- Free Essays, Term Papers & Book Notes

Slavery in America

By:   •  Essay  •  1,473 Words  •  February 19, 2010  •  1,246 Views

Page 1 of 6

Join now to read essay Slavery in America

Slavery in America


There has been much debate on the topic of slavery in the early times, although most of the countries considered slavery as a criminal activity. Some countries such as Myanmar and Sudan do not abolish it. They even expedite the slavery system. It is no doubt that slavery violent the human rights. However, it was commonly spread in the early times from 17th to 19th century. In this research, I will talk about the origin of the slavery, the reasons for people to becoming slave and the life of the slave.

The Definition of slavery

In 1926, the Slavery Convention defined slavery as "...the status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised..." In the modern society, slave is a person who is controlled by another using violence or other methods. They do not have permission to escape, they will be returned to their master if they tried to do so. In general, the definition of slavery does not have much change between the early and the modern times, the only difference is the status of slaves would inherit from their mother and father and most of the slaves would keep their status from birth to death.

The Origin of Slavery in US

When we talk abut the Slavery of American, we must first know the reasons why the slave were mainly came from Africa. There are two reasons. The first reason is racialism that the black skin color of Africans becoming target of the European slave traders. Second, it was because slavery had already existed in Africa before it spread to America. Also, black people have strong body which can resist many diseases and endure the heat of the raging sun.

In the16th century, Caribbean, Saint Kitts Nevis, and Virginia were the colonies of England. The English used the land as the source of income. At that time, Tobacco was popular. Large amount of land and labor were required in the Tobacco agriculture. At first, these workers were mainly come from England itself and the promise of land attracted many workers. Later, the industry of Tobacco spread from Caribbean to Virginia. As a reason, colonists spread from one colony to another. At that time, the Dutch slave traders enslaved Africans to fill the needs of labor. This model was followed by the English. Many Africans became slave involuntarily and the first African slaves arrived in mainland North America in late August of 1619 when a ship carrying slaves from Africa docked in Jamestown, Virginia. They were different from indentured workers by their endless term of service.

In the mid-1660s, the landlords of the Virginia in North America wanted to make profit as they had already done in Caribbean. They attracted the Caribbean and the English workers with the freedom of religious and the expansion of rights for the English. At the same time, the Tobacco agriculture played an important role in the economic of Virginia. Since the profit was so observable, the settlers acquired land by taking the land of the Native American. They recruited workers from England which was the large part of labor in Virginia until 1680s.

By the 1710, Slavery system was well established and was accepted by the law in the 13 colonies. Slavery was an important part of economic structure until it was abolished in June 13, 1774. After the Freedom Ordinance in 1787, Free states like Michigan and Indiana banned slavery. For the eastern states like New York, Slavery was not banned until 1827. Slavery was lasted for 160 years, until the end of the American Civil War in December 1865.

Reasons for people becoming slaves

People become slaves for 4 main reasons. Most of the slaves were captured in Wars and were kidnapped by the sea robber. In some of the countries, the King or the judge could order the debtors to sell and enslave their family members, in order to pay off their debts. Also, people who committed serious crime could become slaves. These kinds of criminals usually fail to show any atonement to the victims and all of their properties might pass to the victims. Lastly, the laws on whether the slavery status of children was determined by their mother or mother were variety from different countries. Usually, it was judged by the status of their mother.

The life of slaves

a) The common works of slaves

The works of slaves varied from different period of time. Basically, most of their works were manual works which included industry, mineral extraction, domestic service and agriculture. The most common type of work is agriculture. They worked on the tobacco, sugar and cotton plantation. Their works were

Download as (for upgraded members)  txt (8.5 Kb)   pdf (121.1 Kb)   docx (13.6 Kb)  
Continue for 5 more pages »