history paper

Submitted By summermccoy1
Words: 4911
Pages: 20

Who or what was to blame for the Atlantic slave system during the early modern era?

According to Ways of the World (Ch. 14, pg. 690), “The European demand for slaves was clearly the chief cause of this tragic commerce, and from the point of sale on the African coast to the massive use of slave labor on American Plantations, the entire enterprise was in European hands.” There were many ideas and beliefs that caused the Atlantic slave system, but the statement above says it all. In most cases people would think that there was only one reason for this when in reality there were many more. The three main suggested beliefs are: greed, the need for labor, and the Europeans. Greed is such a dreadful trait to acquire, but most people carried it all through out Europe and even in the Americas. The Europeans were known for their greed that was driven by demand during the early modern era. It allowed for them to have a better profit margin. In chapter 14 in Ways of the World it gives a brief overview on how greed was a way of getting other goods from different parts of the world and to show how much power and wealth that they would of had. When the Europeans brought in shipments of slaves they would either trade them for gold, spices, cotton, and even other slaves. For captains, political elites, kings, and other people to trade slaves or even get slaves it was all based upon a social standard. The more slaves you had the wealthier and powerful you were, that also went for in the Americas on the plantations the more slaves you owned the better off you were. One of the most common beliefs out of all three would be the need for labor. In the context on chapter 14 in Ways of the World it states very clearly that the only people that could do the labor needed were African Americans, “Largely through a process of elimination, Africa became the primary source of slave labor for the plantation economies of America. Native Americans quickly parished from European diseases; marginal Europeans were Christians therefore supposedly exempt from slavery…Africans on the other hand, were skilled farmers.”. In the Americas the need for slaves on the plantations were brutal, especially the sugar ones. Plantation owners treated slaves as if they were dehumanized property, but with the European diseases going around and the Christians, they had no other choice but to use Africans. This didn't just happen in the Americas this happend all across Europe. Different forms of hierarchy and other individuals would need slaves to help farm, take care of the house, and other jobs that they had assorted for them. The need for labor all throughout the Americas and Europe tie in with greed during this time period. You need slaves for labor, but what if you need more slaves to do jobs that don’t require a lot of work? That’s where the greed comes into play. People wanted more slaves for the sign of wealth and power even when they didn’t need anymore for labor. The need for labor grew tremendously all over the Americas where they had the plantations, thus blaming the Europeans for the start of this horrific event. During the modern era Europeans spawned many individual tragedies such as; forced labor, brandings, beatings, broken families, and even the displacement of the home. Allowing the Europeans to capture and sell these slaves, it often enriched them and the Euro-American societies while the African Americans were getting victimized. By victimizing them, during voyages the Europeans would cram as many men, women, and children as they could onto a ship. The conditions on the ship were unhealthy and sicking due to the lack of care they gave them. In Chapter 14 in Ways of the World (The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, 1789) Olaudah points out the inhumane living conditions that the Europeans put them in, “I was soon put down under the decks,and there I received such a salutation in my nostrils as I had never experienced in my…