Slavery

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Slavery

In London in June of 1606, King James I, the reigning monarch of England, issued what would forever change the lives and destiny of the world. The king granted a group of entrepreneurs a charter, allowing them to settle the vastly unknown lands of the newly discovered continent of America. In 1607, a group of ill-suited settlers landed in the Chesapeake region of North America and established the colony of Jamestown. Ravaged by starvation, disease, and natives, the hapless settlers found little success in the early years of the colony. Only through John Smith’s leadership and poise did the colony manage to survive the first few grueling years. John Rolfe’s contributions ultimately saved the colony, as he was able to tame and cultivate tobacco. The settlement became dependent on farming various products. As England’s insatiable appetite grew, Jamestown grew to large-scale farming techniques such as plantation agriculture. It soon became evident that a steady work force would be needed to keep up with the demand of Europe. In 1619, an institution was introduced to the colony that would forever challenge the posterity of the land, altering the scope of future American society for years to come. It is in this year that the first few African slaves arrived in the unknown continent of America. Slavery became firmly established in southern society, relied upon for economic well-being. Through years of degradation, the slaves continued their lives of discrimination and humiliation. Yet these people survived the years of oppression, creating an incredible culture that lasted through their tumultuous existence in America. The evil of slavery reared its ugly face throughout early United States history. The push for f...

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...lack of education. Masters did not want their oppressed people to gain any type of knowledge about their situation, closing them off to the basics of reading and arithmetic. The only knowledge they were allowed to have was that of Christianity. Being forced to adopt Christianity upon their arrival in the colonies, the slaves became fascinated by this religion. They hoped to find salvation through the help of the Christian God who will one day deliver them out of bondage. But without the knowledge of reading and writing, it was difficult for the slaves to speak out against the unjust institution. Yet some defied this setback, learning the art of literature that would one day open their minds to the devastation of bondage. Frederick Douglas learned the craft of literacy, and gathered his own ideas about slavery that would help inspire the abolitionist movement.

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