HIST D017A Virginia Laws Gove

Exam #1  (Brief Essay) is due here by the deadline, above.

Make sure to read all instructions, below, to do well.

Late penalty: — Minus 1 point for every 1 minute late, to be fair to students who turn in their work on time.

(There is a 10 minute grace period, but plan to upload your work well before the deadline.)

Exam #1  (Brief Essay)  is worth 100 points.  

Use only  .pdf  or .docx  files.  NO links.  Unreadable or incorrect file or location = 0/F.

LOCATION TO UPLOAD WORK is at the END of this page: — You must submit/upload Exam #1 (Brief Essay), ON THIS PAGE in Canvas, using Turnitin INSIDE Canvas.  

Important:  —  Do NOT use the “outside” version of Turnitin (outside of Canvas), as that will result in 0/F.  

Instructions for completing the Brief Essay are further down in this module, below. Please also see the Study Guide which is in Files in Canvas. 

Academic Integrity — College Policy: — YOU MUST do YOUR OWN WORK.  This requirement to do your own work is on the syllabus and is part of the De Anza College academic integrity policy and is in place to make the process fair to students doing their own work. — You may use a very small amount of quotations  — with quotation marks and citations — very sparingly. If a large part of your submission is copied and/or quoted material, indicating you cut and pasted, and have NOT done your own work, then that is a 0/F on the assignment. MOST of the BRIEF ESSAY assignment MUST BE IN YOUR OWN WORDS to receive credit. Do NOT copy from a book, article, website, or any other source, or from other persons; doing so, or allowing others to do so, will result in a 0/F on the Short Answer.

Technology: — Students are responsible for ensuring that they are using the most recent version of their internet browser and have other technology prepared and working within Canvas before uploading their paper. To practice uploading a paper using Turnitin within Canvas: >>  “Help” in Black Left menu in Canvas,  >>  Canvas Resource Libraryfor Students,  >>  Sample Canvas Course,  >>  click on “Go to the Course,”  >>  Assignments,  >>  Turnitin Assignment.

Digital Receipt Printout — Print this for yourself to ensure that you have evidence of uploading your paper. This Digital Receipt can be printed immediately after uploading the paper into the Canvas assignment (using Turnitin INSIDE Canvas). The Digital Receipt can also be printed from the student’s Assignment or Exam page in Canvas, by clicking on the specific Assignment / Exam, and then look under “Options” or click on the small icon on the far right side of that page (hover over the icon to see “Digital Receipt”) and then download and print a receipt. Students are also responsible for making sure that there is evidence of their submission date and time on that student Assignment / Exam page.



Write a paper on the topic, below, between 2 and 3 typed pages, double spaced.

Please stick to the page limit of 3 pages. 

This limit is to help students write a focused paper.

Assignment Topic:

Make an argument about the extent to which the “Virginia Laws Governing Servants and Slaves” (1600s) (in Handout Set in Files in Canvas) reveal how masters were dominant over their white indentured servants and black slaves in the effort to profit from the economic system in colonial America and also indicate whether rebellions by servants and slaves were successful or not, or only partially successful. 

— Support your argument with evidence by using 3 different and specific examples from the Virginia Laws document in your own words.

— In addition, use specific definitions of at least these 3 terms in your own words to support your argument in your essay:  indentured servant, slave (or slave labor system), and Stono Rebellion, based on information from The American Promise textbook.  (You can use more terms, but you must use those 3.)

— Use citations (state source and page number) for evidence from the document and the terms. See Quoting and Citing section, further down, below for examples and format. You must use citations with source and page number for each piece of evidence.  You don’t need to use quotes, although brief quotes are fine, but you do need to use citations. Most of the paper MUST be in your own words, using your own analysis.

— Also briefly state in your introduction and restate in your conclusion why this history is significant or still important today.

Follow the basic structure of a college-level essay, with:

— an introduction paragraph containing: — a main argument sentence (answering the assignment topic, above), a 2nd supporting sentence, and a 3rd sentence in which you briefly state why the history is significant or still important today (why does the history matter?);

— at least two body paragraphs providing analysis, in your own words, of the evidence from the required 3 document examples and 3 terms, using the evidence to support your main argument. — Make sure you have a topic sentence (main point) for each of your paragraphs. Your other sentences will be supporting sentences providing the evidence to support your main point in a paragraph.

