America Plantation Economy

682 Words3 Pages

In America, we generally believe that our country’s political system is one of democracy, but there are various times we see that business and economics also play a huge part in our society.If we even go back to the beginnings of our country and look at England, which also had a huge impact in the development of our political system, we can see that the emergence of a very capitalist society. Through close analysis of the economics of early plantations and manufacturing work, one can go about understanding the mindset and conditions of those individuals who were apart of the creation of the economy we have today. Through the article “The Hoe, the Plow, and the Whip: Gang Labor-Agricultural Improvement in Plantation Economies” by Lorena …show more content…

During this time, the colonies built by Europeans in the Americas needed African slave labor to utilize and yield the most from the abundant land available (Dodson). Not only does Walsh explain the system used in North America (including the islands), but also the differences and similarities from the older British ways to the newer techniques used in North America. At the time, the agricultural systems put in place were used mainly on fields used to produced sugar, tobacco, and cotton (Walsh 1). Throughout the article the gang system and hoe culture , in particular, is described, with plantations relying heavily upon it. The ganging and hoeing were used for more efficiency in the production of crops and to yield the most results. It made workers seem machine like as they worked in a synchronized operation. Not only did this system work like an assembly line, but it ensured that an individual or group not working up to par with the rest could easily be spotted. One plantation worker, Landon Carter, in his diary, wrote of a situation in which one gang was not was slacking and he put them to …show more content…

He stated to these slaves “and every fellow that does not work as much as the Mangorike fellows..shall be whipt to it”(Walsh 9). From what I gathered while reading this piece, the British system was composed of both enslaved Africans and white indentured servants. But as the years went by, in the Americas many began to use fewer whites. It was easier for plantations to use Africans as they could be pushed and had no rights that had to be protected (Walsh 4-5). Plantations became so mechanical as work was done so fast and well paced that these people were seen as “human-hoeing machines”(Walsh 1). As a result of “highest gross returns (constant value) yet realized from major cash crops between 1790 and 1818” the slaves were directly impacted as “when high profits could be attained from regional staples bound labor was pushed harder”(Walsh 16). With this slaves were given fewer breaks and more work. As the years progress, some smaller plantations with a variety of crops decided to use ganging in some but not all aspects of their work. One reason is the

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