White Servitude and the Growth of Black Slavery in Colonial America
January 24, 2011
From “The Journal of Economical History”, Vol. 41, No. 1, author David W. Galenson provides a nine-page article published in March 1981 entitled “White Servitude and the Growth of Black Slavery” which I thoroughly read and will present my own analysis.
In a unique approach author David Galenson examines the transition of servants to slaves during the 17th and 18th century of British America. He successfully covers the importance of slavery and the reason for its high demand. Galenson takes into consideration the demographic conditions and its differences throughout the West Indies, the Chesapeake colonies, Virginia and Maryland, and South Carolina. He also provides his own analysis, which is the belief that the growth of slavery may have been due to the decisions of planters. Despite our past and its complete disregard to the social consequences of its actions David Galenson attempts to piece together the puzzle and make sense of it all.
Slavery served many purposes aside from being a foundation in constructing America’s agricultural staple. For many it meant a fresh start and others freedom however, they accepted the fact their debt would be paid in servitude sometimes slavery. Upon reading Galenson’s article it is evident that indenture servants and slaves were essential in developing the economy. Early on indentured servants were of high demand due to their credibility and skill. With the introduction of profitable staple crops the need for labor rose along with immigration. Supporting his evidence with primary sources Galenson provides charts of statistics. The first chart illustrates the need for servants and how over time they became obsolete from slaves fulfilling their duties. The second chart showed the numbers of skilled servants registered and place of destination. Quotes were pulled from