A Short Essay on the Origins of American Slavery

This is timely, sadly, and a good reminder of how society can make decisions and create laws that impact targeted groups in the most horrifying manner.

American History for Travelers

Although it was not their original intention, colonists in the New World gave birth to a modern form of slavery. Within the burgeoning colonies, slavery evolved far beyond what any other people in history had known or established — the enslavement for life of one race. Clearly, slavery was not the result of a single driving force. Looking at the events that originated in Jamestown, one can see a linear progression of circumstances that ultimately institutionalized slavery within the colonies. Through happenstance, the earliest Africans who landed in Jamestown were treated as indentured servants, meaning that their labor contract specified a fixed term of service to their master. Eventually, however, the legal status of Africans in America evolved into an enslavement system driven by economic need. It concluded with the systemization of slavery and racial prejudice on a scale unequaled in the Europe from which the colonists had emigrated.

Slavery…

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