Slave Religion Essay

785 words - 4 pages

As slavery grew in the American Colonies, the purposes for its increased interest for free labor developed regionally. The Northern Colonies, shifting crops and investing in various commercial trades, forced African slaves to work along side indentures servants and provide domestic services. Reliance upon agricultural growth and the want for increased wealth, Southern plantation owners deemed slave labor more prosperous, thereby cementing the “peculiar institution” into the fabric of Southern aristocratical society. Much as Colonists attempted to convert the American Indians to Christianity, the same such tactic was employed upon the African slaves. The treatment of slaves in the North and the South, differed in some instances, however, the relationship between the North and South provided a relationship between the regions which depended greatly among each other. During the era of the Great Awakening, evangelist, George Whitefield mustered great desegregated congregations in an effort to spread Christianity throughout the Colonies.
The slave community grew enormously between 1790 and 1820 in the Northern Colonies. Farming became disrupted because of the Napoleonic Wars in France. The shift from tobacco to grain thereby increasing the need for slave labor to work along side indentured servants. Because the agricultural South was still developing, many northern Colonists prospered immensely from the commercial supply of foodstuffs and other commodities.[1] Through his revivals, George Whitefield sought to create tolerance among the many Christian religions, including Protestant, Jew, and Catholic.[2] Amongst the diverse congregation, slaves and American Indians attended alongside the white colonists. Although the Transatlantic Slave Trade imported Africans from various regions, many had come to the Americas as Christians, Jews, and Muslims, thereby providing an open region the masses.
As the need for skilled labor in the North increased, slaves and black freedmen were trained in various skilled labors, such as ship making, baking, weaving, and carpentry. Although many excelled at their crafts and often outcompeted white men for employment, they still maintained an inferior social status. Free black men were subjected to the same slave codes as the bound slaves and Indians.[3] If one was of African descent, free or enslaved, attendance at the revivals was not condoned by many Colonists. Some blacks were forced to listen to sermons through windows or attend separate services and only with their master’s approval. However, based upon Biblical interpretations, slaves obeying their master was a...

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