— a conclusion paragraph with at least three sentences, one of which restates your main argument, a 2nd sentence which is a supporting sentence, and a 3rd sentence which briefly restates why the history is significant (or still important today).

Each paragraph needs to have at least 3 sentences, which is standard for college-level and professional work. Of course you can have more sentences (and more paragraphs), but stick to the page limit of 3 pages.






— Put Your Full Name (& Nickname) at very TOP of your first page.

— Under your name, put:  Course #, Section #, and Date (with Year).

— Double-space your papers.   (NOT 1.5).   DOUBLE – SPACE.

— 1-inch margins on all sides: — right, left, top, bottom.

— Use only .pdf or .docx  files.  NO links. Unreadable or incorrect file or location = 0/F.

— 3 pages MAX.   (To grade all students on same amount of work.)

— Page limit is also to prevent rambling and to help focus the paper.

— Standard readable 12 point black font.   (NOT 11, NOT 10). 

— Put Page Numbers (for the paper) in top right corners of each page.

— Use in-text citations WITHIN the paper to cite your sources.

— See Quoting and Citing, in section, below.

Put in black bold font the names of your documents, terms, and film in your paper — ONLY bold in black the names of the evidence (name of document or author, name of terms), NOT the sentence. This will help you to make sure that you have everything, and it also helps me to see the evidence in your typed paper, and to grade faster, and get the grades in more quickly.

— How to Double Space: — If you are using Word, then, in the Menu at top of screen, click on “Format,” and then click on Paragraph, and then when the box appears, under Indents and Line Spacing, look for Spacing, and then set Line Spacing to “Double.”    (NOT 1.5).    DOUBLE.    For Double-spaced.  And then click on “OK.”  (You may need to highlight your selection of text in document.) — If using another word processing program, then search on the internet for the instructions “how to double space” (and add the name of your word processing program, or Google Docs, or whatever you are using), and you will find out how to do it.  

— How to Insert Page Numbers:  — If you have Word, then, in the Menu at top of screen, click on “Insert,” and then scroll to Page Numbers, and click on that. Then, when the box appears, under “Position,” select “Top of Page (Header),” and under “Alignment,” select “Right.”  And then, click on “OK.” — If using another word processing program, then search on the internet for the instructions “how to insert page numbers” (and add the name of your word processing program, or Google Docs, or whatever you are using), and you will find out how to do it. 

— It is hard to grade papers and write comments (especially in Canvas, but also on regular paper) when students don’t double-space and don’t put page numbers. Double-spacing is easier to read and allows instructors to insert comments between lines and more easily keep track of points.  Page numbers allow instructors to refer back to other points or issues in a student paper and provide better feedback and also to keep track of where they are in grading your paper and thus get the grades recorded more quickly in Canvas so students can see their grades. Standard 12 point font helps your professor to read papers more easily, especially when grading hundreds of papers per year.

— In addition, at the university level and in the professional world, papers are double-spaced and have page numbers in top right corners, and have standard 12 point font, so students need to learn and practice this format for future success. 

The rest of the Paper Instructions are below. 




— The PAPER assignment is 3 pages MAX.  It is fine to go over just a little (1 or 2 lines) on a 4th page. It is also fine for the paper to be 2 pages, as long as you fully answer the specific assignment.  The goal is quality of analysis, and NOT quantity.  The page limit is to prevent rambling.  Your paragraphs must NOT be longer than 3/4 of a page, or 1 page at most. If you are going longer than that, it will be necessary to create a new paragraph. You can have more paragraphs in your paper. The assignment is a guide for the minimum number of paragraphs, but stick to the 3 pages MAX, to avoid losing points. The goal is to have all students graded on the same amount of material. Avoid listing everything you know about the topic; that is NOT the assignment. Instead, answer the specific assignment and write a focused paper with a clear main argument supported by the required evidence (specific examples from the document and terms, based on the assigned reading).  Clearly focus your analysis of how the evidence supports your main argument. Read your paper out loud to yourself to see if it is convincing to your audience. Pretend you are a lawyer in the courtroom and you are trying to convince the jury.

