Slavery was developed together with civilization. European countries that conquered America were built by slave labor, and they brought slavery to the Americas. Slavery was descended from the Roman Empire and was inherited by Europeans who cultivated racism and colonialism. Late medieval Europe used slave labor in plantations, and the development of slavery was financed by Italian, Dutch, and English. Before slavery came to the New World, it was extinct in France, England, and the Netherlands, the countries that were mostly associated with it. However, Americans developed its own type of slavery based on economic impulses, ethnic identities, technical resources, and so on. Slaves were captured from many regions and discharged many roles. Slave owners treated them like chattels and had unlimited power over them. This topic is fascinating to me because it explores the historical backgrounds of slavery and represents the racial relationship between people nowadays. This paper aims to prove an inhuman attitude to slaves who were used as a free labor force in the history of the United States of America.
The European Influence on American Slavery
Many studies suggest that there were many medieval European features that helped them conquer America. The countries that were first ones to colonize the American continent, such as English and the Dutch, were well-experienced in colonization since medieval kingdoms. Their colonial expansion was based on territorial expansion, theological justification of slavery, persecution, and colonial settlement. Late medieval Europeans justified slavery of the “wild” and “monstrous” people who should work for them with the aim to receive profits. For example, Latin Europeans used slaves to cultivate cane and distributed this idea to Latin America. Slaves from Africa were brought to the New World by the help of merchants. The rise of plantations transformed slavery, and this process was sponsored by the plantation owners and rich merchants who came mainly from the Netherlands, England, France, and Italy. For example, the Netherlands plays a key role in the development of the slave trade to the American continent. Although European countries influenced America to accept and develop slavery, it was something new that differed from Europe.
The idea of slavery came from ancient Rome, where it was concentrated mainly in Italy and Sicily, where slaves worked in different spheres, but they mainly worked in the plantations. The Roman army was made by slaves who defended the Roman Empire military. The status of slaves referred to as a private property that could be purchased or sold in the slave market. The development of trade in the Middle Ages in Europe led to the slave trade that was spread across the Atlantic Ocean. Europeans who colonized America brought slaves with them and made them work in the American plantations, as well as doing different kinds of work. Slaves lived in barracks and many of them worked as servants in rich houses. Slaves who worked as servants gave an advantage to their owners over peasants and improved their social status. Slaves were treated by stereotypes that considered them as lazy and unreliable. The European formula of slavery was inherited by the American colonizers and was successfully implemented in the life of the New World.
Slavery in Colonial North America
The study asserts that the American history was known to have slavery, since the 1560s in Spanish Florida but many historians considered that American slavery began in 1619 with the sale of twenty Negroes by the Dutch captain to Jamestown, Virginia (2013). A few years later, the Dutch brought slaves to New York that was dependent on the slave labor than in any other place in North America. Since then, slavery began to expand on the American continent and its colonies. Although there are complex and diverse attitudes to slavery, it remains the practice of selling human beings who were sold and purchased, regardless of their children, and other family members. Slaves were treated as salable property, and they were the victims of a dehumanizing regime that existed for many years in America. They experienced daily exploitation and had no human rights that could empower them to think about a better future or to create a personal order of their lives.
Two-thirds of the North American slavery took place before the American Revolution but it is wrong to consider that slavery was connected with cotton plantations. In the North, slaves worked in agriculture and different industries. They were used to work in harvesting grain and corn, farming, and so on. However, by the beginning of America’s War for Independence, Virginia was the territory that was widely populated by slaves who represented every fourth citizen of the state. Richmond and Baltimore, as big urban areas, used slaves in mining, shipbuilding, and iron manufacture. The American textile industry was developed on slave labor that spread from South Carolina and Georgia to Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana. By the beginning of the eighteenth century, slaves in New York were working in different works, such as carpentry, building roads, stoneworking, shoemaking, and many others. Household servers became rather popular among white rich people, and many white families owned black slaves. Blacks lived in back rooms, alley shacks, attics, and lofts, and cooked meals cared for children, and made housecleaning. In the North, black slaves often worked alongside white workers who were familiar with them.
American Slavery and Racism
In the time of slavery, the whites had extraordinary privileges over black and made the lives of their white owners enjoyable. The whites considered themselves as a large free class, while slaves who were mostly black and had different skin color were supposed to be obedient to their owners, their wives, and children. This position of black people has gradually become the norm in American society. All people of African ancestry were treated as Negroes, which was a division into whites and blacks, or into free and enslaved people. This division into black and white has become the basis for racism that is observed even today, in spite of the long struggle of blacks to receive equal rights with whites. Some researchers assume that slavery and racism have become the basis for American freedom and democracy that were developed on the surface of these two concepts.
Virginia that was the main state that exploited slaves in its plantations has produced the thinkers who wrote the Declaration for Independence and promoted the ideas of freedom and democracy. Thus, racism and slavery were the starting points on the way to democracy, equal rights, and the abolishment of slavery. Racism became an essential ideology of the Republicans who led the country back then. Therefore, racism was developed on the basis of slavery, where blacks could be purchased and sold, and most of them were treated as chattels by their owners. American racism had very much in common with slavery, and there are often instances of racism today.
Outcomes of the Slave Regime
Slavery was the time in the American history that had deep roots with European slavery system. However, American slavery had its own national flavor that differs from slavery that existed in England, France, Netherlands, and Italy. Remarkably, some American slave owners treated them better than those in Europe, especially those who worked as servants in white houses. However, slaves were not satisfied with their position, and they made rebel groups killing whites, burning their houses and plantations. As a rule, these uprising failed because many slaves were protecting their masters and did not support the anti-slavery movements. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the un-slavery movement occurred in many American countries. For example, Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and some others declared independence from their colonization from Spain, Portugal, and France. Although there were no restrictions in the slave trade from Africa, by 1825, the United States outlawed their slave trade. Step by step, slavery became illegal in some states, such as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and Main.
American slavery had many proponents among white people who struggled for their freedom from landowners. However, when slaves became free, they continued to struggle for their rights that considerably differed from the whites’. Their relations with white people were extremely complex and contradictory. Nowadays, African Americans have gained considerable success in their long struggle for independence and equality with whites. Although they have achieved freedom from slavery, their humiliating position in society remained for many years since then.
Slavery was brought to America by European colonization, and it existed in the USA as a new institution that differed from European slavery, having its own features. Slave discharged many roles and played an important role in the development of freedom and democracy. Slavery was absolutely inhuman because they were used as a free labor force that can be sold or purchased. American slavery is an interesting subject to study and to explore in order to understand the nation’s history and its development. Slavery gave birth to the racism that was difficult to extirpate, and what is the result of confrontation among black and white till nowadays.