The place we are in today is because of our history and past events, even one change in history’s course could have the biggest effect. Many things led up to slavery in the United States but what Africans were never taken to the US in the first place? America today would be much different from we know it, the transformation would have started back before the 1700s. If slavery had never happened and African people had never come to the United States, there would be major changes in the economy, laws, education, population, agriculture, and changes to the Civil War.
The America’s and many European countries all took part in the African slave trade, this was because there were not enough natives to do the labor and servant work that was needed on plantations. For slave owners, this was free labor and that is what started the importation of over 3 million slaves into the United States. Edward Baptist argues in his book The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism that slaves were the reason that the United States established such world economic power, stating ‘Slavery continues to have an impact on America in the most basic economic sense.
” During the 1830s and 1840s cotton was amongst the world’s largest goods and assets, slavery allowed the production of cotton to be little to no cost to plantation owners which resulted in cheaper but higher quality cotton to buyers. This was a major boom in America’s economic state, the labor was free and the cotton business was booming. In an article Why WasCotton Link? by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. he says ‘the invention of the cotton gin greatly increased the productivity of cotton harvesting by slaves.
This resulted in dramatically higher profits for planters, which in turn led to a seemingly insatiable increase in the demand for more slaves, in a savage, brutal and vicious cycle.” Since cotton was the leading export in America from 1803 to 1937, plantation owners depended on African slaves for labor. If we rewind time and there was no such thing as slavery, our economic system would have been drastically different. Slavery grew both the British and American economy, cotton shifted business from agricultural gain to industrial, first happening in cotton textile factories. This changed many factors, from the cotton business growing to how the world was making clothing. What made all of this possible was cheap cotton, which was delivered to people by slaves in the south. Baptist writes in his book that by 1820 cotton accounted for 42% of all the values of US exports, and it contained to grow through the years. Without slaves, there would not be nearly as many workers on these plantations which would have resulted in far less income than we save throughout the 1800s. The plantation owners would have had to hire locals and pay them fairly, this would’ve made the labor much more costly than it was and cotton wouldn’t have been able to be as cheap as it was, lessening the sales and income from cotton trade. This change would’ve affected the US as we know it today and our economic system wouldn’t have been able to be as strong as it was and is today.
From the beginning of slavery in the United States laws against slaves started to be in regulation, mainly for the slave owners advantage and to keep slaves from having freedom and rights. From the timeline of The History of Slavery published by Thirteen/PBS, there are over 70 laws between the years 1700-1877. Starting from certain states just making slavery legal in 1700 to slavery being abolished by the 13th amendment in 1865. Every law was made for a specific reason which changed the treatment of Africans in America. In 1705 Virginia lawmakers passed the Virginia Slave Code in that, defined all slaves as ‘real estate”, allowed owners to bequeath their slaves, which allowed them to ‘kill and destroy” runaway slaves, forbid any colored people or free slaves from assaulting any white person, and denied slaves the right to bear arms or move abroad without any permission. In 1712 New York forbids freed blacks, Indians, and mulatto slaves from owning real estate and holding property, this later passes in many other states. Later in 1740 South Carolina passes the comprehensive Negro Act, making it illegal for slaves to move abroad, assemble in groups, raise food, earn money, and learn to read English. Owners are permitted to kill rebellious slaves if necessary
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