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Why did a Slave society develop in colonial Virginia?

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Why did a Slave society develop in colonial Virginia? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Why did a Slave society develop in colonial Virginia?

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  1. Why did a Slave society develop in colonial Virginia?

  2. Big point! • The shift to a slave society was not inevitable!

  3. The shift to a slave society was not inevitable! • The status of Africans in 17th century Virginia was fluid and ambiguous until the establishment of slave codes at the turn of the 18th century.

  4. Problems in VirginiaProblem #1: Land but no labor! • Lots of land! • Available and unused, from a English perspective

  5. Problems in VirginiaProblem #1: Land but no labor! • Lots of land! • Available and unused, from a English perspective • Landowning tied to idea of “independence” • Landowners had control of their lives and livelihood

  6. Problems in VirginiaProblem #1: Land but no labor! • Lots of land! • Available and unused, from a English perspective • Landowning was tied to idea of “independence” • Landowners had control of their lives and livelihood • Landlessness equated to “dependence” • A tenant was subject to the landlord

  7. Problem #2: Profitable commodity but no labor • Plenty of land to grow tobacco and plenty of demand in Europe

  8. Problem #2: Profitable commodity but no labor • Plenty of land to grow tobacco and plenty of demand in Europe • Demand pushed production • 60,000 lbs., in 1620 • 35 million lbs., in 1700

  9. Tobacco’s popularity exacerbated the labor shortage

  10. Tobacco’s popularity exacerbated the labor shortage • Labor intensive crop

  11. Tobacco’s popularity exacerbated the labor shortage • Labor intensive crop • Many tedious, relatively unskilled, steps • Planting • Tending • Harvesting • Drying • Packing

  12. Lots of land, profitable crop, but who’s going to work it? • How about using Indians? • The Spanish did!

  13. Lots of land, but who’s going to work it? • Indians? • The Spanish did! • Didn’t work in Virginia

  14. Lots of land, but who’s going to work it? • Indians? • The Spanish did! • Didn’t work in Virginia • Could easily run away, knew the land

  15. Lots of land, but who’s going to work it? • Indians? • The Spanish did! • Didn’t work in Virginia • Could easily run away, knew the land • Had “military” backing, support of allies

  16. Lots of land, but who’s going to work it? • Indians? • The Spanish did! • Didn’t work in Virginia • Could easily run away, knew the land • Had “military” backing, support of allies • Had suffered depopulation

  17. Lots of land, but who’s going to work it? • Indians? • The Spanish did! • Didn’t work in Virginia • Could easily run away, knew the land • Had “military” backing, support of allies • Had suffered depopulation • Too dispersed • No encomiendas in British America

  18. A solution: Indentured Servants

  19. Indentured servants • An indenture, or contract, to labor in exchange for passage to America.

  20. Indentured servants • An indenture, or contract, to labor in exchange for passage to America. • Terms ranged from four to seven years

  21. Indentured servants • An indenture, or contract, to labor in exchange for passage to America. • Terms ranged from four to seven years • Few rights, often cruel treatment

  22. Why would anyone do this?

  23. Why would anyone do this? • To escape poverty in England!

  24. Domestic problems in England • Population growth

  25. Domestic problems in England • Population growth • Eviction of tenant farmers

  26. Domestic problems in England • Population growth • Eviction of tenant farmers • Growing poverty and pressure on English cities

  27. Opportunity for aspiring aristocrats • Headright system

  28. Opportunity for aspiring aristocrats • Headright system • 50 acres of land for passage of laborer

  29. Opportunity for aspiring aristocrats • Headright system • 50 acres of land for passage of laborer • Often times ship’s captains transported potential servants and sold them upon arrival

  30. Keeping up with the Byrds • William Byrd I • To Virginia, 1670

  31. Keeping up with the Byrds • William Byrd I • To Virginia, 1670 • Grandfather, a ship’s captain

  32. Keeping up with the Byrds • William Byrd I • To Virginia, 1670 • Grandfather, a ship’s captain • Collected a substantial amount of “good” land in Virginia through headrights

  33. “Good” land went quickly • Wealthy able to grab up land along waterways

  34. “Good” land went quickly • Wealthy able to grab up land along waterways • The Byrds’ land was along the James and Potomac rivers

  35. “Good” land went quickly • Wealthy able to grab up land along waterways • The Byrds’ land was along the James and Potomac rivers • Advantage to wealthy

  36. But while everything was coming up tobacco, it was not coming up roses! • Problems with indentured servants

  37. Problems with indentured servants • Runaways

  38. Problems with indentured servants • Runaways • Rights of Englishmen limited control by masters

  39. Problems with indentured servants • Runaways • Rights of Englishmen limited control by masters • Frustration upon completion of indenture

  40. Frustration upon completion of indenture • Little “good” land available • Distant from waterways • On fringe of English settlement

  41. Moving toward African slavery • Precedent in Latin America

  42. Moving toward African slavery • Precedent in Latin America • Caribbean, Brazil

  43. Moving toward African slavery • First African slaves to Jamestown, 1619

  44. African slavery • Very limited for most of the 17th century

  45. African slavery • Very limited for most of the 17th century • More expensive than servants • Perpetual servitude

  46. African slavery • Very limited for most of the 17th century • High mortality among field hands • Rigors of work, disease • Slavery was a bad investment

  47. African slavery: not a foregone conclusion • Up until the last decades of the 17th century, black status in Virginia was fluid.

  48. African slavery: not a foregone conclusion • Up until the last decades of the 17th century, black status in Virginia was fluid • Free blacks, some who owned servants!

  49. African slavery: not a foregone conclusion • Up until the last decades of the 17th century, black status in Virginia was fluid • Free blacks, some who owned servants! • Black indentured servants

  50. African slavery: not a foregone conclusion • Up until the last decades of the 17th century, black status in Virginia was fluid • Free blacks, some who owned servants! • Black indentured servants • Black slaves