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Discuss the Origins and Development of Slavery in the English Colonies

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Ross Grigos

American Civilization I History 135

Professor Kamaris

1 February 2018

5. Discuss the origins and development of slavery in the English colonies

        Slavery in the English colonies started in the 17th century when only the first African slaves played a small part in the workforce in 1619. In the Late 1600’s the servant labor system with its four basic realities were born which included devising ways of extending service, there is also the planters’ need for labor which caused the demand for as much labor as possible. Servants wanted to serve their time, gain their freedom and be able to start families, servant’s ideas conflicted with planter’s demands. Then the Slave Labor System had emerged where there were many advantages of slaves over indentured servants like how slaves never became free or the fact that all slaves are black. Slaves were even a perpetual work force, so the slaves’ children were slaves as well (Class Notes, 2nd Class).

        The economies of all of the thirteen British colonies in North America depended on slavery. During the 1700s southern planters had prospered and that is when family-based tobacco plantations became the most economical and social norm of the era. “Thomas Jefferson’s parents were loyal citizens of the once British Empire along with being members of an elite colonial society.” Peter Jefferson was the father of Thomas Jefferson and he was a man of many things such as a planter, surveyor, a member of the colonial Virginia legislature and even a loyal citizen of the British Empire. Jefferson’s mother, Jane Randolph Jefferson belonged to a prominent family in the colony. Jefferson’s parents were intellectual and very humanitarian that it made Jefferson grow up to be the historic man that we know today (Online Source, Inheriting Slavery).

        Indentured Servants in the 1630s contracted to be servants for a specified amount of time, they had provided an important source of labor. Employers paid for their voyage to the colonies, they were fed, provided clothes while they were kept in place to be sent to their employer. The servants were given clothes and tools and were allowed to freely set at the end of term of service by the employers, African slaves however were different. African slaves provided another source, slavery was not in a solid status, but a few slaves did get their freedom. Slavery was not the dominant labor system yet, because this was before the time of Independence (Keene Cornell, 43).

        The main island where there was slave society in the English Caribbean was called Barbados. Barbados avoided European and warfare due to the embroilment in other Caribbean parts. 26,000 English immigrants settled in the area around 1660 due to the promise of provided wealth through the sugar trade, however laborers had harsh conditions and workers in the sugar fields had a high mortality. It was not easy to maintain an excellent labor force, unfortunate individuals consisted of barbadosed, who used the seventeenth-century phrase, a synonym for “kidnapped”. It originally meant abducted and transported to the Caribbean to work in the sugar fields, planters went far as to convict labor when they were desperate for workers (Keene etAl. ,52).

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