Slavery in Colonial America

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Slavery has been a significant issue in the United States from the colonial period to date as its legacy still lingers within the American civilizations. Slavery played a critical role in the development of the American economy especially during the colonial period. The white colonialists used blacks as slaves especially in their farms to provide labor (Blum 302). For instance, the Chesapeake tobacco industries thrived on the unbearable acts of slavery.

Since the Chesapeake colonies in Maryland and Virginia were occupied during the earlier stages of the 17th century, it seemed hard to live for the colonists who arrived there first as they had a scarcity of labor as well as were continuously attacked by the Native Americans (Charlton 44). The efforts to use the Native Americans as slavery by the colonists failed to prompt them to start importing slaves from South America with the hope of staying longer and be more controllable to manage (Blum 310). Slave development in the colonial period subjected and forced the blacks to work denying them their rights but has been of significance as it shaped the American society socially, politically and economically as portrayed by its legacies today.

Experience of Slavery in American Society

In the 17th century, white colonists purchased and sold the labor of both white and black servants. However, afterward, the enslaving of African Americans became more financially feasible as compared to dealing with whites as their terms of service was short (5-7 years) leading to phasing out of the white slavery (Oast 868).

With the system proving to be profitable, the law and legal model started to leave the future administrations freedom to prioritize the economy over morality. Grant (159) asserts that African slaves were subjected to hard labor for long periods in the plantation fields, misery and poor working conditions by their slave masters. Besides, they were denied fundamental human rights and were exposed to mandatory punishments. Moreover, the existing law provided that slaves should be made poor therefore their pay was not sufficient to enable them to live a decent life (Blum 315).

However, during the foundation of America after independence, the founding fathers did not include slavery in the American Constitution. This omission resulted in the continuity of oppression and segregation even after independence. This prompted to the start of the Civil War because the white Americans unfairly treated the Black Americans especially at places of work (Grant 160). A good example is the introduction of the Jim Crow laws which were based on discrimination and segregation of the blacks.

However, through the struggles especially through demonstrations regarding the fight for justice and equality, several amendments have been made to the American Constitution regarding the rights of the black Americans within the United States (Charlton 49). These amendments, however, have recognized the Black Americans as well as freed them to take part in some of the national activities that they were initially denied. For instance, Black Americans were not entitled to view or participate in elections, but currently, they have a right to vote like other Americans. However, despite these advancements, the legacies regarding slavery are still in existence within the American civilizations (Oast 876).

The Legacy of Slavery in America

Despite the official abolishment of slavery in 1865 by the 13th Amendment in all American states, it took more than six decades for the African Americans to enjoy the same treatment as the whites as they were suffering unfairly and often subjected to hostility in public places especially in education (Berlin 1253). The 13th Amendment did not stop slavery as it turned out into terrorism and violence for decades and lynching of the black people and people of color. For instance, Myers (201) claims that a large number of individuals were brutalized and even burnt alive in courthouse squares. Even during the Civil Rights period, Africans were denied the right to participate in elections due to their color while the African kids would not school with white kids in same institutions due their being black. Besides, the millions of black Americans were denied compensation of their descendants exploitation and subjugation. This led to a massive wealth gap between white and black Americans (Loury 38).

Moreover, Coates (56) asserts that the existence of some of the harsh treatment of blacks in the United States demonstrates the legacy of slavery in the country. For instance, the statements from the political leaders within the United States have been showing these legacies meaning that slavery is still within the American society and thus, the majority of the black Americans are not yet free from segregation and slavery. For example, the policy to separate children by the current US President Trump and families is a clear indication of Americas legacy of slavery (Berlin 1264).


To sum up, the Slave development in the colonial period subjected and forced the blacks to work denying them their rights but has been of significance as it shaped the American society socially, politically and economically as portrayed by its legacies today. However, despite the implementation of various amendments especially the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery, the act is still within the United States as it is portrayed by its leaders as well as treatment of the blacks in America thus revealing its legacy. 

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Slavery in Colonial America. (2019, May 14). Retrieved June 23, 2024 , from

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