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History of Slavery - Essay Example

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Second, it is important to scholars to understand the social and economic conditions of the early English colonies, and the perspective of slaves (and slaveholders) provides an excellent perspective on that history. According to one account, “Research has shown that, despite enormous cruelties, slavery was a profitable labor system” (Norton, Sheriff and Katzman 232). Common belief in our day is that slavery itself began as an expression of racist ideologies against the African continent. However, it seems more likely that slavery took its origins in the English colonies with economic factors and the growing capitalist ideology sweeping across Europe and her farthest outposts. Slavery as consisting of a White master and a Black slave truly began in 1441 when a Portuguese ship returned to Portugal with ten African slaves. While slavery already existed on the continent of Africa, this kind of subjugation was vastly different from the kind that would develop on the American continent. Colonization of the Americas increased in strength in the early 1600s, with the first permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Other colonies along the eastern seaboard of the continent progressed as well.

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Summary

The apparent contradiction of slavery’s development in America, the world’s first democratic republic, is certainly difficult to understand, especially living in times where slavery is perceived as the most heinous moral crime. Although we see democracy as a political environment in which human beings have equal say in the direction of their state, the ideological positions of many early Americans prevented them from seeing slaves as human beings at all…
History of Slavery
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