Slavery in America - Through the 1800s

Updated on September 23, 2016
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

Slavery Wasn't New

Slavery was not a new institution when the American colonies began to develop. It was not some new part of life that they had invented. It had been around for many many centuries. Asia had used slavery for thousands of years. The Middle East used slaves in all aspects of life. Europe used slaves to support the infrastructure. Slavery was a part of the development of civilization.

So what was so different about slavery in America? It was so obvious!

The Status of Europe

Take a look at the rest of the world during the early colonization of the Americas. It was crowded. There were so many people that occupied the lands. Europe was bursting at its seams which is one reason the New World was so inviting.

Europe had thousands and thousands of slaves. The buying of selling of men, women, and children was not uncommon. It was a part of life. The Mediterranean countries had been dealing in the slave market for centuries. The African nations were experts at capturing neighboring tribal members and selling them into slavery. But in America the population and the culture was small and exposing.

Slavery became a larger part of culture in America. The number of slaves was vastly larger than it was in other part of the world.

Source

New Chances in the New World

When the vast resources were discovered in the New World, the settlers began to realize that there was no conceivable way to farm all that land by themselves even with new arrivals from Europe. A few of them were wonderful as indentured servants, but what was needed were long-term helpers that had no choice but to work the fields and help in the homes. The solution was to look toward the old ways of getting help. Slavery became the answer.

Manpower - A Great Resource

The colonists found a vast resource of manpower in Africa and eventually even in China. Warring tribes were more than happy to sell the captives to the slave traders for plenty of gold. The amount of human resource seemed endless which caused the amount of slave trading in the Americas to increase at such an alarming rate that very soon it became the most slave populated area in the world.

Accepted Institution

Slavery in the Americas could not be hidden as it could in the more populated areas of Europe. It was very evident and widely used. Now, the treatment of the slaves begins to take over political conversations all over the Americas and in Europe. The topic of the humane treatment is on the forefront of everyone’s minds.

In some cultures, slavery has been a very humane way of treating prisoners. Some civilizations viewed them as just unpaid help and some even viewed them as part of the family but without the freedom that the family had. But the idea of slavery that we have today comes from many slave owners who viewed their slave labor as nothing more than animals.

Source

The Ugly Side of Slavery

Slavery in the Americas exposed the ugly side of the practice. It showed how many were raped, beaten, and killed sometimes at the whim of their masters. Were all masters like this? No. In fact there were many that followed the more “civilized” way of handling slaves by treating them well and even granting them their freedom after a time. Others, unfortunately, saw them as just things to abuse and mistreat.

Due to the ugliness of the slave trade, many voices began to be raised demanding that the institution of slavery be abolished everywhere. It began in Europe but quickly made its way to the Americas. It took many years and lots of struggles in the political circles and out in the real world. Laws were slowly passed that stopped any new purchases of slaves. Over time territories and states began to ban the practice. It was only after the American Civil War is an obvious shift toward complete abolishment of slavery seen.

Slavery in America was not a new institution. It was a corrupted one that met its legal end with much pain and blood.


Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Jesus rosas 

        21 months ago

        Write away!!!!! Let me know when you do :)

      • RGraf profile imageAUTHOR

        Rebecca Graf 

        2 years ago from Wisconsin

        Write away!!!!! Let me know when you do :)

      • VirginiaLynne profile image

        Virginia Kearney 

        2 years ago from United States

        You are absolutely right that there was a big difference between having slaves living with them and having them far off in a colony. Many of the first people to advocate for abolition of slavery wanted to ship the slaves back to Africa (The American Colonizationist Movement). However, at the time of the Civil war, there were about 4 million Americans from Africa, so this wasn't really practical, even if it had been a good idea in the first place. However, the African country of Liberia was founded based in order to try to do that. There is so much that we can learn about our history of slavery and I think that maybe we need to study it more so we can learn from the past. Someone born in 1816 in the South inherited the problem of slavery, just as someone born in 2016 today inherits the problem of racism in America. We need to work together to try to solve this. Maybe looking at the past can help. Ok--too long of a comment! I think I need to write a Hub about this!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, owlcation.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://owlcation.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)