Slavery in Colonial America

Slavery in Colonial America

Length: 791 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Slavery in Colonial America


The first arrivals of Africans in America were treated similarly to the indentured servants in Europe. Black servants were treated differently from the white servants and by 1740 the slavery system in colonial America was fully developed.

Slavery as it existed in America was a practice founded on the chattel principle. Slaves were treated as human chattel to be traded, sold, used, and ranked not among beings, but among things, as an article of property to the owner or possessor.

Because the American slave system was based on this principle of human chattlehood, slaves were confined in many ways that handicapped them from even being able to act or live as a human being. The very idea of human chattelhood gave the master unlimited control over his defenseless slave. Chattels are not permitted to get married, acquire or hold property. Chattels cannot have rights and hence the slave has no rights. Chattels can be bought and sold and so justifies the existence of the slave trade. Chattels do not have any claim to legal protection, therefore the slave has none and must tolerate the cruelties of slavery. Chattels are not to be educated or instructed in religion. And lastly, chattels do not possess the freedom of speech and of the press.

Race was a very important factor in American slavery. In other nations, slaves would be of the same race as their master. An ex-slave could re-enter society with their past forgotten and be accepted once again. On the other hand, American slavery was closely connected to racial differences that led to racial segregation and discrimination. Master and slave could physically be distinguished from one another, which ultimately distinguished one as human and the other as chattel.

Before the American Revolution, slavery existed in every one of the colonies. But by the last quarter of the 18th century, slavery was eventually abandoned in the North mainly because it was not as profitable as it was to the South (where it was becoming even more prevalent). Slavery was an extremely important element in America's economy because of the expanding tobacco and cotton plantations in the Southern states that were in need of more and more cheap labor. At one point America was a land of 113, 000 slaveholders controlling twenty million slaves.

By the 1760's many Americans were beginning to become dissatisfied with their mother nation and were waging a war of resistance against the British colonial government.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Slavery in Colonial America." 123HelpMe.com. 12 Nov 2018
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=21521>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Origins of Chattel Slavery in Colonial North America Essay

- The Origins of Chattel Slavery in Colonial North America There have been many illuminating studies in the field of the origins of chattel slavery in Colonial North America. Alpert, 1970; Edmondson, 1976; Jordan, 1962: Ruchames, 1967; Starr, 1973, wrote seminal studies that did much to bring insight to the subject. Goetz, 2009; Mason, 2006; Smaje, 2002; Neeganagwedgin, 2012, presented evidence that have either reexamined old questions or used new methods and approaches to ask news questions to add insight to this topic....   [tags: Slavery]

Research Papers
1586 words (4.5 pages)

Slavery And Economic Foundations Of Colonial America Essay

- ... Landowners turned to slaves as their free labor and more profitable source and went from indentured servants to racial slavery. There were still no slave laws in place at this time until what little freedom blacks had were taken away by laws passed for slaves in 1641 in Massachusetts and 1661 Virginia. Massachusetts being the first colony to legalize slavery and Virginia with the fugitive slave law. The Atlantic slave trade sparked it all and the need and abuse of the African slaves for free labor and as more of them came they became the main source of labor for the colonies....   [tags: Slavery, Slavery in the United States]

Research Papers
1461 words (4.2 pages)

Essay about Slavery in Colonial America

- Slavery in Colonial America The first arrivals of Africans in America were treated similarly to the indentured servants in Europe. Black servants were treated differently from the white servants and by 1740 the slavery system in colonial America was fully developed. Slavery as it existed in America was a practice founded on the chattel principle. Slaves were treated as human chattel to be traded, sold, used, and ranked not among beings, but among things, as an article of property to the owner or possessor....   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Free Essays
791 words (2.3 pages)

Essay Slavery In Colonial America

- Slavery in Colonial America Slavery was created in pre-revolutionary America at the start of the seventeenth century. By the time of the Revolution, slavery had undergone drastic changes and was nothing at all what it was like when it was started. In fact the beginning of slavery did not even start with the enslavement of African Americans. Not only did the people who were enslaved change, but the treatment of slaves and the culture that each generation lived in, changed as well. When America was first founded the colonists believed that they could do one of two things....   [tags: Slavery Essays]

Research Papers
1702 words (4.9 pages)

Slavery in Colonial America Essay

- Slavery became of fundamental importance in the early modern Atlantic world when Europeans decided to transport thousands of Africans to the Western Hemisphere to provide labor in place of indentured servants and with the rapid expansion of new lands in the mid-west there was increasing need for more laborers. The first Africans to have been imported as laborers to the first thirteen colonies were purchased by English settlers in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 from a Dutch warship. Later in 1624, the Dutch East India Company brought the first enslaved Africans in Dutch New Amsterdam....   [tags: europeans, africans, labor, servants]

Research Papers
846 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Slavery During Latin America 's Colonial Period

