Essay History: Slavery and New England

Submitted By mburke343
Words: 816
Pages: 4

Molly Burke
October 1, 2013
History 135-008RL
Objective Paper B

The history of slavery is known to have taken place predominantly in the south. However, many don't know the north took part in slavery as well. There are several reasons as to why most people don't acknowledge this fact. For instance, northern slavery was nothing compared to southern slavery and the north had a reputation to withhold. Back when New England was founded, settlers started to discover the new lands, which would lead to new fortunes. John Winthrop, the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, had a son, Henry, who ended up in Barbados. With dreams of becoming a planter, Henry asked his father to send indentured servants to assist in his plantation. The exchanges of the servants Was just the beginnings of slavery. It wasn’t long before the New England colonists migrated to other areas, including, the Caribbean and the West Indies. These warm areas were perfect for growing hundreds of fields of crops. The Europeans grew tobacco and cotton, but their valued crop was sugar. The “white gold” had only one set back though; it required a large amount of labor forces to be produced. The thousands of laborers were to be found in Africa and Jamaica. John Winthrop stated, “a thousand Negroes; and the more they buy, the better able they are to buy, for in a year and a half they will earn (with gods blessing) as much as they cost.” (Mosaic 62) The colonists believed the more slaves they had working, the more crops would be grown and in turn a bigger profit. Although “New England was not a slave society,” the heavy involvement of some colonists would lead us to believe otherwise. The trade flow of crops lead to the expansion of businesses and soon livestock, food, and wood were added to the list of trade items. The three main trading points, America, Africa, and the West Indies, became known as the Triangle Trade. The flow of commerce was a like a well oiled machine, every port had a purpose. The crops and other trading items were being made in Africa and the West Indies and then sent straight to America. This operating process failed during the American Revolution because, “The islands became so dependent upon Northern provisions…when colonial shops could not get through the West Indies, famine swept the sugar islands.” (Mosaic 63) The New England economy was flourishing despite setbacks of thousands of slaves dying from starvation. Molasses and wood led to the making of rum and ships, which grew the economy even more. Millions of gallons of rum were produced and were shipped to New England colonies by ship in barrels. The ship building industry, “employed hundreds of shipwrights, carpenters, sailmakers, and ironworkers, not to mention lumbermen.” The industry created jobs for colonists and also led to a stronger economy.
To say slavery played a role in contributing to the success of the New England colonies is an understatement. Without the use of slaves, none of the accomplishments made by the settlers would be possible. It is hard to imagine that the history of slavery in the north was never brought to