The Role Of The Slave Trade
Slavery has existed for thousands of years, it’s origins tracing back to the very start of civilisation. However, the most well-known and impactful slave trade would be the Atlantic Slave Trade, or the Middle Passage (which was the first known international slave trade). This refers to a specific leg in the journey, of the Triangular Trade, a term used to describe the common trade route during this time period.
On the eve of the American Revolution, slavery was accepted as the norm and practiced widely. From the 16th to the 18th century, almost all major European Powers played a big role in the promotion of slavery, with the British and Portuguese Empire dominating the industry, shipping more African slaves (up to 9.5 million in total) to the Americas than any other country.
The main cause of the Atlantic Slave Trade was due to the boom of the Industrial Revolution. The need of cotton, tobacco, sugar, spices and ivory led to the development of Britain’s colonies, especially the Americas. Here, wealthy plantation owners found that the cost of hiring ‘white’ labourers were too expensive and the native Americans’ were few, as …show more content…
Those who supported the revolution believed strongly in freedom and equality, therefore, causing them to question the legitimacy of slavery. As Benjamin Rush, a physician and revolutionist wrote, “It would be useless for us to denounce the servitude to which the Parliament of Great Britain wishes to reduce us, while we continue to keep our fellow creatures in slavery just because their colour is different.” - (Quoted from Civil Rights at the crossroads, Bolick, C.) This statement signified the rapid change of the peoples’ views, not only towards the concept of slavery, but towards slaves themselves, as