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The Introduction of Slavery in the American Colonies Essay

When the history back to in 1607, English settlers established Jamestown as the first permanent English colony in the New World. Tobacco became the chief crop of the colony, due to the efforts of John Rolfe in 1611. Once it became clear that tobacco was going to drive the Jamestown colony, more labor was needed. The British settlers needed to find a labor force to work on its plantations in the Americas. At first, the major possibilities were indentured servants from Britain, Native Americans and West Africans. Towards to Native Americans, the English entertained two lines of thought simultaneously.

Because these people who had the knowledge about how to live in this new continent, they had the experience on grown corn and several basic sources for living. At the same time, because they were occupying the land desired by the colonial powers, they were from the beginning targets of a potential military campaign. On the other hand, indentured servants were also used as the needed labor. Indentured servitude was a form of debt bondage, which appeared in British long time ago, and also established in the early years of the American colonies.

Farmers, planters, and shopkeepers in the colonies found it very difficult to hire free workers, primarily because it was so easy for potential workers to set up their own farms. Therefore, a common solution was showed up. Typically, the father of a teenager would sign the legal papers, and work out an arrangement with a ship captain, who would not charge the father any money. The captain would transport the indentured servants to the American colonies, and sell their legal papers to someone who needed workers.

Most white immigrants arrived in Colonial America as indentured servants, usually as young men and women from Britain or Germany, under the age of 21, who would work for several years to pay off the debt of their travel costs. During the indenture period the servants were not paid wages, but were provided with food, accommodation, clothing and training. The indenture document specified how many years the servant would be required to work, At the end of the indenture, the young person was given a new suit of clothes and would be free to leave.

Many immediately set out to begin their own farms, while others used their newly acquired skills to pursue a trade. However, colonists began to see indentured servant as too costly, and in 1619, Dutch traders brought the first African slaves to Jamestown. The lives of black and white indentured servants were similar at this time. They worked side by side as they cleared forests and planted tobacco crops. They lived together in the same room after their labors. These same black and white indentured servants married and had children together.

As time goes on, the colonies became more and more important to merchants in British, which played three roles for the England’s economy: they were a source of raw materials for its factories, people, and a market for its finished goods. The colonies, however, were chronically short of laborers to produce the demand for raw materials, and that fueled the importation of more white and black indentured servants. Still there were not enough laborers to help with the demand. Thus, slavery evolved.

Around 1640, slavery was becoming the most common condition of blacks in America and fewer were accepted as indentured servants. This happened because the colonial upper class felt that Africans had at least several advantages over white immigrant labor: they were strong, they were inexpensive, they had no government protection, it was seemed to be endless supply of them, and their skin was black, which no longer afraid of any hurt from the sun. Meanwhile, England was requesting more and more raw materials from those colonies and African slaves were becoming the first choice of labor.

Eventually the demand for labor in the southern colonies required direct importation of slaves. Just like the book said in page 49. “ During 1700s, both German, Scotch-Irish and Spanish were came to America, started their life together with English settlers. The colonies grew fast due to Black slaves were pouring in; they were 8 percent of the population in 1690; 21 percent in 1770. The population of the colonies was 250,000 in 1700; 1,600,000 by 1760. Agriculture was growing and small manufacturing was developing. Shipping and trading were expanding.

The big cities-Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston-were doubling or even tripling in size. ” I couldn’t agree more with the author’s opinion, slavers as one of the biggest factors that changed the American History. However, in the back of all of those growth hide a big problem: the upper class was both gathering most of the money and governor power. In 1650, the colonies of Virginia and Maryland passed laws concerning black and white indentured servants. White servants could buy their freedom, but black servants automatically became slaves.


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