The Issue of Slavery

It was simply a low wage job, cleaning, cooking and beckoning to there owners needs. They owned there own property where there families live and attended the local churches every Sunday. With time they had freedom, agreements to be released from indentured servants and free with rights. Indentured servants were quite scarce and expensive and the issue of equal rights presented a major challenge to developing slave states like Virginia. Indentured servants slowly became life long servants, having no chance of release at a certain age.

By 1660, laws were being enacted that defined the regulated slave relations. By 1680, slaves were chattel, nothing but property sold as commodities and traded. With slavery came empowerment to the white man and land ownership and all rights and freedom for Native Americans, poor whites, African Americans, and women diminish substantially in America. Americas growing settlements and colonies were completely dependent on slave labor and were growing fast because of it. America’s freedom was stripped during slavery due to the high dependency on African American slave trade.

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With the up rise of revolts and anti slavery acts, the colonies feel just how dependent on the slave trade and how little freedom they had. In the beginning of the 1600’s pilgrims settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts with African American servants, not slaves. They were allowed to endure in the sacred bond of marriage, have children and own there own land. There freedom was fragile in a social order overwhelmed by racial hostility. Starting off in the new world as indentured servants made them inferiors beings to white people, they were legally, socially and culturally discriminated.

As indentured servants were given there freedom they became scarcer, and a means of labor was in high demand for farm owners. Native Indians were forced into slave labor but refused to be enslaved on land that was taken from them in the beginning. Population was on a decline and labor was in a high demand. Between 1660 and 1680, slavery became almost an immediate thing. Portuguese started to bring over African slaves to the colonies. European traders were opportunist and adventurers; once they laid eyes on this slave labor they simply kidnapped a few Africans from West Africa.

In the 17th century the slave trade became regulatory. The colonies of the new world were expanding quickly through the expertise of slaves and rice farms and sugar plantations. As Jefferson said,” To a very large degree it may be said that Americans bought their independence with slave labor” (Countryman 122). Planters like Thomas Jefferson were in a lot of debt and depended on the British to extend them credit. Jefferson was in debt his entire life, and as long as he had debt he absolutely needed slave labor to help pay off his debts.

Through Thomas Jefferson’s words we could see how slavery and freedom interdependent and very much intertwined. Jefferson was much afraid of debt, and the people that were poor with no land. The explicator of the right of revolution for the protection of liberty did not think about extending that right to the landless poor but instead concocted a scheme of compulsory labor for them and their children (countryman 125). Planters were afraid of attacks on the rich and rebellious like acts.

Thomas Jefferson was completely dependent on his slaves, “the man who depended on another for his living could never be truly free” (countryman 123). At the peak of the slave trade with 757,000 slaves populating the established independent United States, women’s rights depleted significantly. Women couldn’t vote towards the constitution, nor could they receive an education beyond elementary level. Freedom in America was at all time low, with the ending of the French and Indian war established a stamp act was placed on the colonies. The slave trade had freedom down and debt up.

With anti slavery acts on the up rise, revolts had broken out and anti slavery resolutions were being signed by Mennonite Quakers. The colonies were starting to rise against slavery, as John Woodman said, “no one had the right to own another human being”. Vermont and Pennsylvania both abolished slavery and in 1808 slaves’ importation was outlawed. In response to the anti slavery movements the panic of 1819 occurred, being the first depression. Slavery was in a major decline and there was commodity inflation. In 1823, US circuit courts declared removal of inhuman treatment of slaves.

In 1826, kidnapping is a felony which effectively nullified fugitive slaves act, stopping all ability for slave owners to gain more slaves in the states, and importation of slaves was already outlawed. This hurt the slave trade significantly and put the colonies into the panic of 1837. There was a downturn in the economy, cotton prices fell, inflated food prices and high unemployment all due to the downfall and outlawing of slavery. 1840, An African American by the name of Charles Remond, refused to beat seated at world anti slavery convention because the women were segregated in the gallery, showing the first sign of women’s rights.

From 1660 to 1865 a slave trade was established in the colonies creating a free and productive source of labor. Legal rights and freedom were stripped from African Americans, Native Americans, Poor whites and women. The slave trade most definitely built the first colonies of America and established an economy and a means of trade. The colonies were one hundred percent dependent on the production of the slave trade and with revolts like the New York revolt and Quakers started signing anti slavery resolutions, the dependence on the slave trade and how little freedom they had became clear.

In the beliefs of Thomas Jefferson, he would have given 50 acres of land to every American who didn’t have it, because he believed the citizens of the republic must be free from control of other men and that they could be free only if they were economically free by virtue of owning land on which to support themselves (countryman 124). Not only did the slavery bring freedom to the colonies but it focused the people towards another means of production, 1847 steam powers a US cotton mill in Salem, Massachusetts, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

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The Issue of Slavery. (2017, Mar 06). Retrieved from