Essay by mauhanHigh School, 11th grade March 2003

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The institution of slavery in what was to become the United States was established in seventeenth century Virginia. Small units of land that were privately owned produced harvests of crops such as tobacco, rice, sugar cane, and cotton. These crops were very labor intensive. The European immigrants who had come to America to start their own farms were very reluctant to work for anyone. Convicts had been sent from Europe as a labor force but they were not enough to satisfy the great need for workers.

So planters began to buy slaves.

The slaves in the colonies had been taken from Africa and brought to America against their will. This was done through the Atlantic slave trade. This slave trade had been going on long before America was even established. It was started near the end of the fourteenth century in Europe when the Portuguese began taking people from Africa to fulfill their lack of agricultural workers.

The European people justified taking them by saying they were giving the Africans a chance to become Christians. The slave trade in the United States continued until 1808 when Congress abolished the importation of slaves. But while the trade was still going on the slaves were being brought over to America on ships. The ships would be so packed full people that many died on the journey over. In one account on the ship The Brookes it was found that the ship was made to hold a maximum of four hundred and fifty people but was carrying over six hundred . Many died of diseases such as small pox or some would even commit suicide by refusing to eat. Also some of the slaves were unable to work when they got to America because they were permanently crippled because of the way they...