Slavery In Colonial America Analysis
Slavery in America is regarded as one of the darkest moment in history of this great nation. Slavery however did not start during the colonial period as slaves begun flocking to the Americas way back during the 16th century.
It is estimated that by mid 16th century, over 10,000 slaves found their way to America every year most of whom were from Africa. Slave trade was a booming business and they were bought for about 25 dollars and sold for 150 dollars to the America (Wood, p 5).Slavery is associated with inhumane treatment of the African Americans most of whom were to work in plantations and the homes of the whites while being denied the basic civil rights such as access to education, conducive working condition, voting rights, and general mistreatment. Though slavery is a wide area of study, this paper shall focus on the slavery during the colonial times. The slave Trade: Slavery is not a new concept in human history as Africans had engaged in the practice during the earliest times.Slaves were captured during the war and later sold to Arab merchants from North Africa.
In the early 16th century, the Portuguese and Spaniards got involved in the slave trade activities at a time when they had established colonial territories in the Americas. The Portuguese took the African slaves to work in the sugar plantations in South America whereas Spaniards took them to West Indies. In the early 17th century, Netherlands, France, and England began using slaves from Africa in their colonial establishments (Andy, para 1).Slave trade was rampant on the West African coast as the European exchanged goods and especially guns to Africans in exchange for the slaves who were then taken across the Atlantic to the West Indies.
Here the salves were exchanged at greater profits and much of the proceeds from the sales of slaves were used to buy sugar, coffee, and tobacco which were shipped to Europe. This formed the great Atlantic triangular trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas (Andy, para 2).The Atlantic slave trade is believed to have been operational from the 16th century up to the mid 19th century. It is estimated that over 10 million slaves were brought in from Africa with several other millions having perished on the way to Americas. North America is said to have received about 6% of the slave population (Andy, para 6).
Slavery in Colonial America: The British established colonies in America in the early 17th century when they first occupied Jamestown.They were later to expand their occupation to thirteen states which were divided into the New England, Middle and Southern regions with each region having specific social, economic and political characteristics. The southern colonies were known to engage in cash crop farming and thus labor requirement was in high demand. This was later to shape the slavery trend in the south (Kelly, para 7).
Slavery in colonial America is said to have begun in the first quarter of the 17th century when twenty African slaves arrived on the Dutch Man-of-War ship (Georgii, para 1).The very first slaves were regarded as indentured slaves much like the other indentured servants from different races but this was to change during the colonial times (Wood, p 2). Slavery was perpetuated by the fact that settlers who had come to America possessed vast land and thus needed labor to economically exploit their land resource (Georgii, para 3). Slavery was however opposed in the US from the very beginning with the Mennonites in Germantown, Pennsylvania being the first group to openly denounce slavery in 1688 based on Christian values (Georgii, para 5).There is also some proof that members of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were against slavery as documents during the time indicate that slavery was not encouraged (Georgii, para 6).
Due to the need for labor in the white owned farms coupled by racial overtones, settlers in Maryland during the 1660s enacted legislations that ensured perpetual slavery of the black people (Georgii, para 7). Such legislations ensured that slavery was perpetual in the Southern states to provide the much required labor force in the farms.During the 18th century, African slaves in Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolina states were in great numbers. The North did not regard slavery as a necessity for their stay contrary to the south where the white settlers subsisted on slave labor (Georgii, para 7).
The slaves particularly in the south were treated in a horrible manner (Searle, para 8). Slaves were mistreated by their masters with the slave women bearing children with their masters but the status of such children being determined by that of the mother (Searle, para 9).Slaves were whipped in any case they tried to escape or they were presumed to be lazy. They were to work under strenuous conditions and some were being starved to death. The slaves were subjected to inhumane treatment and some tortured to death in an effort to impart docility in others (Searle, para 9).
Slavery continued especially in the South until the 19th century which led to events such as the Civil War when the South wanted to break away from the North and the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century (Searle, para 11).Conclusion: Slavery is often associated with subjection of African Americans to inhumane treatment by the white settlers who were obsessed with the economic value that slavery brought to them. Slavery during its practice was horrific as the slave masters never thought of the slaves as humans. Slaves were regarded as unintelligent, ill-bred and non-believers who never deserved to live in the first place leave alone seeking freedom.