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Slavery and race in the 19th century
Monday, January 16, 2012
Slavery: the basics
Forms of unfree labor
Indentured Servitude- white Europeans signed a contract that bound them to
work for someone within a 4-7 year period. A European that migrated to the
Americas didn’t have resources to get there. The idea was that by the end of the
contract, the person would have worked for a master while being fed, clothed
and house. Upon release of this contract, the slave would be given land, money,
clothing etc., to get them started on their new life. This was a temporary form of
Debt Peonage- Done by colonial landowners against native people. It bound
them to the land and a worker was tied to a particular place/master because
debt was owed.
Slavery- some people owned other people. Slaves were property of other
people, meaning that they owned wealth. More slaves meant more wealth.
(Reference to owning lots of land) Slaves are both property and labor. Slavery
was a system of violence, torture and danger. Not just a labor system, but also a
racial system. Laws were in place that masters were to provide food, clothing
and shelter for slaves. They had to take care of slaves that were sick, old, dying.
This was dependent on the location. What actually occurred was different then
what the law expected.
Change and continuity in slave societies
The American Revolution- On eve of revolution 1775. Most slaves found in largest
group in couple of areas. Tobacco plantations were in Virginia and Maryland.
Rice plantations in Georgia and South Carolina. All this was not yet the United
States. George Washington did not want to recruit. 20,000 blacks left America.
Many of them came to Canada as free because British promised them freedom.
Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 and subsequently abolished slavery itself
in 1833 throughout the British Empire. Slavery had ended in Canada. It was not an
important economic institution in Canada. Northern states began to gradually
adopt laws of emancipation.
Emancipation- Ideal of liberty and equality helped stimulate revolutions and
independence movements in the Americas. This did not necessarily eliminate
Latin American Independence Movements
Slavery was entrenched in the Caribbean where sugar plantations existed.
Emancipation came more slowly in a place where it was an economic
Reparations- descendants should be compensated for unpaid labour of their
Venezuelan’s found it was cheaper to free their slaves, so they didn’t have to
support them all the time. Resistance raised the cost of slavery.
600,000 slaves were brought from Africa to Cuba illegally because Spain
banned the slave train.
Haiti was biggest sugar plantation provider. Brazil was known for coffee.
Children wouldn’t be productive until 12years old, but still had to be
supported even though they weren’t productive! Slave owners found it more