In “The Negro Digs Up His Past,” What Is Arthur Schomburg Discussing? Short Summary

Africans began to sell slaves as early as the eighth century o traders from the Mediterranean and later to the Portuguese. The African slave trade long preceded the European settlement in the New World (Text page 18. ) Beginning of the sixteenth century, Africans and Europeans immigrated to the Americas. The search for economic growth led the migration of Europeans to the New World. The Mayflower sailed to Plymouth in 1 620, and by 1650 new colonies were being built, which developed a growth in population in the colonies.

By 1700, slavery had spread well beyond its original locations in the Caribbean and South America and into the English loonies to the north (Text page 18. ) As the colonies expanded, more settlers arrived, and more settlers had larger farms that required more work and labor. The demands for slaves were overwhelmingly high. There were several reasons of racist assumptions among whites about the inferiority of blacks; the enormous economic investments many white southerners had in their slaves; and the inability of even such men as Washington Jefferson, who had moral misgivings about slavery, to envision any alternative to it (Text page 125. The demand for African servants to supplement the scarce southern labor Orca existed almost from the first moments of settlement. For a time, however, black workers were hard to find. At first, many farmers used indentured servants as labor. Indentured servants worked for a landholder usually up to anywhere from four to five years, and in exchange would receive food, shelter, or for passage to America. In reality, many left with nothing.

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Slavery on the other hand was cheaper than hiring indentured servants, and there were no legal obligations to the slave owner, as they would have to an indentured servant. Slaves were basically seen as a property. Since there were no contracts for slaves, the owners were able to keep them for as long as they wish, and sell them at a later time, where as the indentured servants were released when their contract was fulfilled. Not until the mid-seventeenth century, when a substantial commerce in slaves grew between the Caribbean islands and the southern colonies (Text page 57. Agriculture products such as cotton and tobacco increased the demand for labor, but it was the intensive crop labor of sugar, for which there was a substantial growing market in Europe, to which English planters found it accessory to import laborers. White laborers were intimidated and discouraged of the rigorous and strenuous labor of sugar crops, there fore the English planters of the Caribbean were depending more and more on enslaved African workforce.

On Barbados and other islands where a flourishing sugar economy developed, the English planters were a tough, aggressive, and ambitious people. Since their livelihoods depended on their workforces, they expanded and solidified the system of African slavery there remarkably quickly. By the late seventeenth century, there were four times as any African slaves as there were white settlers (Text page 43. ) In the North, slavery was considered to be impractical and cruel to mankind. Some considered it to be an act that goes against the bible, and inhumane.

The Southerners on the other hand, were appalled at the fact of slaves being freed, and living equally with people they considered uncivilized. Many white southerners believed, in fact, that enslaving Africans-whom they considered inferior and unfit for citizenship- was the best way to ensure liberty for white people. This could be due to the increasing population of African slaves in the South. By 1760, the number of Africans in the English mainland colonies had approximately a quarter of a million, and the vast majority of them lived in the south (Text page 59. The African Americans were outnumbering whites in some areas. They feared that without slaves, it would be necessary to recruit a servile white workforce in the South, and that the resulting inequalities would jeopardize the survival of liberty. One of the ironies of the American Revolution was that many white Americans were fighting both to secure freedom for themselves and to preserve slavery for others (Text page 117. In conclusion, slavery was an opportune labor force, and more beneficial economically.

The decrease in population of indentured servants exacerbated the situation, and as time progressed, slavery became more and more inevitable. Morality among the labor force was not taken into consideration, due to the fact that the settlers viewed slavery from an economic point of view, rather than a humanitarian point of view. Due to the practice of slavery in the south, in my opinion, encouraged and developed racism towards African Americans, whom the southerners and others found inferior.

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In “The Negro Digs Up His Past,” What Is Arthur Schomburg Discussing? Short Summary. (2018, May 02). Retrieved from