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Economic View of Slavery


Slavery was caused by economic factors of the english settlers 
in the late 17th century. Colonists continually tried to allure
laborers to the colony. The headright system was to give the 
indentured servant, a method of becoming independent after a number of 
years of service. Slavery was caused by economic reasons. Colonists 
chiefly relied on Indentured Servitude, inorder to facilitate their 
need for labor. The decreasing population combined with a need for a 
labor force, led colonists to believe that African slaves were the 
most efficient way to acquire a labor force that would satisfy their 

 Before the 1680's, Indentured Servitude was the primary source 
of labor in the newly developed colonies. After the 1680's, the 
population of the Indentured Servants decreased, exponentially. Their 
were a number of different reasons why the population of Indentured 
Servents had decreased. The indentured servents were running away from 
their temporary masters, to find a job where he could become more 
independent. Indentured servents were also dying of many diseases, 
which was caused by harsh conditions. The immigration of servents thus 
declined, becuase of the people in England being informed of the harsh 
treatment in the colonies. The society was where the land was easy to 
find, while the labor was most scarce. Indentured servitude, was a 
form of labor which was declining, and the need for labor increased 

 In the 1600's, when tobacco was founded by John Rolfe, tobacco 
became the main source of income for most of the colonists. The 
economic prosperity of the colonies was primarily dependent on the 
amount of tobacco produced. The growing of tobacco, needed a large 
amount of land, with a large stable work force. The increased demand 
for a large, stable work force combined with the availability of 
African slaves, led to the use of slavery in the colonies. During the 
late 17th century, the indentured servants were running away from 
their masters farms, if a slave had run away from their master's 
farms, then the slave would be easier to discern because of the color 
of his skin. To the planter, slavery was the ideal form of labor that 
would be most beneficial to productivity of his crop.

 Planters had an abundance of land and a shortage of labor. 
This relationship, made the amount of tobacco directly proportional
to the number of slaves that the planter owned. Slavery was the 
backbone of the prosperity of the colonies. A major factor in the 
consideration of slaves on plantation, is the flux of the land. 
Tobacco was the major crop of the 17th century, and tobacco is a plant 
that exhausts nutrients from the soil, which led to the rotation of 
crops, inorder to replenish the crops. The planter needed to educate 
his workers on certain agricultural techniques inorder to know how to 
make the land most productive. With a permanent work force, such as 
slaves, the slaves would only require to be educated once, instead of 
the planters having to re-educate indentured servants every X number 
of years. The African slaves also had other characteristics that 
enticed colonists to use them as a labor force. The African slaves 
were immune to malaria, which resisted them from disease. The africans 
also were subsistence farmers in africa, thus, they had a tradition of 
farming, and essential agricultural skills.

 Slavery was a course in history, where it was opportune for 
the colonists to use slavery as a labor force. The decline in 
population of indentured servants exacerbated the situation, as time 
progressed, slavery became more and more imminent. Morality was not 
taken into consideration, because of the settlers were only viewing 
slavery from a economic view, rather than a humanitarian point of 
view. The introduction of slavery into the colonies can be summarize 
with a cliche of the settlers being "at the right place at the right 



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