Indentured Servants In Colonial America

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While racial prejudice played a significant role in the rise of slavery in the British colonies, it was not the sole contributor. A large influence that led to widespread slavery in the colonies was the slow removal of indentured servants. While white indentured servants were relatively efficient for a period of time, the masters of these servants eventually noticed a lack of hard work and desire for freedom within them. This observed change in behavior led to the need to find a new labor force, one that could not claim to have the rights of “Englishmen”. So, as many in the history of the world had done, the colonists turned to the enslavement of Africans. They saw many advantages in use of Africans for labor instead of indentured servants, including the fact that the slaves never gained their freedom, and therefore never became a “population of unruly landless men”. …show more content…
The colonists had to be convinced that this type of labor was superior to what they already had, which began to take root as the immigration of indentured servants slowed as more were choosing to go to other colonies, such as Pennsylvania. Eventually, as the ownership of slaves became more and more appealing to the planters in the Chesapeake region, the colonists needed to find a way to justify their actions. As the English had always viewed outside peoples, such as the Irish and Native Americans, with incredible disdain, they put that view upon the Africans in a way to justify their enslavement of them. While “race” was not a fully-developed concept in the seventeenth century, the English viewed the Africans as being barbaric and inherently inferior, thus justifying their enslavement. So, while racial prejudice was not the sole factor in the rise of slavery in the English colonies, it was very influential once the opportunity for it to exist

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