The Longstanding Institution Of Slavery In The United States

619 words - 2 pages

Slavery, as an institution, has existed since the dawn of civilization. However, by the fifteenth century, slavery in Northern Europe was almost nonexistent. Nevertheless, with the discovery of the New World, the English experienced a shortage of laborers to work the lands they claimed. The English tried to enslave the natives, but they resisted and were usually successful in escaping. Furthermore, with the decline of indentured servants, the Europeans looked elsewhere for laborers. It is then, within the British colonies, do the colonists turn to the enslavement of Africans. Although Native Americans were readily available and were initially numerous, Africans became the primary slave used in the colonies because the Native American slaves could not fill the colonists' labor needs, while the Africans did.
Before the subsequent enslavement of Africans, the Europeans, or the English specifically, tried to enslave the natives of America. English colonists could not enslave others back in England, however, in the Americas, they justified forcing Indians to work by condemning them for resisting English rule. Native Americans, however, were unable to fulfill the colonists' labor needs. Diseases that Europeans had built immunity to, quickly ravaged Indian communities, killing as many as ninety percent of the natives. In addition, the harsh working conditions set by the owners furthered killed many of the native slaves. Furthermore, when traders provoked Indian wars to obtain more slaves, the conflict would often spread to nearby English settlements, discouraging the enslavement of Indians. Unlike the African slaves, the Indians were more likely to try and escape because they could disappear to their tribal lands more easily. Also, Native American men were generally raised to be hunters and considered agriculture to be women's work, so they were not much use for field labor. With a dwindling population, Native Americans could not fulfill the...

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