Virginia Slave Codes

Topics: Slavery, Slavery in the United States, Indentured servant Pages: 4 (1129 words) Published: October 20, 2013
Virginia Slave Codes
The Virginia Slave Codes date all the way to early 1600s. During the 17th century, indentured servants, who decided to work for an affirmed amount of time in replace for their means of access to the "New World", were a handy resource of manual labor for the American colonies. Both blacks and whites served under the system (Goldenburg 1). White servants, after working out their time of agreement, often progressed to appreciated places in the society. On the other hand, their black correspondents, who totaled to about 2,000 in Virginia in 1670, were rarely given the same treatment. By the middle of the century, they were usually regarded as servants for life. In the late 1650s, laws referring to slaves started to manifest in the Virginia laws.(PBS 1)

For a brief period during the 16th century, Virginia was the only English colony in North America. The first settlement was established in 1587 on Roanoke Island, in what is now North Carolina.(Goldenburg 1) By the 1600s, the Virginia colony comprised the entire coast of North America, including the shoreline of Acadia, and a vast area of inland Canada. In 1607, settlements were established at Jamestown and at the Popham colony, but only Jamestown survived. "By 1620, the portion of Virginia north of the 39th parallel became New England." (PBS 1) Despite the materialization of other English colonies in North America, the Virginia colony was by far the most significant in the 17th and 18th centuries in defining the country’s public and civilizing disposition leading up to the Revolutionary War.

It was in Virginia that settlement governments first recognized slave codes, which became more wide-ranging and were later on accepted by other colonies. Slavery was lawfully acknowledged in Virginia with the passage of a 1661 fugitive slave law. The penalty of adding up time to a phase of service, which was frequently used for indentured servants, was not useful because the servitude of slaves was...

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Goldenburg, Amy. "RACE-History-Colonial Authority." RACE - History - Colonial Authority. American Anthropological Association, 2007. Web. 09 Sept. 2012. .
Hening, William Waller. Virginia Laws for Blacks - 17c &18c. N.p.: n.p., 2012. PDF.
Henning, William W. Virginia Slave Codes. Virginia: n.p., 1823. PDF.
PBS. "Virgina Slave Codes." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2012. .
Virginia Slave Code (1705). N.p.: n.p., n.d. PDF.
"The Black Codes." The Black Codes. World History Project,USA, 2006. Web. 09 Sept. 2012. .
"27b. Slave Life and Slave Codes." Slave Life and Slave Codes [ushistory.org]. Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia, 2008. Web. 19 Aug. 2012. .
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