— Make sure to use a topic sentence for each paragraph. A topic sentence states the main point of your paragraph, so that the reader knows what your paragraph is about and what it is trying to prove. All of your topic sentences (one for each paragraph) need to work together to support the main argument of your entire paper.  In your Intro. paragraph, the topic sentence of course will be the main argument sentence (thesis statement) for your entire paper, answering the assignment.

— Written analysis grading standards are summarized on p.  3 of the syllabus, under “Grading Scale” and are also listed in more detail here:  In essay format, make a specific and clear main argument which answers the assignment, fully complete the assignment using specific required evidence which supports your main argument, and use college-level writing and historical analysis.




Page numbers with citation of sources will be required in the paper. Due to Covid-19 upheavals, quotations will NOT be required for this paper, although you can use short quotations if you would like to. — However, do NOT use long quotes for your examples, or you will lose points; this policy is to avoid the issue of students cutting and pasting from the web or other sources and NOT doing their own work. Most of the examples need to be in your own words (and NOT quoted material) to show your understanding of the material. In addition, ALL of the analysis needs to be in your own words. Therefore, MOST of THE PAPER MUST BE IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Do NOT copy or commit plagiarism from any book, article, website, or other source, or another person, or allow others to do so; doing any of those things will result in a 0/F on the paper. All students MUST do their own work.

You must cite page numbers for your evidence examples in your paper (for document and terms).


Cite like this at the END of your sentence:  

For the Textbook:

(Roark, The American Promise, p. 176).

For the Documents book:

(Johnson, ed., Reading the American Past, p. 23).

For the Handout Set:

(in Handout Set, p. 8).

For a Film:

(put the name of the film in the citation).




——-  NOTE:    Please cut and paste the links into your browser if they don’t work

— How to Avoid Plagiarism / How to Paraphrase / General Writing Help

— How to Quote a Source  /  How to Introduce Quotes, etc.: 

https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/assignments/quotingsources/ (Links to an external site.)

The website, above, is from the University of Wisconsin Writing Center.

— Chicago Manual of Style

(but use in-text citations, per examples above): 






copyrighted material




The history of English colonies in the south, beginning with Virginia in the 1600s, reveal contradictory developments that have shaped American politics, economics, and society into the present century. On the one hand, the rise of the House of Burgesses and other forms of representative government in the colonial period would, over time, lead to political challenges by supporters of revolution during the 1700s. Yet, the use of a race-based system of slavery and extreme class divisions in the south would make it difficult for all groups to participate in revolution, especially since the labor systems of white indentured servitude and black slavery remained in place for centuries. On the other hand, rebellions did occur, signifying efforts at social change in the American colonies, despite the dominance of wealthy planters in the region of the southern colonies. However, the roots of much conflict over race, gender, and class in the U.S., today, are quite visible in the history of the southern region of English colonial settlement of the 1600s. The South, largely due to the impact of slavery as a defining feature of its historical existence, has continued to struggle with the legacy of white supremacy in more extreme ways than other parts of the country which also face difficult legacies.




To fully understand English migration to the New World and establishment of its settled colonies in the New World, it is important to understand the economic goals and economic upheaval occurring in England.

In contrast to the the royalty in England — Queen Elizabeth from 1558 to 1603, and King James I from 1603 to 1625 — most English people were common field workers in agriculture.

As the population in England (and the rest of Europe) multiplied, in part due to new and nutritious crops from the Americas, the continent of Europe began to feel crowded. The number of workers increased and many were unemployed. England (and the rest of Europe) looked for a place to export the poor and jobless, to work the land for wealthy planters in North America.

Thus, the founding of the first English colony in Virginia was based on the effort to profit from New World resources and to find a place for the expanding population of England.

Roanoke colony (term) — failed in the 1580s (on the coast of the area known today of North Carolina), but the English had discovered an opening to the great Chesapeake Bay (term) (named after the native Chesapeake peoples there), and the English began to explore the area (see map in textbook). (Note: Virginia and Maryland = Chesapeake colonies because they both border the Chesapeake Bay.)

Virginia (founded 1607) — first permanent or successful English colony in North America, and Jamestown became the first town in Virginia, on the river James, named after King James I.

The Virginia Company (term) sponsored this first English colony. The Virginia Company was a joint stock company (term), where investors pooled their money jointly to raise funds for colonization. Was an early form of capitalism, or merchant capitalism, where wealth was privately owned.

