Development of the U.S. Began with Slavery

Essay by lorabellsUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2004

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

When slavery was first practiced in the early American colonial period, it was purely for economic use. The use of slaves in sugar, tobacco, and cotton production brought a great deal of profit. These regions were located within the equator, where the climate was hot, humid and apt for agriculture. Slavery was implemented into this harsh agriculture as a way to produce with cheap labor. As time past, industrialization began, and influenced the non-agricultural regions of America. Hence, two distinct types of economies emerged, creating a friction between the two regions. Those who remained dependent on agriculture, needed slavery to economically survive. Those who were industrialized did not. They had no reason not to oppose slavery.

In 1619, it is believed that the first enslaved Africans arrived in Britain's North American colonies. Twenty Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia and sold to the colonists. There is still some dispute as to whether these Africans arrived as indentured servants or slaves.

Indentured servitude had been going on in Europe for centuries. After serving seven years, a servant was freed. Some of these original Africans even became landowners and craftsmen. Some remained enslaved as by the middle of the seventeenth century a tradition of lifelong enslaved labor for Africans had been firmly established.

Tobacco shipments to London had begun in 1617. As the English got "hooked" on tobacco, plantations flourished and the need for bigger plantations arose. Virginia planters needed a workforce large enough to cultivate the tobacco. Land was cheap and easy to obtain. The temperate climate in the south made tobacco growth a very profitable business. As trade with England expanded, other crops such as indigo, rice, and cotton became increasingly profitable. The greed of the colonists eventually doomed the Africans to bondage. Plantation owners even considered the idea...