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Rise Of African Slavery Essay

1535 words - 7 pages

Rise of African Slavery in Colonial America
Tobacco plantation formed an essential component of Pre-Civil War African-American slavery. During the early colonial period in the United States, plantation constituted as the highest percentage of economic activity. The economic growth of American colonies relied on the export of cash crops such as rice, indigo etc. However, out of all cash crops, tobacco became the most popular one due to its use for pipes, cigars, and snuff. Due to this growing demand for tobacco in Europe, Early American settlers discontinued all other economic activities and started tobacco cultivation. As a result, tobacco became the principal and dominant cash crop of Southern colonies such as Virginia, Chesapeake, and Maryland. Now growing tobacco was very labor- intensive, as it required a large amount of work force. For the plantation and processing of tobacco, thousands of indentured servants and slaves worked at farms. An example of American tobacco plantation is shown in document seven, “Illustration of Slaves Cultivating Tobacco, 1738.” As tobacco plantation grew in importance in the southern economy, the demand for more workers grew as well. This increase in labor demand, and the desire of money making urged early American settlers to seek free labor. In short, tobacco plantation became the key step to promote the need of free permanent labor, and to raise the Question of slavery. Europeans were deemed poor candidates for slavery due to their higher mortality rates. In 17th century, the New World was going through Public Health crisis. European immigration to the New World influenced the transmission of unknown epidemic diseases in American colonies. Warm climate in American colonies also became detrimental to Europeans. As a result, diseases like small pox, diphtheria, scarlet fever, dysentery, and malaria claimed the lives of thousands of Europeans, mostly indentured servants. In document two, “Indentured Servant Richard Frethorne Lament His Condition in Virginia, 1623,” an indentured servant, Richard Frethorne also talked about deadly diseases and him combating homesickness. He said, “…it causes much sickness, as the scurvy and the bloody flux [severe dysentery], and diseases, which make the body very poor and weak.” Due to the poor living conditions, harsh climate, and less immunity to native diseases, thousands of Europeans died. In short, the high mortality rate, made it more expensive for Europeans to be used as slaves. Enslavement of poor Europeans would have also caused hindrance to the voluntary immigration of Europeans to American colonies. During sixteenth century, Europe’s economy was going through depression, and many skilled and unskilled Europeans were without work. In Great Britain, there was also a tremendous outgrowth in population of Europeans. This increase in rate of population and poverty in Great Britain, made Europeans’ life very difficult. On the other hand, the new life of New World...

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