Slavery is a particular type of relationships that has different forms and is common for any historical period. Each race has had this terrible experience. In general, slavery means a definite dependence of one person on another. Even today, there are many examples of slavery in the world. There are obligations and hierarchies between relatives, co-workers, students, and social classes. However, the term is usually associated with the right to manage, sell, buy, and exchange people as objects. This paper discusses the development of slavery in the American colonies.
The United States was initially established as a slave state. Americans believed then that slavery was the most effective and appropriate way to create and develop the state. Being the main order of their lives, it was formed on the basis of capitalism, and the agrarian economy could not be a part of the system. Therefore, American planters had to use slave labor because of the labor market tightness at the time. Since the continent had much land, colonial America was an excellent place for enterprises to develop agriculture and slavery: these lands were very fertile, and the climate gave an opportunity to work there profitably. However, there was not enough workforce, which resulted in the appearance of slaves in colonial America. The colonization of North America allowed people to acquire lands that turned the American colonists into smallholders. This process contributed to the absolute dependence of the worker on the employer. Moreover, severe measures were an integral part of such relationships. According to the Equal Justice Initiative (2013), “nearly two million people died at sea during the agonizing journey.” Even though many people died while making the trips, slavery remained the main way of earning money. Most often, slaves were brought to work in the tobacco fields of the southern states. The situation of slaves was still grave when they reached their destinations: there were cases when slaves were beaten to death or ran away from the plantations. Burnard (2015) stated that “the punishments meted out to slaves both cruel and increasingly ingenious.” In addition, their working days were non-standardized. Moreover, the government forced all people to catch the escapees and administered severe punishment for those who tried to help a slave.
Colonies striving for economic and political independence were rapidly gaining strength, but the British Empire continued to view them only as the sources of raw materials and huge profits. The British government did not worry about the needs of the colonists in the distant America and did not grant them any rights. Lopez (n.d.) wrote that “slaves lived in near hopeless misery while the planters, despite enjoying wealth and freedom, stood in constant fear.” Eventually, the disputes with the British authorities turned into an armed that transformed into the American Revolution. At the time, there was an attempt to eradicate slavery, but it failed due to its benefits for the colonists. The rapid spreading of the Industrial Revolution in England caused an unprecedented demand for raw cotton, which dramatically increased plantation productivity and profitability of the slavery system.
To conclude, using slaves as the labor force was the main way for the colonists to become rich. This difficult period of time led to enormous losses, people’s suffering, and many adverse consequences for future generations. In addition, slaves greatly contributed to the American Revolution which gave nothing to them in return. Despite the abolition of slavery, the topic remains sensitive, and different generations have controversial opinions about it. Since this historical issue was very complex and entailed many unfortunate consequences, modern society is responsible to find the answers and solutions to bring social justice.
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