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Characteristic of Slaves, Servants, and Black in Virginia from1670s to 1880s Essay (Article)

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Updated: Sep 5th, 2021

“Slavery is a mode of compulsion that has often prevailed where land is abundant” (Morgan, S. Edmund, 1975, p.296). The slave trade flourished for over a century before the first boatload of twenty Negroes was brought to Jamestown, Virginia, through a Dutch slave trader in 1619 and property in men and women were legal as early as 1640’s. Large-scale agricultural operations, which created labour problem, were solved by enslaving American Indians, maintaining bonded labours, servants recruited through import, and slave trade. As slavery offered incomparable advantages in “keeping labour docile,” the land barons carefully transformed the “free rogues” from England to slaves.Physical endurance and high life expectancy of African slaves prompted Dutch slave traders in 1660’s, and later in 1672 by Royal African Company, to import more African Blacks to Virginia. Morgan states “Virginia imported roughly 45,000 slaves between 1700 and 1750, and the black population grew over 100,000 by this time.”.

The Virginian’s invested earnings from tobacco in cattle, hogs, and servants and exchanged cattle for slaves. The black slaves were not rebellious and return on investment was more than expected than employing servants. The population concept of race-based slave system developed in 1690’s with “headrights” . Between 1708 and 1750 about 38,418 slaves entered Virginia. The servants were employed in plantation, generally ‘white’ with fixed contractual terms. The slaves included both white and black, and were traded. The enslaved black helped to build colonial America along with free whites through construction, agriculture, mining, shipping, and housekeeping activities. “With slavery Virginians could exceed all their previous efforts to maximize productivity”.

Works cited

Morgan, S. Edmund. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. Book IV: Chapter 15: Towards Slavery. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1975.

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IvyPanda. "Characteristic of Slaves, Servants, and Black in Virginia from1670s to 1880s." September 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/characteristic-of-slaves-servants-and-black-in-virginia-from1670s-to-1880s/.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Characteristic of Slaves, Servants, and Black in Virginia from1670s to 1880s." September 5, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/characteristic-of-slaves-servants-and-black-in-virginia-from1670s-to-1880s/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Characteristic of Slaves, Servants, and Black in Virginia from1670s to 1880s'. 5 September.

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