Racial Solidarity and The Colonization of North America

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The colonization of North America is not a pretty story, to say the least. In order to colonize the land, the Europeans had to use slaves for manual labor; whether it be the African slaves in Barbados and Chesapeake, or the Native Americans mining for gold, or even orphan children working on farms. The colonial elites had to use force, persuasion, threat, and deceit to accomplish their goals and maintain control. Throughout history, we see many occasions in which one race enslaves another. But has it always been his way? Has it always been a racial slavery? The concept of racial solidarity is actually a product of the masters finding ways to keep the slaves in order. “Europeans' intrusion into the Americas profoundly altered the ways of life of three previously independent worlds.”(Who Built America, 55) The author was speaking about how Europe's conquest linked Europe, the America and Africa through trade and commerce, although there was a much bigger effect from it. Europe's colonization of America had unintentionally created racial solidarity, for the blacks, whites, and Indians. In the late 15th century, Columbus set out to find and conquer India. However, he did not find it; he landed on what we now know as North America. The Europeans were trying to take over the world, as well as trying to convert everyone to Christianity. When Columbus landed, he noticed that the native people were split up into different tribes and had a very primitive lifestyle. He compared them to “the Gaelic Irish peasants whose land they occupied, considering them to be 'savages'.” (Who Built America, 47). The Indians' lack of technology and weaponry made it easy for the colonial elites to defeat them; they were killed and enslaved quickly. The fam... ... middle of paper ... ...e slaves were indentured, much like the English servants, and served for a limited time, whereas the black slaves had to work for life. Racism was becoming directed solely towards the Africans. In 1669, there was an act that legalized the punishment and killing of slaves. The Virginia Statutes exemplified the obvious segregation between blacks and whites, as well as justified racism. Works Cited Taylor, Alan (2001) American Colonies: The Settling of North America. New York: Penguin. Jordon, Don and Michael Walsh (2008) White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain’s White Slaves in America. New York: NYU Press. Clark, Christopher et. al. (2008) Who Built America? Working People and the Nation’s History. Volume One: To 1877. New York: Bedford St. Martin’s. Selected Virginia Statutes related to Slavery http://www.virtualjamestown.org/slavelink.html
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