- ... it wasn 't always paradise, however, as the name "quilombo" (Spanish word for mess, Brazilian word for free community of men) quickly becomes highly allegorical for the tumultuous life that occurs in the community because of constant slave raiders. Throughout the film, we are shown the never ending attempts of the portuguese to shut down and destroy Palamares, a place that has become a democratic utopia for Afro Brazilians and others alike. Quilombo dos Palmares lasted almost a century from 1604 to 1695 and probably would have lasted longer had the Portuguese not been intent on destroying it....   [tags: Slavery in the United States, Slavery, Quilombo]

Research Papers
1612 words (4.6 pages)

How Slavery Affected Colonial America Essay

- Slavery was a practice in many countries in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its effects in human history was unique to the United States. Many factors played a part in the existence of slavery in colonial America; the most noticeable was the effect that it had on the personal and financial growth of the people and the nation. Capitalism, individualism and racism were the utmost noticeable factors during this most controversial period in American history. Other factors, although less discussed throughout history, also contributed to the economic rise of early American economy, such as, plantationism and urbanization....   [tags: American History]

Free Essays
998 words (2.9 pages)

The New Way Of Colonial America Essay

- ... It was however not an overly extensive view of black people. It began to take hold and grow when Governor Berkley needed to shift the white indentured servants’ anger from the rich leaders. The Governor instead said that these white indentured servants should be mad at the other inferior races who had come before and taken the rich land by the rivers. He emphasized the importance that white colonists needed to stick together and not become divided over a matter which should clearly be blamed on the inferior races....   [tags: Slavery, Indentured servant, Indenture]

Research Papers
1461 words (4.2 pages)

Slavery and the Economy of the Southern Colonies Essay

- Everybody has something they feel that makes their lives easier, something a person becomes so accustomed to they could not live without it. This is what African slaves were to the Southern colonists. Slavery was a huge factor in the Southerner’s lives. Originally the colonists used indentured servants to work in their homes and on their plantations. This situation was not ideal because the Southern farmers wanted more control over their workers (orange). Virginian farmers heard about the success of slavery in the Caribbean and thought it would be a good solution to their problems (blue)....   [tags: Colonial America, American Colonies]

Research Papers
1280 words (3.7 pages)

Slavery Existed Long Before Colonial Times Essay

- ... Ultimately, they were considered different from white servants and so weren’t treated the same, for white settlers did not believe slavery was immoral when profit and wealth blinded them. This social, but negative interaction between whites and Africans grew into racism and helped contribute to the eventual development of slavery. Along with social causes came other factors that contributed to the subjection of Africans and not Native Americans or white servants. Overtime, they were most fit to work on the plantation fields and as a result, brought more economic profit than any other kind of laborer....   [tags: Slavery, Atlantic slave trade, History of slavery]

Research Papers
991 words (2.8 pages)

Related Searches

The words of freedom of the rebelling colonists soon also became the same cry for the slaves' fight for their own freedom. Many of their literatures used the rhetoric of the times to appeal for the abolition of slavery. It was paradoxical for the patriots to be fighting for their freedom from Britain and at the same to be accepting slavery, that which strips the very freedom of a man.

In 1776 representatives from the rebellious thirteen colonies met in the Continental Congress and voted on ceasing slave trade but solely for the purpose of shutting down British trade. Shortly after, Thomas Jefferson wrote his first version of the Declaration of Independence in which he indicted King George for promoting slavery in America. The Declaration of Independence became renown as the document that celebrated human rights and personal freedom, and yet at the time when Jefferson wrote it, he himself owned over 200 slaves. Many Americans during this time period came to forget that they were of the same human species as their slaves. Freedom was an issue that pertained to humans, not human chattel.

Abolitionist movements slowly but surely became more widespread in their fight for the emancipation of slaves. With the conflict of the Missouri Compromise in 1820 (the issue of whether or not to accept a slave state into the United States of America), Congressional elections of that year were quite affected as terms such as "anti-slavery" and "pro-slavery" were substituting Federalist and Republican.

Slavery was a major pillar in America and it was not easy to simply erase something that existed in a significant portion of the nation's history. It took a war to bring slavery to an end. Slavery was officially abolished in America by President Lincoln's approval of the thirteenth amendment in 1865.

Works Cited

Becker, Eddie. Chronology on the History of Slavery and Racism. 1999. Holt House. 23 Feb.
2002 http://innercity.org/holt/chron_1790_1829.html

Blassingame, John W. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1972.

Goodell, William. Slavery and Anti-Slavery. New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968.

Robinson, B.A. A brief history of the "peculiar institution:" Slavery in North America. 2000.
Religious Tolerance. 23 Feb. 2002 http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_hist.htm#cost

"Slavery in America." Simplcom. 1997. Grolier Electronic Publishing, Inc. 23 Feb. 2002
<http://www.simplcom.ca/inq/mlk3/blackslavery.html>
Return to 123HelpMe.com