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Why Slavery?

by: Summer Notetaker

Why Slavery?

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Jamestown Bacon's Rebellion Slavery
US History Up to 1865
Carol Halperin
Class Notes
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Summer Notetaker on Sunday October 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at Saint Mary's College taught by Carol Halperin in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views.


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Date Created: 10/09/16
History 201 August 29, 2016 Things to remember: Life in Jamestown was miserable at this time ● Mortality rate was high ● Lack sense of permanence ● Indentured servants Sidenote: Lord Baltimore sponsored a haven for Catholics in 1632 It was a colony of religious freedom Eventually populated by a majority of puritans Back to Jamestown: 1622 - Powhatan Indians attacked Jamestown → Extermination of Natives→ Led to Expansion Within 3 years Jamestown basically exterminated the local indiana population With the indians gone, colonists were able to expand. Jamestown expanded. Virginia expanded. 1644 - Around 8,00 people in Virginia and a growing sense of community They built churches, courts and taverns. About 500 black slaves by 1860 Early on - Africans were indentured servants There is still a high mortality rate Women were widowed multiple times - would remarry Inherited land from dead husband This made them valuable They did not stay unmarried for long Overtime, as the mortality rate decreased the value of land increased. → Pressure to expand and acquire more land Need to for land = need to expand = conflict with Indians Although they exterminated the indians around Jamestown, there were still indians present and could not be avoided Freedom dues - what an indentured servant would receive after 7 years of service ● It was enough to live off of for a year or two depending on lifestyle ● A suit of clothes and 3 barrels of corn - equivalent to 500/60 lbs of tobacco at the time (so not cheap) When it got closer to the end of the 7 year contract - employers would offer early release in exchange for giving up freedom dues → Many men would take this offer and were left with nothing 1676 - Civil War occurs in Virginia - Bacon’s Rebellion Local farmers looking for land came into contact with Indians → as a result the farmers would attack Indians who stole from them At the Time it was illegal to attack indians without consent of governor (by proxy king) → they did not have permission → → they commit treason House of burgess ● Sympathetic to Bacon’s Rebellion and Pardons them ○ The rebellion a very powerful group of men (house of burgess wanted to avoid Conflict) ■ They were basically a mob Bacon becomes a Rebel and His following grows! His following was ​An armed scary crowd​ - freedmen, convicted felons (sent to colonies by England as Indentured Servants), landless men. ● They took to plundering Virginia ● Stole from estates and the rich Goal: To Challenge the class System The rebellion died after Bacon’s death (he died after burning Jamestown from dysentery) End of Bacon’s Rebellion. 1660 - It becomes economically feasible to purchase slaves instead of indentured servants CONVERSION TO SLAVE LABOR 1. Due to lower mortality rate a. Investment in slaves is not a big risk anymore 2. Tobacco cultivation is hard labor a. It requires a lot of people b. Value of tobacco makes it profitable - need a lot of steady labor to grow a large amount to make a significant profit 3. Slaves can multiple 4. Freedmen had become a social problem a. Mob of vagrants b. Desperate and homeless c. Idle hands d. Limited opportunity for social advancement Advantages of Slaves 1. They had no expectations a. No hope of social advancement 2. Slaves were - by law - unarmed 3. Able to spend more time working a. Did not have to educate them i. They are always going to be slaves 4. Slaves can multiple a. They have children and then their children become the property of their master 5. The risk of investment deciles as mortality rate decreases a. Makes slaves more profitable ONLY 1 PROBLEM: slaves have no incentive to work SOLUTION: make them fear pain. Make them fear for their life. TO MAKE A PROFIT - YOU HAD TO BE WILLING TO BEAT/MAIM/KILL/INSTILL FEAR Laws were authorized by government to enforce slavery By 1669 - you see laws in the books: killing of one’s slave was not considered a felony. And run away slave punishment - dismemberment. Racism begins to develop Laws - separated the whites and blacks (free or enslaved) ● All about social control ● Fostered racial contempt 1688 - King was dethroned and the Legislature becomes center power ● Voters matter now ● Impacted the colony: allowed white male landowners to vote ● More permanence in Virginia ○ More prosperous - socially and economically ● It was a good life - if you were a white male landowner All of this was based on an unjust and racist system ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~**~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ From this system - young men passionate about liberty, freedom, and justice were born -> eventually would be the revolutionary founding fathers Big question: How did this happen? ● Proximity to agriculture played a role ○ Virginia = agriculture = independence ○ Washington, Monroe, Jefferson and Madison were all Virginians ● Idea of “yeoman farmers” ○ Ideal citizen → farmers → self sufficient and independent ● All farmers were seen as equal - all on the same social level ● By this point a majority of poor were enslaved - no longer a threat to society ● Slaves produced more goods → increased prosperity ○ This allowed white men to be independent By 1776 - ⅖ of Virginia’s population were slaves People acknowledged that slavery was wrong but it became too dangerous to release the men Did not want a repeat of the freedmen issue. And the labor of slaves was too valuable to let go.


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