Origins of slavery in Colonial America.

Essay by brandon_dotsonUniversity, Bachelor's May 2003

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The practice of slavery in the colonies, and later in the United States before it was abolished, will forever be a black mark in our history. It is easy now to look back and realize the hypocrisy of a society striving for freedom to practice slavery, the same way we also pass judgments on societies who had practiced human sacrifice. However, it is important to understand the reasoning that would lead normal people to condone and participate in such horrific acts, if we are to avoid making similar mistakes in our current world.

It was already embedded in the English culture, and that of most of Europe, that hierarchies existed in human society and all of nature (Ayers et al, p.97). They believed that their own culture and language were superior to all others, and that their religion was the "correct" religion. They also believed that their white skin was superior to the dark skin of the African people. Their dark skin meant that they were lower on the scale of humanity and could justifiably be enslaved (Ayers et al, p.97). The lingering effects of the idea of white being good and black being bad can still be found in our society today. In my opening paragraph I use the phrase "black mark". Good guys wear white, bad guys wear black. If we as a society still retain these basic beliefs more than one hundred years after the abolishment of slavery, imagine the societal conditioning people would have gone through then. This type of thinking by the colonists led to the dehumanization of the Africans in the eyes and minds of colonial society. Without this type of thinking the consciences of the colonists would scream at the decision to participate in the slave trade.

Once the colonists were...