Factors Of Slavery

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Economic factors were paramount in the introduction and consolidation of slavery in North America, between the 16th and 19th centuries. As an emerging capitalist nation, North America was driven by profit and hence needed cheap labour. Africans were easily accessible, had experience in the terrain and with insufficient laws to protect them, slavery could be seen as inevitable. Slavery was fortified by secondary factors, such as racial and social ideologies and political considerations. The invention of the cotton gin further consolidated slavery and slave-produced cotton became vital to the American economy, not only in the Southern agricultural areas but also in the North, where industrialisation was taking place. The abolition of the Transatlantic …show more content…
The early settlers quickly realised they had lots of land to care for, but no one to care for it. Originally indentured servitude was used, but as demand for labour increased, so did the cost of indentured servitude, and so forced labour was introduced. Africans were regarded as profitable and renewable sources of labour as they were acclimated to the harsh terrain, unlike Europeans, were proven labourers and were easily obtained, making them optimal slaves. The Transatlantic Slave Trade, was set up between West Africa, Europe and North America. Traders headed from Europe towards West Africa, where they took African slaves aboard their ships; slaves were often marketed to Europeans by other Africans and were not usually captured by Europeans themselves. Slaves were taken across the Atlantic in ships, in appalling conditions in what was known as ‘the middle passage’, lasting anywhere from 40 days to 6 months (Pettersen, 2010). Once in the Americas Africans were put to work as slaves. These ships returned to Europe with slave-produced raw materials. America obtained cheap labour from Africa and capital from Europe whilst supplying slave-produced raw materials to Europe. The need for cheap labour was of utmost importance, and was fundamental to the introduction of forced labour in North …show more content…
Racial ideology played a major role in the consolidation of slavery, but not in introduction as evidenced by the fact indentured servitude involved both blacks and whites, showing no racial prejudice originally. Europeans quickly began associating blackness with the devil, immortality and dirt, labelling Africans as ‘unintelligent savages’ and ‘inferior beings’ and used their non-Christian status to defend their actions. Social ideologies were also used as justification of slavery. The South thrived off money earned by slave-produced agricultural crops and attempted to convince North Americans, slavery was beneficial for the whole society, as it gave slaves a purpose and supported the ‘Southern way of life’, which would quickly collapse if slaves were freed. Political aspects also came into play in the reinforcement of slavery; according to US constitution, for tax purposes slaves were regarded as 3/5ths of a person, this was passed onto slave-owners themselves, meaning Southern states held a greater representation in US Congress and therefore a greater balance of power (Dodson, 2003). Although economic factors were of chief importance in the introduction of slavery in North America, other factors such as racial and social ideologies and politics were important in the consolidation of

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