Genetrice C. Cole
Slavery is as much a part of American history, as much as the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Slavery can be defined as one persons’ involuntary service to another without any rights. This is not the way any human being would choose or should have to live. To make someone a slave, for profit is inhumane, it takes away their distinctiveness, their dignity, their pride and self-esteem. Slavery grew or became popular for other reasons, like raids, conquests, the selling of family members to pay off a debt or as punishment for crimes. With the advancement in agriculture, the necessity for slaves in early settlement societies became a demand or the status quo.
Slavery an Exploitation of Free Labor
Slavery has always been an ugly truth surrounding the American culture. The discussion of slavery causes people to either claim or deny this ugly truth. Many African Americans can trace their lineage and find some connection to a former slaves. It is inconceivable to think of one person being owned by another, but it is a truth that helped shape the nation. Slavery, is the nation’s earliest form of exploitation, in which a person depending on the need for labor becomes the property or ownership of another. Slavery can also be translated as turning a person and every family member connected to them, into a commodity or good that can be purchased, sold or even exchanged.
Early Slave Trade
Around 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia the first African slaves arrived, brought over by Early European settlers. The number of slaves imported was minor at first, and it did not seem necessary to state their legal status. The legal acknowledgment of slavery, arose in Massachusetts in 1641, in Connecticut in 1650, and in Virginia in 1661, these laws mostly concerned fugitive slaves or slaves on the run. With the expansion of the plantation system in the southern colonies, so did, the amount of Africans transported as agricultural slave laborers increased tremendously. There were several northern cities that became known as the heart of slave traffic. Middle Atlantic and southern colonies used slaves primarily for agriculture labor. Also in these areas where agriculture plantations were so vast, most if not all slaves were used to work the plantations. African slaves came to be a very vital part of the English colonies in America, mainly in the south. Laws regarding African slaves were revised, because they were crucial to the survival southern economy and southern society. At the dawn of the American Revolution, at least 20 percent of the English colonies population was made up of African descendant’s.
During the Revolutionary Era, they were considered slaves, and no longer indentured servants. They were now property, or a good, a commodity, like livestock, and laws were put into place to describe their legal, political and social status. In the early 1800 the population of the United States included 893, 602 slaves of which 36,505 were in the northern states (Head, 2013). Although slavery were very much on the rise states such as Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey called for the emancipation of their slaves before 1804. (Muhummad, 2011). The 3,953, 760 slaves at the census of 1860 were predominantly in the southern states. (Muhummad, 2011). Eminent statesmen from the earliest period of the national existence, such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Jay, and Alexander Hamilton, regarded slavery as evil and inconsistent with the principles of the Declaration of Independence. (Chambers Encyclopedia, 2014 p. 501) “The Society of Friends made several formal declarations against it between 1787 and 1836. The Methodist Episcopal Church always cherished strong antislavery views, but in 1844, when one of its bishops was suspended for refusing to emancipate slaves he