How Is Slavery Important To The Development Of Slavery?

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Ira Berlin, Margaret Washington, Winthrop Jordan, and Edmund Morgan all take different approaches in their study of the origins of slavery in America and the role that race played. Berlin focuses on the societal shift from the Atlantic creoles of the charter generation to the black slaves of later ones. Washington on the other hand focuses on what made slaves from certain regions more desirable than others. While Jordan and Morgan concentrate on the needs of society that lead to slavery based on race. Each has their own answers to why and how slavery developed the way it did based on their own unique perspectives and backgrounds. Berlin argues that perception of race was not crucial to the development of slavery and that it did not determine ones place in slavery, at least not initially. To support his argument he turns to the Atlantic creoles who were of mixed European and African descent. These people could be enslaved but because of the value afforded to them by their mixed heritage, that is their “…combination of swarthy skin, European dress and deportment, knowledge of local customs, and multilingualism” which “…gave them inside understanding of both African and European ways” (Berlin, p.23), many of them could prosper in their servitude and work their way to freedom where they had “legal near-equality”, this indicated that status as a slave could change even though race could not. As evidence, Berlin gave the example of “Antonio a Negro” who not only secured his own freedom but that of his posterity, who went on to profit and eventually possess slaves themselves (Berlin, p.38) and the fact that in the enclaves which creoles initially inhabited “Both Europeans and Africans held slaves…” (Berlin, p.26). However Berlin state... ... middle of paper ... ...ished, Morgan believes race did begin to determine ones place in society since “…their color disclosed their probable status…” (Morgan, p.137). As proof he cites the different laws regarding blacks and whites (Morgan, p.136-137) which indicate different places in society. The four authors all took very different approaches in their study of American slavery and its development. As would be expected, each of them, being different people, had their own arguments and their own evidence to support said arguments which were largely slanted by the perspectives through which they chose to study the subject. But that is not uncommon in the study of history for each student of the subject brings along their own world views, ideas, and schemas meaning it is very unlikely for any two people to share the exact same view, as demonstrated by the varying ones of these authors .

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