However, the Virginia Company failed, due to the high costs of the venture (as in venture capitalists), and there was also corruption.

Virginia became a royal colony (term), in 1624, ruled by the king through his appointed officials.

Originally, Jamestown, Virginia, was similar to the Spanish model of colonization discussed earlier in Week 2:

1 ) — Hierarchical authority, ultimately ruled by the king. There were leaders with military background, including Captain John Smith (term). However, he left in 1609 after arguments in the colony. Conditions: high death rate in early years — suffered from disease, failed to plant adequate crops; the English relied on corn from the native peoples in the area.

2 ) — All male originally. Some English women arrived later, but the gender ratio (term) (or percentage of men vs. women) in the colony would remain approximately only 1 woman for every 4 or 5 men, for much of the 1600s.

— Due to the shortage of white women, one of the first marriages was to a native woman in 1614 whose name you can probably guess . . . Pocahontas (term – from lecture notes). However, her actual history is very different from what has been portrayed in the Disney video that most college students have probably seen in their younger years. Pocahontas was actually captured or kidnapped by the English, and was then married to the Englishman John Rolfe, who then converted her to Christianity, and she died at a young age, after a voyage back to England, probably of a European disease to which she had no immunity. There were other native peoples as well who made the trip to Europe and then returned to America.

— Some native peoples were captured as slaves and taken back to the Old World and were never able to return to the Americas, as we have seen in the history of Columbus and his involvement in slave trading of Native Americans to make profit in the name of Spain. This type of slave trading of native peoples also occurred in the English colonies in the Americas.

3 ) — Labor and cash crops. When the English did not find gold in Virginia, which crop did they grow to make money? . . . tobacco (term), which was a crop native to the Americas. The English and others in the Old World were becoming addicted to tobacco, which led to the profit-making regarding this “cash crop.”

To make profit from tobacco, planters decided to obtain a labor force for planting in the fields.

Originally, it was very expensive to obtain black slaves from Africa, although eventually the English colonies would follow that Spanish pattern as well. However, in the beginnings of the English colony of Virginia, the English used a different labor system . . . .




With regard to the labor used to plant the cash crop of tobacco, the English originally used:

— white indentured servants (term), who were indentured (meaning contracted) to serve for a number of years — usually 4 to 7 years — to pay off the cost of the voyage across the Atlantic ocean from England to America.

Most of these indentured servants were poor young people with very few options, who could not afford an ocean voyage, so they signed a contract, agreeing to work for a number of years to pay for the cost of the voyage, with the hope of finding better opportunities in the New World, after they had finished the period of their indenture, or contract.

In the 1600s, there was no public education, and thus, there were very few ways to “work your way up,” so if you were born poor, you were probably going to stay poor, and die poor . . . . Thus, this situation was the reason why many people were willing to take their chances by signing an indenture contract to come to America.

However, what the poor people back in England did not know is that many indentured servants worked in harsh conditions in Virginia, and in the early years of the colony, many servants died from overwork and disease, before finishing their contracts. However, the survival rate improved later, although conditions were still harsh, and if servants survived, then they could hope to obtain land when finishing their contract. So, there was some opportunity.

DOCUMENT: — Richard Frethorne’s Letter as an Indentured Servant in Reading the American Past: — What does he say were the conditions in early Virginia? What was his life like as an indentured servant? What were the class divisions in the colonial south which were brought from England to America?

For those English settlers who started out with more resources in coming to America as planters, there was even more opportunity, as they obtained a headright (term), meaning 50 acres of land, for every servant they brought to America (which was a strategy England used to encourage settlement in the colonies). And thus, planters could become very wealthy. Even if their servants died and did not finish their contract, planters still received the headrights.




The demand for land to plant tobacco led to English encroachment on native people’s land during the 1600s.

Originally, Powhatan (term), a native chief in the Chesapeake area, had given corn to the English to help them survive in the early years. However, as conflicts occurred, the native people felt less willing to aid the newcomers.

DOCUMENT: — Powhatan’s Address (Speech) to John Smith in Handouts Set in Files in Canvas: — What did Powhatan say to Smith about the English arrival? What were Powhatan’s concerns? Which historical developments with regard to the impact on native peoples are revealed in this document?

