Slavery is a huge part of the American history. Colonist first started out enslaving Native Americans. The problem with enslaving Native Americans was that they knew the area very well to which they could escape. At the same time, they also relied on indentured servants from Europe. A lot of poor Europeans wanted to come to the colonies for a new opportunity. Since they were too poor to buy their way to the colonies, they will sell their labor in exchange for the trip. They will work for an amount of time, then they will be released with land and money to survive in the colonies. Since there were frequent ships going back and forth between Europe and the colonies, peoples comments about the colonies are being brought back to Europe.
Comments about indentured servants being mistreated got brought back to Europe. This caused people in Europe to be scared to work in the colonies. Africans were later introduced to the colonies for sale. They were seen as a cheaper and better option compared to indentured servants and Native Americans. African slaves later became the norm in the South. Despite the fact that colonist could enslave Native Americans and European indentured servants, Africans were economically, politically, and culturally beneficial for the southern society.
Slaves were essential for the southern economy to thrive during the 1800s. They needed the slaves to work on the farms. The South needs to keep up with the demand of rice and cotton to supply the North. The price of cotton and rice was kept down low to beat out the competition by other southern farmers. If an indentured servant was to work on the farms, the price to sell the cotton would be a lot higher to compensate the cost of the indentured servant. Cotton gin played a huge role in the slave trade during this time. With the invention of cotton gin, more farmers wanted to be in the cotton business.
This also means that the demand for slaves increased dramatically. Congress tries to ban slave trade in 1808 with the Abolition Act. Despite Congress put the act into effect, it didnt stop slave trading in the South. Southerners would smuggle slaves into the country and sold them in their own flea market. By selling it at their own flea market, it will not be detected by the marshals. Another way slaves were continued being trade was by breeding slaves. Slave owners will encourage sexual intercourse between slaves. Their offspring will be sold to another farmer.
By smuggling and breeding more slaves, the South gain a lot more political power in the government. With the three-fifths compromise being in effect, the South out populated the North with the huge amounts of African slaves. In the 1850s, pro slave legislators were powerful in all branches of the government.
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