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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Even though they were European, indentured servants were not treated as fellow European workers, but as slaves; these indentured servants weren’t seen by the RAC as people, but as tools. “Any workman within an enterprise such as the Russian-American Company amounted to something like one slat in a water wheel. Laboring in a circle, a damp one at that” (Doig 165, 1982). The working conditions were brutal, according to historians Steven Hahn and S.B. Okun. In Jamestown, indentured servants were viewed as property, and could be bought and sold at a moment’s notice.
In the southern colonies, The Virginia Statutes establish laws pertaining to slaveholders control over their slaves or servants. One of the first instances of this is in Act XXII of 1660. This act was establishing the punishment for english servants running away with negroes. It stated “Bee it enacted that the English so running away in company with them shall serve for the time of the
Throughout the development of the colonies in America, slave trade grew to be a significant source of labor in primarily southern plantations within the late seventeenth to eighteenth centuries. During the era, with slaves being condemned to be considered socially inferior by law, and the increase in demand of goods such as rice and indigo, the slave labor force became a notable source for southern plantations in the eighteenth century. Slaves and people of color had always been considered to be socially inferior even before the colonies existed. With a sense of paternalism in Great Britain, people have always believed that those considered slaves,or servants rather, were second class citizens, and these people needed to be suppressed for their own best interests.
During the early 1800’s, President Thomas Jefferson effectively doubled the size of the United States under the Louisiana Purchase. This set the way for Westward expansion, alongside an increase in industrialism and overall economic growth. In fact, many citizens were able to thrive and make a better living in the agricultural business than anywhere else. All seemed to be going well in this new and ever expanding country, except for one underlying issue; slavery. Many African Americans were treated as the lowest of the classes, even indistinguishable from livestock.
Firstly, the owners of land ownership in the southern colonies rapidly pooled their land, forming a large-scale farms, which, respectively, required much more labor. Second, the price of tobacco, the main crop of the South, in the 1660s fell and remained at a low level, forcing all the planters to sell cheaper. Third, as population growth in England and at the same time reduced to improve living conditions, the number of people who wanted to go to America as indentured workers, reduced - thus the number Servent also declined. Fourth, the laws of Virginia and other colonies were aimed at the worsening situation of black workers and ultimately led to legitimize the system of slave labor. Although theoretically black workers were free men, in fact, they had to put up with infringement of their civil, legal and property rights.
Indentured servitude set the foundation for slavery in the early colonies. Indentured servants would provide free labor for a certain number of years and in the end were rewarded with an area of land. When this became too difficult to provide land, slavery was born. Although morally unethically, the colonist’s economy improved when indentured servitude transitioned into slavery of Africans through Bacon’s Rebellion, triangle trade, and laws allowing mistreatment of slaves as property. Bacon’s Rebellion was the turning point in indentured servitude.
Primary Source Analysis During the 1600’s, many Africans were being shipped from Africa into the Colonies so that they could be used for the production of difficulty harvested crops like tobacco, sugarcane,and cotton. The use of slaves helped plantation owners become wealthy quickly, and it led to more and more slaves being brought to the colonies until there were more Africans than there were Europeans. This worried many slave owners and led the creation of black codes. The General Assembly in Virginia created “An Act Concerning Servants and Slaves” in October of 1705 to establish new laws regarding slaves and indentured servants.
The beginning of the 17th Century marked the practice of slavery which continued till next 250 years by the colonies and states in America. Slaves, mostly from Africa, worked in the production of tobacco and cotton crops. Later , they were employed or ‘enslaved’ by the whites as for the job of care takers of their houses. The practice of slavery also led the beginning of racism among the people of America. The blacks were restricted for all the basic and legally privileged rights.
By using this reference, it illustrated the severity of the alienation of blacks in the Southern United States. In 1619, a Dutch ship “introduced the first captured Africans to America, planting the seeds of a slavery system that evolved into a nightmare of abuse and cruelty that would ultimately divide the nation”. The Africans were not treated humanely, but were treated as workers with no rights. Originally, they were to work for poor white families for seven years and receive land and freedom in return. As the colonies prospered, the colonists did not want to give up their workers and in 1641, slavery was legalized.
Ronald Takaki a renowned pioneer in the field of ethnic studies has over the years authored numerous books on diversity in American society. As a grandson of Japanese immigrants who became the first black studies professor at UCLA, Takaki for many years has continually tried to bridge cultures and ethnic groups in the United States. In his book “A different mirror: A history of multicultural America”, Takaki addresses the idea of multiculturalism in our society, and also talks about how for many years we have been told to acknowledge the notions that the core principles of our nation uprooted only from one group rather than a contribution from other various cultures as well. The ‘master narrative’ posed by Takaki describes the growing
The Virginia colony intended to reproduce into an English society when they settled. With tobacco becoming a huge crop in Virginia, they invested heavily in servants to help with the plantations, “Our principal wealth…. consisteth in servants.” (Takaki 53). Whites
The process of black slavery taking route in colonial Virginia was slow. Black slavery mostly became dominant in the 1680s. Slaves became the main labor system on plantations. The amount of white indentured servants declined so the demand for black slaves became necessary in the mid-1660s. The number of white indentured servants that Virginia had up until the mid 1660s, was enough to meet white peoples labor needs.
In the 1700-1800’s, the use of African American slaves for backbreaking, unpaid work was at its prime. Despite the terrible conditions that slaves were forced to deal with, slave owners managed to convince themselves and others that it was not the abhorrent work it was thought to be. However, in the mid-1800’s, Northern and southern Americans were becoming more aware of the trauma that slaves were facing in the South. Soon, an abolitionist group began in protest, but still people doubted and questioned it.
Reader Response of Chapter 2 of A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki In the book, A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America, Ronald Takaki gives an anecdote about how the lives of both the Indians and the Irish were dramatically destroyed and how they were even almost extinct because of the violent and corrupted acts of the English. Moreover, the English expansion led to the “making of an English-American identity based on race” (Takaki 26). Furthermore, the Irish were the first people to be considered as savages. The English felt as if the Irish did not have any respectful manners or obedience to God.
After Bacon’s Rebellion, indentured servitude was no longer an option given to black people. Due to a new set of laws called slave codes, freedom and equity became almost