Over time, as the English try to take over more land in Virginia, this leads to wars with Powhatan’s people, and later, under his brother who becomes chief, after Powhatan’s death.

These developments in the English colonies on the east coast of North America in Virginia were similar to events in the Spanish colonies in the American Southwest. There, the Pueblo Revolt of native peoples in 1680 (term) pushed the Spanish out for about 10 years, which is considered one of the largest native resistance movements in the Americas. However, later, the Spanish were able to re-conquer the area.




Despite the similarities between the English colonies and the Spanish colonies, there were some differences:

1 ) — Gender ratio: — Later, by the 1700s, as more white women arrive in the English colonies such as Virginia, the gender ratio would begin to balance out. In contrast, in the Spanish colonies, fewer white women arrived, so there tended to be more intermarriage between white Spanish men and native women, and thus, more mixed race peoples in the Spanish colonies, which is still the case today when comparing and contrasting Latin America and Anglo America. Yet, that is starting to change in Anglo America today in the 21st century, with more interracial marriage.

2 ) — Representative government: — The English settlers set up the House of Burgesses (term) in Virginia in 1619. A burgess meant a representative of a town. This development was considered the first form of representative government in the English colonies of North America, and this type of institution — a representative assembly, or legislature — would also emerge in the other 13 English colonies. Its origins stemmed from the English parliamentary tradition where rich landowners checked, or limited, the power of the king. In fact, despite King James I’s efforts to abolish the House of Burgesses in 1624, the Virginia colonists insisted on keeping it.

Yet, how “representative” was the House of Burgesses? For most of the 1600s and 1700s, one had to fit into certain categories in order to vote or be elected in Virginia and other English colonies: one had to be white, male, and own a certain amount of property (and in many cases also had to be a certain type of Christian).

So, from a 21st century perspective, it was not very representative in terms of the restrictions on who could vote or be elected.

However, for the 1600s, during a time when most people lived under the rule of kings, the House of Burgesses was an important inroad in the idea and practice of representative government, according to the definition of voting to elect someone to represent the voter in an elected government position, and other groups will argue for inclusion later.

Maryland, founded as a colony in 1634, would set up its own House of Delegates in 1635, and other colonies in both the North and South would follow the pattern of representative government in the English colonies.

The colony of Maryland was also originally created as a Catholic haven (term) during an era of religious conflict in England between Protestants and Catholics, although Protestants would eventually outnumber Catholics in Maryland. Yet, the idea of religious toleration, a pattern usually associated with the Northern colonies, can here also be seen in the South to some extent. However, in most colonies, there was an “official” church which colonists were expected to support.

The Anglican Church (term), or Protestant Church of England, would be the dominant church in Virginia for many decades, and we will come back to the issue of religion in Week 4.




In Virginia, in 1676, the pressures of the indentured servant system and class divisions in the colony eventually led to Bacon’s Rebellion (term). Poorer planters, led by Nathaniel Bacon, and former white indentured servants who were unable to obtain land rebelled against the wealthy planters, whom they viewed as corrupt and controlling the government for their own purposes and profit. Temporarily, the rebels were able to gain election to office and pass some reform measures, including giving the right to vote to all free men; however, these reforms were overturned after a series of violent conflicts between Bacon’s followers and the governor of Virginia and his followers. After Bacon’s death, the rebellion was crushed. (Note: Historical accounts report that some black slaves also participated in Bacon’s Rebellion.)

Many historians believe that the transition to the use of slavery instead of indentured servitude was influenced by wealthy planters’ frustration with Bacon’s Rebellion and by planters’ realization that they could, in the long term, profit more from the use of black slaves (even though slaves were initially more expensive to purchase), because slaves served for life and would thus result in more profit to the master over the decades, in contrast to contracting white indentured servants in the short term for a few years.

In addition, as the film this week explains, since the children of slave mothers automatically became slaves by law (according to laws passed in the Virginia colony), then planters were able to profit from that aspect of the system of slavery as well.

DOCUMENT: — “Virginia Laws Governing Servants and Slaves” in Handout Set in Files in Canvas — What did each of the 5 laws in this document state? And why do you think each law was passed? What do the laws reveal about race, class, and gender in the Virginia colony during the 1600s?

