creating this New World(America) need cheap labor and a way to build up their economy. This lead to the enslavement of the Africans. Although this tyrannic practice was enforced in the Imperialist's mother countries, they still felt the need to enforced the Indenture Servant system.

The definition of an Indentured Servant was a person who signed and is bound by a debt to work for another for a specific amount of time in exchange for compensation. In the early 1600's, the majority of Indentured Servants were Native Americans. However, due to the increasing death toll of the Native American people as an result of European diseases. As a result, the percentage of indentured servants slowly shifted towards the African community as time progressed. At the time, colonialist had no problem justifying indentured servants into slavery. There were five major methods in justifying slavery. One of these methods was a biblical justification, referring to the story of an curse falling upon the son of Ham, on of Noah's children. This story supports the ideal that servants were made to obey their masters. Another justification for servants from a historical term was that slavery existed in all great civilizations and built their nations. The legal justification for slavery was in the U.S. Constitution's refusal to forbid slavery. Another justification for slavery was a pseudo-scientific explanation. Many white southerners believe that Africans were put on this Earth as an inferior race, which lead them to belief that their only purpose was to work for the Superior race(Caucasians). Many southerners felt that they were doing the blacks a favor by enslaving them, introducing them to what they preferred to believe was a more civilized lifestyle. Lastly, a sociological defense was bestowed upon slavery. George Fitzhugh, an advocate for slavery, argued that the Negro(Africans)are merely overgrown adults and need to be governed as children. Many southerners believe that mayhem would exist if slaves were given free will. They also argued that they fed, sheltered and clothed the slaves, as if they were doing the slaves a great favor. These are some of the weak excused used to justify the Indentured Servant system in the new world which lead to over three- hundred years of slavery. In the Chesapeake colonies, the methods of the indentured servant system was completely different, and these new circumstances easily led to increased exploitative powers. People signed indenture contracts with captains or merchants in England then these were then sold to Chesapeake planters upon arrival to the New World. The captain or merchant had no incentive to see the servant safely housed, because his primary interest only included making as much profit as possible from the servant's sale. Servants could not protect themselves in any way. They never met their future masters, they had no knowledge how their masters would use them, and they could not negotiate or stand up for themselves. By signing the indenture contract, they accepted whatever grim fate had in store for them. In fact, there is a sense that servant treatment was made worse by the constant flow of the servants from hand to hand. So many people were responsible for a servant's arrival in the colonies and yet no one felt personally responsible for ensuring the servant's physical safety. Servants most likely envisioned service in the New World on the model of the Old World, but the agriculture of the lands demanded different types of work. In England, there were numerous varied tasks to be completed, and a servant might even come to specialize...
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