Slavery In The 18th Century Essay

Words: 370
Pages: 2

From the 17th century all the way into the 19th century, slavery became an important part of the American labor force. For over 200 years, this “peculiar institution” underwent many changes and developments that influenced how white Americans viewed and utilized the system. It developed in such a way that it can be divided into two distinct periods—1600-1700 and 1700-1800. When slavery first started in the American colonies, indentured servitude became the major source of manual labor during the 17th century. These servants usually sold themselves into slavery if they couldn't afford the journey to America. This was typically voluntary, but there were also instances where servants came after being charged for criminal activities. These servants …show more content…
Masters had people to work for them, and servants would eventually be able to start new lives in America. By the 18th century, however, African labor had taken off as the primary form of slavery. This was because African slaves became much more accessible and cost-efficient than servants. Fewer Europeans came to America as servants because conditions in Europe were improving and the economy in America wasn’t providing an attractive offer. At the same time, more slaves were coming into the colonies, making them more accessible. On top of that, slave labor was a much better investment since slaves were held forever and slave status was passed on over multiple generations. Another way the development of slavery differed was the way the slave population transformed over time. When slaves first came to America in the late 17th century, they were all being imported directly from Africa. Because of the harsh conditions in the Middle Passage and the unfamiliar environment in the New World, slave mortality rates were pretty high. This made slaves a risky investment for whites, but one that could still work out well. Masters also viewed these African-born slaves as impure, uncivilized heathens. These perceptions helped justify their decision to use Africans for labor. In the 18th century, slaves became much more readily available because of a natural population growth. Slaves were starting to reproduce and creating a “creole”