As the film this week explains, there were numerous Virginia laws regarding slaves and servants (more than the 5 in the document, above), and over time, the laws solidified the system of slavery and made it much more difficult for blacks to exist as free persons in Virginia, although there were some free blacks (term) and a few black indentured servants (and the textbook mentions both); however, these categories were rare, due to the Virginia laws and the “terrible transformation” to a slave system. The film this week examines these issues.

Over time, slavery would spread beyond Virginia to Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and eventually to Georgia, in all of the southern colonies of the English in North America. There was also some slavery in the northern colonies, but it was more rare in the North, since due to climate and soil, it was not a cash crop area to the extent that the South was.




Before discussing slavery further, it is important to cover some background on African civilizations and on European trade with Africa.

Europeans had already developed trade with African civilizations, long before the voyages of Columbus across the Atlantic in 1492. Many centuries earlier, Europeans were interested in the wealth of Africa, including its gold and other resources.

Africans developed complex civilizations, practiced agriculture, and studied various forms of knowledge, from the arts to the sciences, as did many Native Americans and Europeans.

A long history of overland trade and trade by ship between Europe and Africa resulted in European awareness of African kings and queens, such as . . .

, , , Mansa Musa (1280 – 1337), the ruler of Mali at the time, who was known as one of the richest men in the world during the Middle Ages in Europe. See his image in lower left corner of map, above.

Timbuktu: –You have probably heard of Timbuktu, but perhaps did not learn where it is located, in West Africa. It was an African center of learning, where a great library and university was located, and many scholars traveled to the area. At the university in Timbuktu, scholars studied subjects from law and religion to astronomy and mathematics.

From the ancient period in Egypt to the time of the Roman Empire, to the middle ages and into the modern era, Europeans gained knowledge from African and Arab cultures.

Prior to European extensive involvement in the Atlantic slave trade between Africa and the Americas, there had been other types of trade, including trade in knowledge as well as goods, between Africa and Europe.

European efforts to make profits from the Atlantic slave trade would lead to a changed emphasis in its relations with Africa.




To understand the origins of slavery in the English colonies of the Americas, it is helpful to look at a brief overview of slavery in world history to see the larger perspective on these historical events.

Many societies, unfortunately, have had forms of slavery in world history, on the various continents (from Europe, to Africa, to Asia, to some native societies in the Americas).

For example, prisoners of war from many different backgrounds were enslaved during the time of the Roman Empire, and you can probably think of some films which depict this situation from “Ben Hur” to “Spartacus” to “Gladiator.”

There were white slaves, and, in fact, the word “slave” in English comes from the fact that Slavic people were enslaved in the agricultural fields of the Mediterranean area.

Slavery also existed in a variety of forms in Africa, Asia, and among some native societies in the Americas.

The story of an individual African, Olaudah Equiano (term), who is mentioned in The American Promise textbook, as well as in the film for this week, helps to explain the impact of the historical development called the Atlantic slave trade.

Captured as a young boy in Africa, Equiano was taken by a European slave trading ship to the Americas, first to the Caribbean island colony of Barbados, and then to a tobacco plantation in Virginia, before being sold again to a British merchant ship where he learned to read and write.

Most masters did not allow their slaves to learn to read and write, so Equiano’s situation was highly unusual, but because he acquired these skills, he was able to later write his autobiography, which is one of the few firsthand eyewitness primary source accounts in written form that we have of slavery by a former slave.

Significantly, too, Equiano describes the specific characteristics of slavery which Africans experienced in the Americas during the European colonization of the New World, which led to certain historical developments throughout the Americas:

chattel slavery: = slaves treated as property

race-based slavery: — where white = free, and black = slave

In other parts of the world (Africa, Asia, Europe, and Native societies of the Americas), people had often enslaved people who looked the same as them. (Whites had enslaved whites, blacks had enslaved blacks, etc., although Romans had enslaved a variety of people in their empire, as had other rulers.)

However, during the European enslavement of Africans in the Americas, white people enslaved black people, and this situation led to a specific type of racism, which led to institutionalized forms of racial discrimination in the United States that still existed even after the legal end of slavery in 1865.




Question: So, why did the enslavement of Africans develop in the Americas? Why did Europeans forcibly bring African peoples in ships across the wide Atlantic Ocean which was very expensive, and especially when Europeans in some areas were already using Native Americans as slaves and using Europeans as indentured servants?


