African American Slaves: Factors And Effects

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In the 17​th and 18​th centuries, many labor market institutions and companies developed to enhance the movement of labor in reaction to the opportunities created by American factors of proportions. While some immigrant’s servants migrated on their own to America, as adventurers or African slaves. African American Slavery was introduced in West India at an early date (the 1530s). In the 17​th century, a significant number of slaves were imported from colonial lands; from 1700 to 1780, the number of blacks in the Chesapeake region grew from thirteen percent to around forty percent. Moreover, in South Carolina and Georgia, the black share of the population “increased from eighteen percent to forty-one percent in the same period” (‘Colonialism and Migration; Indentured Labour Before and After Slavery,’ 1986). Galenson (1984) puts that, “the shift from indentured European to enslaved African American servants was as a result of a change in supply and demand situations, in the British and in the trans-Atlantic slave market.” After 1650 Conditions in Europe drastically changed, reducing the supply of indentured servants, and at the same time, increasing competition in the slave trade, which was diminishing due to low prices of slaves (Dunn, 1984). Many Colonies’ early experiences to the indentured servants paved the way for the shifting of African American slavery. Similarly to slaves, indentured servants were too much restricted, and ownership of their labor force could be freely transferred from one person to another.

However, African trade slaves were too concentrated in the Chesapeake and Lower South since there were farming ranches and stable exportation of crops like, rice, indigos, and tobacco, which provided economic rewards for expanding the scale of cultivation beyond the size through family labor. Many European immigrants who were indentured servants concentrated in the Chesapeake and Middle Colonies, where these were expected to find an excellent opportunity to enter agriculture on completion of their term of servant’s ship. Though New British land was able to support self-sufficient servant masters, its climate and soil were not conducive for the expansion of extended commercial agriculture, which made it attract relatively few slaves, indentured servants, or free immigrants (Morgan, 2007).

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More than a hundred thousand Africans were taken to the Americas for slavery before 1600. By the 17​th century, the demand for slave laborers surged sharply due to demands of laborers sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean, and tobacco plantations in the Chesapeake region in North America. Leading to more slave importation in the 18​th century to work as servants in the North American farming plantations.

Racial identification happens when individuals consider themselves best to be part of an assumed distinct and conglomerate of people who are said to be sharing certain physical traits. Like cultural traits, intellectual factors, and moral traits. Racial identification can be developed for numerous reasons such as cultural, social, legal, or political purposes, and it may involve both self-identification and mutual identification. While racial identity is the significance and qualitative meaning to individuals’ attributes of being “African American” in their conceptualizations of self-understanding.

Social identity

This is the portion of an individual’s self-concept derived from perceived membership in a relevant social group (cultural identity), and may impact the level to which individuals feel accepted and how they experience positive well-being in new environments. Racial identity was a specific form of social identification that played a significant role in the psychological well-being of African American children, adolescents, and adults African. Americans self-report their levels of racial identity by answering the extent to which they identify with their ethnic group by endorsing statements such as, “Being Black is important to my self-image.”

Psychological well-being

​On psychological well-being, people who feel closely connected to their African American identity may feel threatened and less accepted in environments in which there is frequent discrimination against the group with which they identify, relative to those who do not identify as strongly with the group (Ethan, 2016). This dimension of ethnic identity is referred to as the extent to which a person normatively defines himself or herself with regard to race.

Environmental hostility

​Racially hostile environment was an indication that non-white individuals were at a danger of being negatively discriminated due to one’s race and color. There is high pressure to conform to a culture that is more comfortable for Whites than African Americans who were slavery demanded; leading to strong racial identity that may be negatively related to psychological well-being.

An indentured servant also indentured laborer is a laborer within a system of free land, which is entitled by a signed or forced the contract to work for a particular European person for a while. Savants usually get into a colony for a specific payment or any other benefit and to meet a legal obligation. On completion of the agreed contract, indentured servants were given their freedom, and sometimes a plot of land from their slave masters. In the American colonies of the 17th and 18th centuries, slaves and indentured servants filled the need for a cheap source of labor for farms and plantations of rice, tobacco, and other crops. Both forms of employment were never paid, and both slaves and indentured servants were subject to mistreatment, unfavorable working conditions, and harsh forms of punishment (Galenson, 1984).

