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Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - January 22.docx

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Wilfrid Laurier University
Dana Weiner

HI330 Lecture: Slavery in the Colonial Era and the Chesapeake Colonies January 22, 2013 Slavery in the Colonial Era -How did ideas about slavery and freedom change over time? -Were slaves’ lives worse/better in the earliest years? -Worse: -Living conditions were worse for slaves in the earliest years -Caribean colonies – slaves had to endure the seasoning process -1780 – ½ the population of slaves that came to BNA colonies had survived -Death Rates -50% death rate -Mental/physical health -Harsh conditions of labour -Reproduction -Due to heath reasons, etc -Gender ratios – more -Sexual abstinence – didn’t want their children to endure slavery -Abortive practices Four Colonial Regions -New England -Middle Colonies -Chesapeake  Virginia and Maryland -Deep South Chesapeake Society -Jamestown exemplifies that character of the Chesapeake -Hierarchical, exploitative -First British colony to depend of slavery as an official institution -Violent – high death rate -Materialistic -Wanted the easy way to obtain riches and wealth -Aristocratic elite structures that were prevalent in England -Social conflict -Legal equality for all was unknown  in England and its colonies, legal equality would have been widespread  men over women, property verses those without, religious groups, etc  believed to be natural in these societies and was present in almost all social groups -Individualistic without much social cohesion -Government wanted them to grow food and not just tobacco -By 1620: morality rate – 75% -worked to death, diseases, fights, etc -The labour problem -Tobacco needed a large labour force -Arrived at a number of servants for the labour problem -Indentured servants -Roots in England -Tenants -Rent and work the land -Slaves Indentured Servants -Who were they? -White Europeans who didn't have much for them back home -Contracts to sell their labour not themselves and lasted about 4-7 years -Compensation? -Freedom dues? -Wasn’t cash – given a new suit of clothing, new outfit and 5 barrels of corn -After their contract was up they could do what they chose -Usually voluntary and temporary and would eventually be given some kind of compensation in freedom dues -Weren’t considered a full citizen of the country white under contract -Parallels with slavery -Slavery – permanent and never-paid system of racialized labour -Citizenship? – court, marriage, property -Couldn’t plead in court or marry without their masters permission -Weren’t protected from physical harm -Physical punishment -Contracts: extended: “sold” -Could be sold from one master to another -Could be transferred during their indenture Slavery in English North America? 1619: Dutch warship, Jamestown -Arrival of the first Africans -Originally from Angola and were sold to Jamestown leaders -Following the Spanish custom (in England) they were called Negroes -Status of people in bondage was confusing even for those at the time -Those in Virginia at the time – saw blacks as less than free but didn’t see them as slaves -Were these people slaves? -England: no slave code -1620 – no law of slavery -Christians? -Some of them were converted in the massage to BNA to the Christian religion -At this time, if you were a Christian you couldn’t be a slave -White labour produced most tobacco here -Since 1619 there had been people of African descent in this region of BNA Opportunities in the Colonial Era? -Anthony and Mary Johnson -Came to Jamestown in 1691 -Landownership – they had their own indentured servants -Give us a story on the legal ambiguity of the early legal status of African Americans in the Chesapeake -Anothony Johnson – escaped death, found someone to marry in 1625 and bought his way out of bondage in the same year -Anthony acts as any other would do – obtained plantation Johnson and the Law -1654 -Lawsuit vs. John Casor & Robert Parker -Lawsuit against black servant -Revealed ad reinforced Johnson’s legal rights -Johnson said that he owned Casor -Johnson gave up when he realized his suit was not winnable -New suit with Parker -Saying that Parker had detained Casor -Can’t tell why Parker did this or what views he had -Court ruled in favour of Anthony Johnson in the second case -1660s – moved to Maryland -They were landowners -1670 – A. Johnson died -Legal battles -1670 VA court ruling -Ruled along racial lines that Johnson had no rights to own land because he was black -Said Johnson’s land in VA belonged to the government -In order to own land you had to be white and in order to be considered a British subject you had to be white *Shows us things got worse over time What does the Johnson’s story mean? -Some of the ones in MD were still prospering in the late 17 century -He lived a long life when it was difficult with all of the bad conditions in this area -Widely respected in his community – not allowed for future AA (African Americans) and African slaves Colthial Slave System: The Chesapeake -17 century slaves: small minority -Virginia -1625- 1.7% -23 blacks -1 275 whites + natives -1649: 1.6% -VA population = 18 500 -300 Blacks -Maryland, founded 1632 -1658 – 3% black Chesapeake Servitude -1620-1670s: all servants in similar situation -Approximately 40% indentured servants died – wanted maximum labour from their servants before their term ended (from over work and disease) -Benefits of survival -Could expect tthlead their masters and seek fortunes of free peoples -During the 17 century – there were free black men in the Chesapeake and they participated fully in the legal and social life of the colony
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