Many Native Americans were dying of Old World diseases.

Native peoples knew the territory and could run to other Native people to escape.

The number of Europeans willing to serve as indentured servants in the south was declining.

There were better opportunities for poor whites in some of the northern colonies.

It was easier to find runaway African slaves because they could not blend into the local population and did not know the territory, as they were far away from home.

Europeans targeted certain sections of the African coast to obtain and use Africans who already had specific agricultural skills. For example, in the case of South Carolina, Europeans involved in the slave trade purchased Africans as slaves from West Africa who were already skilled in rice planting and cattle tending, and rice and livestock then became two main export products of the colony of South Carolina in the colonial period.




Originally, Europeans brought Africans as slaves first to the Caribbean islands to plant sugar, as it was a very profitable crop.

Gradually, as the tobacco plantations in Virginia, and plantations in other colonies grew, on the mainland of North America, it then became more profitable for slave traders to bring more slaves by ship directly from Africa.

Hundreds of thousands of slaves were brought to the English colonies.

Scholars estimate that approximately 10 million or more Africans were forcibly brought as slaves to the Americas (to BOTH the North American and South American CONTINENTS combined), mainly from West Africa, from the 15th century (1400s) to the 19th century (1800s).

The percentages from certain locations in Africa and specific ethnicities historians can estimate based on ship records.

However, the individual knowledge of family roots and past history was often lost, as Africans were separated from family members during slave auctions. In addition, knowledge of the family language, religion, and culture were also lost.

This was part of the human toll of the slave trade, which we will come back to later in the lecture.

Today, with DNA, it has become more possible for many African Americans to trace their family roots in Africa to try to recover a lost heritage.




It is important to understand the network of the Atlantic slave trade and how all of the colonies, north and south, were enmeshed in it.

The “triangular trade” (term) is often used to describe the route taken by slave trading ships from Africa with slaves in the hold of the ship, to the Americas to trade for tobacco, rum, sugar, and other goods, and then next often a voyage was made to Europe, to possibly trade for manufactured goods, and then the ship sailed to Africa again to trade goods for more slaves, and the cycle, or rather the triangle, of the trade, continued. (See map in your textbook.)

The Middle Passage (term) is a phrase used to refer to the part of the route from Africa to the Americas during which slaves were carried in the hold of the ship, and during which many slaves died. We will return to this issue later in the lecture.

Often the focus is on the Southern colonies in studies of slavery. However, many Northern colonies also traded their goods, such as corn and fish, to sell to plantation owners to feed the slaves, and timber from the Northern colonies was used to make the wooden barrels to carry the sugar from the Caribbean. In addition, many Northern merchants who owned ships were also involved in making profits from the slave trade themselves.




England, of course, and the English monarchy, wanted to make profits from the colonies in the Americas.

In doing so, it followed the theory of mercantilism (term) (or a type of merchant capitalism), in which governments of nations, such as those in Europe, compete for wealth, and they want to export more than they import in order to make profits.

Colonies can help a nation to become wealthy:

— by supplying raw materials to the mother country (England)

— by purchasing manufactured goods from the mother country.

(meaning, in that time period, small hand-made goods)

However, what is the problem here?

Colonies (the American colonists) want to make their own profits and make their own goods and trade with many other countries, and not just with England.

Therefore, England put in place certain restrictions through the Navigation Acts (term), as your textbook explains, restricting the kinds of trade that Americans could engage in.

Violators were to be tried in admiralty courts, which had judges, but did not have juries.

Americans began to rebel against these policies.

Beyond economics, next will be an examination of the human toll taken by the slave trade.




A definition of slavery is needed to fully understand the immense human impact of the slave trade.

In the Americas, the definition of chattel slavery, human beings treated as property, and traded as property, makes clear the extent of dehumanization involved in the process.

To further define chattel slavery:

Slaves are slaves for life. Slaves do NOT get paid. Slaves do NOT have any rights. The master has the power of life and death, physical abuse, torture, rape, verbal abuse, separation of families by sale to faraway places, no education, no formal marriage, no adequate health care, no way to plan for the future. Children of slaves were also slaves for life, and thus the system was perpetuated. Life was completely controlled by the master.

