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1 How Slavery Came to America Case Study: Colonial Virginia (1600s)

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Presentation on theme: "1 How Slavery Came to America Case Study: Colonial Virginia (1600s)"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 How Slavery Came to America Case Study: Colonial Virginia (1600s)

2 2 What is an indentured servant? A person from England who decided to migrate to the “New World” but could not afford the cost of the trip –Agreed to work for someone for 5-7 years in exchange for passage to Virginia –Signed an official contract stating length of service, conditions, what happens at end of contract, etc.

3 3 Why be a servant? What was happening in England: –Food from Columbian Exchange = increased population in England Not enough jobs! –England: what do we do with our unemployed? Send them overseas to work to make our country rich! Virginia: introduced tobacco – need workers! Why become a servant? –Economic opportunity! –Family might sell you to help pay off a debt –Criminals would be “pardoned”

4 4 Life as a Servant What do you learn from Richard Frethorne’s letter about life as an indentured servant in colonial Virginia? –Malnourished –Fear of Indian attack –Not enough supplies –Overworked

5 5 Life as a Servant 50-70% of all immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants. –At times, as much as 75% of the population of some colonies were under terms of indenture. Headright system: Masters received 50 acres for every servant they brought to Virginia Masters were expected to feed, clothe and house servants. –The reality, however, could be quite different. Indentured servants could be beaten and sold from one master to another Female servants were the victims of sexual exploitation. 2 out of 5 (40%) of indentured servants died before completing their term due to exhaustion, disease, malnourishment Living and working conditions were horrible, and servants who tried to escape could have their term of service extended.

6 6 Life after Servitude Upon the completion of their term of service, a servant was to be given the things necessary to start out on their own: –Clothing –Tools –a Gun –Land Problem: most of the best land was already taken by the rich planters to grow tobacco. Why? –Headright system! Servants had to take inferior land out on the frontier……..where the enemy lurked…….. Many masters also broke their promise and did not provide servants with their “freedom dues”

7 7 Why didn’t they use slaves? 1619: first African-Americans brought to Virginia –Slavery existed in other parts of the world – just not Virginia –Blacks were used as servants as well. They could be granted their freedom –Planters did not want to use slavery! Why? To buy a person for life was EXPENSIVE –Workers died too quickly in Virginia due to the climate and labor –Cheaper to buy a person for 5-7 years (and they were in great supply!) To clarify: slavery did not exist RIGHT AWAY in the American colonies!!!!!!!!!! –So why did slavery end up being introduced?

8 8 Late 1600s: large numbers of young, poor, angry men (former servants) are living in Virginia Mainly single men – no wives or families (very dangerous!) No economic opportunity – former masters had gobbled up all of the land Forced to live on frontier and face wrath of Indians 1670: The Virginia Assembly (the elite!) took right to vote away from most landless men! Why???? Frustrated Freemen

9 9 Led 1,000 Virginians in a rebellion against Governor Berkeley Bacon: Declaration of the People (1676) Berkley refused to retaliate for Indian attacks on frontier settlements that had killed former servants Bacon’s Rebellion: 1676 Nathaniel Bacon Governor William Berkeley

10 10 Governor Berkeley driven from Jamestown. They burned the capital. § Rebels went on a rampage of plundering. Bacon suddenly died of fever. Berkeley brutally crushed the rebellion and hanged 20 rebels. Last group captured was a mixture of white servants and black men Why is this scary to the planters? Bacon’s Rebellion

11 11 It exposed the class conflict between former servants and the wealthy planters who controlled Virginia politics § Problem: Virginia needs a permanent “underclass” to do the dirty work of tobacco. § Bacon’s Rebellion proved white labor cannot be exploited enough to make a profit! § White people have rights under English law! § Upper class planters searched for laborers less likely to rebel: BLACK SLAVES!! Results of Bacon’s Rebellion

12 12 As the number of slaves increased, white colonists (rich and poor!) UNITED to exploit the black working- class § IMPORTANT: Need to generate racist feeling in order to exploit slaves § Early 1600s: differences between slave and servant were unclear. § Fear of cooperation between servants and slaves § How do you create a division between white and black? § SLAVE CODES! Slavery comes to Virginia

13 13 BIG IDEA: the American dream (freedom) for white settlers was only possible………. Because of the exploitation of black people! (slavery) Colonial Slavery

14 14 The Atlantic Slave Trade

15 15 The “Middle Passage”

16 16 How did the Constitution protect slavery? Constitution never uses the word “slave!” Article I, Section 9: Importation of Slaves –Slave trade cannot be banned until 1808 Article I, Section 2: 3/5ths Compromise –Slaves are counted as 3/5ths of a person for purposes of the census Article 4, Section 2: Fugitive Slave Clause –States should make a good faith effort to return run-away slaves

17 17 How did slaves demonstrate power? Resistance –Breaking tools, slowing down, sabotage Running away Raising white children (“mammy”) Practicing own version of Christianity –Exodus: God will lead them from slavery! Marriages “toying” with the master

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