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  1. ORIGINS OF SLAVERY • As old as civilization itself • Primarily involved prisoners of war in ancient times • No particular bias towards race or ethnicity • Arabs began African slave trade around 700 AD • Obtained slaves (generally pows) from tribes south of Sahara Desert • Small business • Probably only involved about 1000-5000 individuals per year

  2. AFRICAN SLAVERY IN THE NEW WORLD • Transatlantic trade in African slaves started by the Portuguese • Provided slaves for Spanish and Portuguese plantations and mines in the New World • Trade later taken over by the Dutch • Brought first slaves to British colonies • 20 African slaves brought to Jamestown in 1619

  3. SLAVERY AND INDENTURED SERVITUDE • Number of slaves in Virginia remained small until around 1670 • Reason • Cheaper to use indentured servants • Because of huge surplus of unemployed young people in England willing to do anything to get fresh start in the colonies Indentured servant girl

  4. SLAVERY TAKES OFF • Population in England began to level off after 1670 • Reduced number of young people desperate enough to become indentured servants • Created labor shortage in Virginia • Tobacco planters turned to slaves to make up the difference

  5. BRITISH SLAVERS • Growth of slavery also influenced by growing involvement of British merchants in slave trade • Parliament passed law in 1660 prohibiting the American colonists from buying slaves from anyone but British merchants • Growing labor shortage and growing British involvement in slave trade therefore sparked increase in the number and use of slaves in southern colonies after 1670

  6. OTHER FACTORS • Slavery only pays if slaves are kept working all year long • Since they have to be fed, clothed, and housed all year • Cannot be laid off in slow seasons • Tobacco had long growing season and required intensive labor over most of the year • Kept slaves working all year long and gave slave owners excellent return on their investment

  7. THE CAROLINAS • In 1663, Charles II granted eight friends a royal charter to colonize 600 miles of coastline between Virginia and Spanish Florida • First settlement established in 1670 • Colony grew rapidly and eventually split into two • North and South Carolina

  8. CAROLINA ECONOMY • Economy originally based on exporting meat, corn, and wood to sugar-producing Caribbean islands • Slaves sometimes used to produce these products but free white labor remained dominant within agricultural labor force until 1680s

  9. RICE • Sugar market collapsed in 1680s, plunging Caribbean islands into a deep depression • Bought much less of Carolina products • Carolina colonists looked for new staple crop • Found it in rice • Perfectly suited for local climate and terrain • Very strong market for it

  10. RICE GROWING • English colonists knew little about the complexities of rice-growing • But West African slaves had much experience in growing it • Their expertise made rice-growing a success in the Carolinas

  11. RICE AND SLAVERY • Rice-growing sparked tremendous increase in slavery • Not a crop for a small farmer • Most efficiently grown on large estates, worked by gangs of laborers toiling on their knees all day in six inches of water and mud • White men would not do this type of work • Black men would not do it either—but they could be forced to • Slave labor thus rapidly replaced free white labor on rice plantations along coast • Former white laborers moved further inland and set up subsistence farms

  12. SLAVE LAWS IN THE CAROLINAS • By 1710, slaves made up majority of population in Carolinas • Especially in South Carolina were they accounted for 65% of population • This numerical superiority frightened whites • Caused them to enact series of savagely repressive slave laws • Even made it illegal for slaves to read the Bible • Designed to keep huge black population under white minority control

  13. SLAVERY IN THE NORTH • Slavery existed in northern colonies • But it was not as deeply rooted or widespread as in the South • Reason? • Had nothing to do with humanitarianism • Real reason was because it was not suited to agriculture in the north • Slaves remained a luxury for the wealthy classes and because the wealthy only represented a small fraction of northern population, there were relatively few slaves Slave servants with children of Puritan preacher

  14. VIOLENCE AND SLAVERY • White masters held awesome power over their slaves • Including the power to whip them to death • The right to inflict violence upon slaves made the entire system work • The whip made the entire system go round

  15. PASSIVE RESISTANCE • Means for slaves to resist their masters were limited • But they still resisted • “Puttin’ on ol’ Massa” • They goofed off when not watched • Pretended to be stupid and broke tools and destroyed crops • Stole food, clothing, and drink • All forms of passive resistance • Caused continual headache for masters but never occurred on large enough scale to seriously hurt planter profits

  16. ACTIVE RESISTANCE: RUNNING AWAY • Newly arrived Africans most likely to run away • But also usually easily caught • American-born slaves were apt to be more successful • Especially if they knew a trade and could make it to a town or city • Planters formed vigilante patrols to hunt down runaways, required slaves to carry passes when off their home plantation, and offered rewards for their capture and return • These measures kept runaway problem from reaching critical proportions • But the practice remained

  17. ACTIVE RESISTANCE: REVOLT • Ultimate fear of all white slave owners • Odds against a successful revolt were high • Mainly because slaves were always kept under close supervision • But they still did occur

  18. STONO, SOUTH CAROLINA (1739) • 30 newly arrived slaves from Angola escaped, broke into a general store and armed themselves • Then killed about 24 white planters and burnt their plantations • Tried to escape to Florida • Number had grown to over 100 • But caught by planter vigilantes and most were slaughtered • Survivors tortured to death

  19. CONCLUSION • In the wake of Stono Rebellion, South Carolina enacted even more repressive slave laws • But occasional small and isolated slave revolts continued to erupt all the way to the Civil War • Although some planters would later claim that slaves were happy under their benevolent rule, these revolts and unceasing efforts by planters to enforce black subordination and white supremacy indicate that, in their hearts, they really knew better