The voyage to America was brutal: Historians estimate that 10% to 20% of Africans died in the Middle Passage (term), the route from Africa to the Americas, where slaves were kept chained in the hold of the ship. (See visual at the top of this page for more details.) One can imagine the horrors in this type of situation.

The film this week describes the efforts of ship’s crews to prevent slave rebellions on the ships. Although slave rebellions did occur, most were not successful.

A good film, “Amistad,” was made based on a true story in 1839 in which slaves were able to take over the ship. (You can probably watch it on a provider through the internet.) (Amistad was the name of the ship.)

Many slaves wanted to jump overboard rather than continue in such misery, and the film in Canvas for Week 2 describes why slave traders tried to prevent this, to maintain their profits.

Equiano, in his antislavery narrative, his autobiography, describes his memory of the Middle Passage in the hold of the ship: “The shrieks of the women and the groans of the dying rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable.”

Black female slaves were subjected to sexual assault on board the slave ships and on the plantations. Slaves had no rights, so they could not go to court to protest these violations.

Masters, or other white men on the slave ships or on the plantations, could rape slave women, and then masters could either keep any resulting children as slaves on the plantation, or sell those children for a profit.

More slave children born on the plantation increased the profits of the master.

A book that explores the female slave experience is Deborah Gray White, Ar’n’t I a Woman: Female Slaves in the Plantation South.

White female indentured servants could go to court if they were raped, but since women did not have the right to vote and could not serve on juries or as lawyers or judges in the colonial era (and not for a long time after that either) then you can guess that their chances of winning a case were slim to none.

In addition, as your textbook notes, female indentured servants who became pregnant and had children would be forced to serve two additional years of indenture (even if they had been raped), and they would also be fined. If they died during their indenture, their child would be indentured until the age of 21. (See the story of Anne Orthwood in your textbook.)




The institution of slavery had an impact in many other ways in the English colonies, in addition to the human toll it took, as covered in the section, above.

Population changed: — as hundreds of thousands of Africans were forcibly brought to the southern colonies and some to the northern colonies. Most slaves were in the the South. There were some free blacks, but most blacks were enslaved. Whites remained in the majority in most areas of the South.

Cultural impact: — Music and Dancing were influenced by African heritage (term): Roots of jazz, blues, rock n’ roll, calypso, reggae, gospel, soul, and other musical styles. Drums and banjos were used, although masters would ban drums, since drums could be used to communicate for a rebellion.

Stono Rebellion: (term) — In 1739, some slaves in South Carolina did carry out a rebellion with a large impact. (This rebellion was not just running away; it involved much more than that. — See the details in your textbook.) In response to the rebellion, the white legislature passed more severe laws to try to prevent future rebellions.

DOCUMENT: — “Runaway Slave Ads” (1700s) in Reading the American Past — What do the ads reveal about the lives and conditions of slaves who ran away to try to get to freedom?

Increasing Class Stratification: — based on who could afford to buy slaves. Not all whites could afford slaves, as slaves were expensive. So, the rich got richer, and the poor remained poor, also due to the particular economics of the south, and its reliance on slavery for part of its economic system. Most white southerners were not wealthy. And the South is still one of the poorest parts of the U.S. today.

White Supremacy: (term) — This term refers to a strategy that wealthy white planters used to keep poor white servants (or farmers) and poor black slaves divided. Poor whites could think that they were somehow “better” than blacks. This was a divide-and-conquer strategy to prevent cross-racial alliances and to also maintain class divisions.




Ongoing impact of slavery and racism in the U.S. even after the legal end to slavery in 1865 (at the end of the Civil War):

— racial segregation in employment, education, public facilities, transportation (e.g. bus)

— ban on interracial marriage, social segregation, housing segregation

— poll taxes, and other efforts to prevent blacks from voting

— KKK (white supremacy terrorists), lynching, other violence

— police brutality

students can certainly think of other examples

Efforts for Progress:

— 1800s anti-slavery movement in U.S.; both blacks and whites involved

— Civil rights movement in 1960s with people from all races involved

— laws passed to ban racial discrimination/segregation; interracial marriage made legal

— first African American (or mixed race) president elected in 2008

— many women of color and men of color have been elected to public office

— category for more than one “race” is now on the census

students can certainly think of other examples

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