Summary Of Ronald Takaki's A Different Mirror

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Introduction In Ronald Takaki’s book, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Takaki argues that despite the first slave codes emerged in the 1660’s, de facto slavery had already existed and provides evidence to support this claim. While he provides a range of data, these facts can be categorized in three groups: racial, economic, and historical. These groups served as precursors to what eventually led to slavery codes to be enacted and the beginning of one of the darkest chapters in American History. Racial To the English, Africans represented the embodiment of sin. They saw their dark complexion to represent evil, this is due to their belief that the color black represents negative images; the English’s white skin signifies …show more content…

Virginian landowners did not see the need to incorporate slavery nor wanted to participate in the practices that occurred in the West Indies since most of the Virginians were individuals who wanted to settle in Virginia with their families, rather than the businessmen who would return to England like it was in the Caribbean (Takaki 52). Eventually, due to the boom of tobacco as a commodity and the potential of its production overseas, more servants were needed to provide for the demand of labor. Some estates valued their indentured blacks more than their white counterparts, Takaki provides documents showing a landowner’s inventory and the differences in their production in comparison between black and white servants; this fluctuation can be attributed to blacks becoming indentured for significantly longer periods then those white servants from Ireland (Takaki 55-56). Because of the lack of regulation with indentured servants and the disenfranchisement of blacks, the trend began to shift from blacks indentured for life to selling blacks as property; during this period of time, wealthy landowners gained control of Virginian Assembly and pushed any ordinance that would benefit their business’s (Takaki 58). Seeing that unpaid labor was significantly more profitable than …show more content…

What ultimately led to the shift from white servants to black slaves was a series of uprisings. As the tobacco boom and the shortage of labor continued, Virginian landowners pushed legislation that would indenture servants for longer periods of time, these provisions were met with backlash and as a result, the colonies saw an influx of indentured servant rebellions. The largest of these rebellions was Bacon’s rebellion; since many of the whites who came to America as indentured servants had aspirations to becoming landowners themselves after their contracts expired, by the landowners extending it and making it more difficult for them to exit their service, in a way, they felt they were being duped by false promises (Takaki 58). Nathaniel Bacon led this rebellion and resulted in whites and blacks to take arms and rise against landowners in what would be the largest uprising until the American Revolution (Takaki 60). One of the concerns raised as a result of this rebellion is that whites were legally able to obtain while blacks could not. To counter this, the landowners began to phase out the usage of white servants and substituting them with black slaves since blacks did not have the rights to purchase guns, the landowners changed the culture of labor to be

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