Thursday, October 8, 2009

How did the evolving economy of the British colonies come to depend on a race-based system of slavery?

Notes from class:

In the early Jamestown colony there were indentured servants – a European tradition mostly white, but also Africans

Blacks and whites indentured servants worked and lived together

Virginia soon proved to have a perfect climate and soil for Tobacco production - 1630 Virginia was producing over 1,500,000 pounds of tobacco per year. The majority was exported to Europe.

Free blacks were entitled all of the same freedoms that free whites had – owned land, lent money, sued in courts, served as jurors

The British elites viewed Africans as ‘alien’ and treated them differently – poor whites did not

British establish Chattel Slavery

1640-1700 labor changed from mostly white indentured servants to black slaves

British already had a history of chattel slavery from the Islands where they grew sugar –viewed other people as inferior

British gained control of the transatlantic slave trade

African slaves were first imported to America in the 1700's to help with tobacco production.

The more tobacco that was produced, the more slave labor became necessary

Slaves were now property of their masters for life – different than indentured servants (see John Punch from movie)

Blacks were sold at higher prices because they would serve for their entire lives

By 1660s the colonies had seen slavery as the natural condition of black people

This was the beginning of a two-tier system based on race

House of Burgesses (Virginia’s Government) affirmed that a child’s status would follow the mother

By 1700 African slaves had the same rights as livestock but unlike animals they were also responsible for their transgressions

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