Trade was the main form of economic structure for the Native Americans. They traded anything from food to wares to hunting weapons. (Schultz 2010) It began more like a socialist nation where everyone worked for the good of the village and all products were shared with the whole community (Schultz 2010). With the equality everyone shared the work to help the community (Schultz 2010). With the tobacco they brought with them from Europe they cultivated a new species of the tobacco which became a successful commodity in England allowing them to bring slaves in to help cultivate the crop (Schultz 2010). As with many areas with many different societies they developed trade routes for livestock, animals used for transportation, or precious metals. (Schultz 2010) Political Structure
Many of the tribes formed a “Haudenosaunee Confederation” that allowed them to form Nations that allowed them to keep peace between the tribes. (Schultz 2010) The Puritans where not Democratic but rather closer to Dictatorship with the church in control forcing the people to adhere to a specific religion (Schultz 2010). They had an extremely liberal government for their century with freedom of religion, equality, and willingness to have good relations with h Native Americans (Schultz 2010). It was a “Royal colony” controlled by King James who appointed a governor to oversee the land. They colonists would be allowed to self-govern yet still answer to the king (Schultz, 2012). There was no one central leader but many different “Kingdoms” that traded with each other. Being matrilineal meant women were involved in politics (Schultz 2010).. Social System
Most tribes where a clan based system, meaning they divide into large family group with a matrilineal life. This meant the children followed their mother more than their father and women had more control while he men hunted, fished and were off in war. (Schultz 2010) The village was surrounded by the farmland in which everyone worked. Land was divided upon family sizes and needs. Those family what were successful and had plenty had to give back to the community by helping the poor (Schultz 2010). The Quakers did not believe in class distinction thus allowing women to be involved with the laws of the community (Schultz 2010). Mostly small villages with several small farms of indentured servants. Few full families and mostly single males for labor (Schultz, 2012). Like the Native Americans they formed large groups that where divided into smaller groups. Unlike the Native Americans they had a class system with noble men and priests at the top and farmers and slaves at the bottom. They also used the matrilineal life. (Schultz 2010). Cultural Values
The main cultural value that most tribes had was respect to nature. There was a fair amount of give and take living with the land. They took only what they needed and offered their gods some of their harvests or hunts in return. (Schultz 2010). Their culture was mostly based on keeping to their idea of what God wanted. There was emphasis on family and fallowing the bible. The church held the power and forced everyone to follow their rules (Schultz 2010). Their cultural values came from their belief that everyone was equal with no single person having more power than any other. They valued worship and close families. The use of cheap labor to help with the tobacco crops while expanding the colonies. The cultural value was the way they treated slaves. Not just used for labor and allowed to earn their freedom many were even slaves of their own free will to pay off depts. They were treated like any other citizen of their culture (Schultz 2010). Religion
Most Native Americans where one of two religions either polytheistic (many deities) or animistic (souls or supernatural beings inhabit all things) (Schultz 2010). They early Colonists where “Puritan” or purity for the Church of England. They emphasis works to God as payment for salvation. Thus
everyone in the villages worked for the greater good (Schultz 2010). They were Quakers that did not believe in war. They would not pay taxes to support war or bow to any nobleman. They believed in a freedom of religion and equality among all their people (Schultz 2010). It was a mix of Protestant and Catholic. Toleration Act of
1649 allowed freedom of worship the divinity of Jesus Christ. Christians of faith could not be imprisoned because of their faith (Schultz 2010). Most tribes kept to their traditional religions based on a single supreme ruler with multiple lower gods that served in bringing rain or helping the harvest. They also looked to their ancestors to be their mediator with the gods. (Schultz 2010).
Slavery has been a part of society for thousands of years. Most every culture throughout time has use slavery for many reasons. Though each society has treated slaves differently and there are different types of slavery. Two main types are indentured servants and slaves. What is the difference of the two? How are each treated? How do the three main groups of people during Colonial America clash over their idea of these two slavery types? Let us explore these question and maybe you will have a better understanding to the early times in America. First we need to understand what the difference between indentured servants and slaves. According to “Indentured servant” (n.d.), an indentured servant is “a person who came to America and was placed under contract to work for another over a period of time.” This meant that the servant chose to become a slave in the respect that they worked for no pay. These were people who wanted a new life in the New World and were willing to sign a contract to work for no money and earn their freedom and perhaps more. Their trip across the Atlantic was paid for by their “master” and they were given room and board during their contract (ushistory.org, 2013).
Slaves where considered property of another person (Slaves, n.d.). This means that the person does not chose to work for someone else. During Colonial America slaves were people that were either war prisoners or West Africans or Native Americans captured. They were used as labor for wealthy farmers so they did not have to hire people and would keep more of their money. In the New World they could not earn their freedom and where bound to slavery for life as well as their children and many generations beyond. In Colonial America three main groups of people came together, the Native Americas, The Colonists, and the West Africans. When tobacco became a successful commodity in the Southern Colonies more labor was needed. Though slaves where around in the colonies indentured servants become the preferred as it helped not only with labor force but also helped build the communities. Since slaves could not gain freedom like indentured servants they could not own land or homes or have other type of work. Indentured servants the survived until their contract ended they became a part of the community. When the Colonists tried to use Native Americans for labor in the tobacco fields they faced problems. One was the language barrier that made it difficult for the English farmers to explain what they wanted. The Native Americans did not agree with cultivating land and crops for profit. They belived that crops where to be traded for supplies they could not get rather then be sold for money. Since the Native Americans numbers where more tenthe milita that colonies could gather, Colonists could not force Native Americans to slavery (Schultz, 2012). West Africans though had slavery it was a mix of slavery and indentured servants. They would capture people from waring tribes and force them into slavery but it was not perminate.
The slaves could earn their freedom and become members of the society. The slaves could be sold to other land owners and told what to do bu they still had the ability to have freedom. In the beginning of the American colonies some indentured servants were from West Africa, but as the colonies grew slavery become the preferred source of labor. With slavery the land owners did not have to pay labor costs and could keep the slave for as long as they wished. Since slave trade was already established in West Africa to Europe it was easy to bring them to America. Slavery grew in the colonies as more indentured servants gained their freedom and were granted land to work. With those freed having their own land to work they competed with their former masters who did not like it. Another contribution to slavery was the strengthening economy that allowed less people the need to sign up for indentured slavery. With the decrease use of indentured servants land owners looked toward slaves as a cheap source of labor. They only need to buy them and usually housed them in one large building on the land allowing them to have as many slaves as the building could house (Schultz, 2012). Since labor was need to expand the colonies in the New World land owners looked for the cheapest source which started with indentured servants that benefited both parties to slavery which only benefited the land owners. The Colonists learned with difficultly that Native American would be hard to force to work for nothing or against what they felt was the right way to work. The West Africans treated their slaves better than the Colonists but still sold them to the Europeans allow them to have cheap labor they could treat any way they wished. The difference in indentured servants and slaves changed how the labor force was used to expand the colonies and opened a new way of life for many people. References
Schultz, K. M. (2012). HIST2, Volume 1 (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. Indentured servant. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/indentured servant
Ushistory.org. (2013). Indentured Servants. Retrieved from http://www.ushistory.org/us/5b.asp Slaves. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved October 29, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Slaves