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The Origins of American Slavery - Book Report/Review Example

Betty Wood has been especially interested in answering the two entangled questions - that is, what made English colonizers and colonists believe they could enslave West Africans and what prompted them to do so. The importance of these two vital questions in the history of American slavery is indubitable and Betty Wood proves to be the preeminent historian to undertake such an investigation. The work may be best comprehended as a stimulating new interpretation about the construction of the American slave trade explores. It is significant in that it deals with the slave trade and provides a convincing meaning of freedom and oppression in 16th-century English thought and culture. Therefore, Wood poses the perplexing historical question dealing with why the British colonists in America voluntarily accepted slavery in the land when such a practice of slavery was unfamiliar in England and she gives the most credible answer to this pertinent question through an investigation of the origins of American slavery and the colonists' original reaction to slavery.
The Origins of American Slavery has been central to an understanding of the complex underlying principle behind the establishment of slavery in America by the colonists. ...
"Wood concludes that enslaving Africans resulted from a complex interaction of racial prejudice and economic ambition. Prejudice counted less than pragmatism in explaining how and why Englishmen looked to Africans to supply their New World labor needs, but as racial slavery became more deeply rooted as an economic institution, it also became more entwined with the political, social, and cultural aspirations of the slaveholding classes." (Miller, 437)
The short analysis of the origins of American slavery by Wood especially appeals to the readers as it tracks the origins of American slavery on the basis of the cultural, social and economic conditions of the period. She deals with the English experience and need in the New World to incorporate English law, ideas about liberty, labor practices, church teaching, attitudes toward gender, and observations of other European New World colonies. According to the author, slavery was not regarded as an inevitable conclusion. It was rather the result of conversion of the theoretical possibility of slavery by the Englishmen into the practice of enslaving West Africans. "Wood is especially helpful in reminding readers that the origins of slavery in English America were derivative as well as adaptive. In planting the mainland colonies, the English borrowed from their experiences in the Caribbean, just as planters there borrowed planting and labor methods from the non-English sugar colonies. By widening the analytical lens to include the whole of English America, Wood makes it possible to appreciate how fully the Caribbean patterns were adopted in, and adapted to, the mainland plantation colonies." (Miller, 437) The work by Wood can be seen as dealing with some essential elements in the background of the ...Show more
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One of the most imperative focuses of scholars of history for several decades has been the relative importance of American slavery in connection with race and economics. Historians have often shown special interest in finding the roots of slavery and the investigative studies to conclude on the causes and impacts of American slavery have been especially fundamental to the general awareness of the establishment of American slavery…
The Origins of American Slavery
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