Slaves and indentured received basic food and shelter and were forced to work for long hours. They had no rights, and they received no education or freedom of movement. They obtained their master’s permission before they were to be allowed to marry and have children, and sometimes, their masters could buy and sell them, separating families in the process. Both could not convert their labor from the point of indentured servants or enslavement and were surrendering to their masters.

Both slaves and indentured servants also faced face harsh treatment and harsher punishment if they try to escape. Also, they worked on farms and plantations as the primary means to help the wealthy in American nations. They either helped as a slave or as an indentured servant. One was required to work in the fields, maintaining crops, as a house servant in European homes, or as the owner of the debtor choose.

Both slavery and indentured servitude were subjected to discriminative rights. They were treated in a very similar way, but what brought the difference was the method and means which they came with to America, which was uniquely different from the other. Although slaves and indentured servants were subject to deep oppression and harsh treatment, indentured servants were people in temporary service who would afterward regain their freedom.

Economic factors, ​the decline of indentured servants, and the rise of African American slavery were caused by economic factors of the British settlers in the late 17th century. Colonists continually tried to attract laborers to the colony. The head system was to give the indentured servant a method of becoming free and more independent after several years of enslavement. This made British people rely on African American slaves for them to satisfy their need for labor. The decreasing population of the indentured servants combined with a need for a labor force, given by the British to believe that African slaves were the most efficient way to acquire a labor force that would satisfy their needs.

Africans were economically good due to British control of the slave trade making black labor cheaper. Tobacco was the primary source of income in most of the British masters. The economic progress of the colonial powers was so dependent on the amount of tobacco produced. The growing of tobacco needed a large amount of land, with a sizeable stable workforce. The increased demand for a large, permanent workforce combined with the availability and low price of African slaves, led to the use of slavery in the colonies (Emmer, 2012). Labor substitutions, ​Labor substitutions also caused employers to run away from indentured servants towards slaves or paid employees. African slaves became cheaper for unskilled labor. African American slaves directly filled most agricultural land positions previously occupied by indentured servants. Wage workers could have been more productive since employers were much willing to end waged employment. Firing an indentured servant would mean a significant loss on the original capital of investment, which was spent in purchasing the servant’s contract.

Hence substitution would lead to a reduction in demand on indentured servants Changing attitudes, ​the decline of Indentured servitude for African American servants was also mainly as a result of changing views that accrued over the 18th century and reached climax in the early 19th century. By the 18th century, the penal penalties which were used against all servants were going away from colonial masters, leaving indentured servants the only adult white labor subject to the criminal sanctions. These penal sanctions for indentured servants continued in the European nations up to 1830s, and by this time, the treatment of European servants under the contract became the same as the treatment of wage laborers. The change in treatment is attributed to the growing identification of white indented servants (Morgan, 2007).

Colonies’ early experience with indentured servants, C​olonies’ first experience with indentured servants opened up the way for the shift from indentured servants to African American slavery. As slaves, indentured servants were also unfree, and possession of their labor could easily be transferred from one person to another. Unlike slaves, however, indentured servants could look forward to eventually becoming free.

Work cited

  1. Colonialism and Migration; Indentured Labour Before and After Slavery. (1986). doi:10.1007/978-94-009-4354-4
  2. Emmer, P. C. (Ed.). (2012). Colonialism and migration; indentured labor before and after slavery (Vol. 7). Springer Science & Business Media.
  3. Galenson, D. W. (1984). The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas: An Economic Analysis. The Journal of Economic History, 44(1), 1-26. doi:10.1017/s002205070003134x
  4. Morgan, K. (2007). Slavery and the British empire: from Africa to America. Oxford University Press.
  5. Rawley, J. A., & Behrendt, S. D. (2005). The transatlantic slave trade: a history — U of Nebraska

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African American Slaves: Factors And Effects. (2021, September 23). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from
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