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Slavery in the American Colonies

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The origin of Jamestown began with the support Of Virginia company of London, who were investors that hoped to profit from the journey. On December 6th, 1606 104 English men climbed aboard three ships named Susan Constant, the Godspeed, and the Discovery and head towards North American. A year later on May 13th, they picked Jamestown Virginia for their settlement which is named after their King James the first, this settlement became known as the very first permanent English settlement in North America. This town was elected to settle on because of its deep water, good defensive position and it was not taken over by the native population. Captain John Smith became the leader of the town and introduced trading with the Powhatan Indians. Smith ended up going back to London to get more supplies and to promote Jamestown, but he never made it back because he died in an incident that contained gunpowder. The relationship between the Indian tribe and the English was not the best because they settled on the hunting ground. Even though the relationship was not the best, they were able to establish trading opportunities. Soon thereafter, the men started to lack supplies and captain Newport had to go back to London to see if he could bring back more supplies and more people. As settlers were getting adjusted and beginning their new life in this new town, they started to get sick with diseases that led to many deaths. Food started to run extremely low to the point of the town not succeeding, but thanks to the Powhatan Indians they were able to survive because they sent food to help them out. In 1609 through 1610 as winter approached the town became known as the ‘starving time’; by this time the English had ruined relationships with the Indians due to the high demand for food during a drought. In the spring of 1610 England settlers finally arrived with this implies Smith had asked for and these new settlers ended up providing a strong leadership under a governor with the help of mentors.

The origin of Plymouth began when 100 English men and women separated from the church who became known as the pilgrims and set sail to the new world in the Mayflower ship. This colony became the second permanent English settlement in North America that was founded in 1620. Before they settled in the town of Plymouth, they had been station in Leyden, they enjoyed the freedom that was offered to them, but they found Holland unfit preservation. They feared their children growing up declining principles of right and wrong behavior and fearing that Catholic Spain conquered the country. Virginia company had a contract with the pilgrims to settle near the Hudson River but due to rough seas and storms, it prevented the ship from reaching its initial destination. On November 21st after 66 days being out at sea, they finally reach Cape Cod and they dropped their anchor at the site of Provincetown. Although they were known to be the second permanent English settlers in North America they were also known as being the very first settlers in the New World. Many of the settlers decided to stay under ship while they went back and forth to shore to build new homes in the new land. Soon after they were settled into shore, they met a Native American man known as Tisquantum and became a member of the colony. By March they began to move to shore permanently, the first winter more than half of the settlers died from diseases that swept the new colony. Squanto ended up being an interpreter and mediator between Plymouth’s leader and Native Americans and he was able to secure peace. Knowing that they would not get attacked by Indian tribes they were able to safely build settlements for themselves and learned how to plant corn which becomes an important crop.

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With the production of cash crops of tobacco, sugar, and cotton, it helped America became the economic engine of the nation. America’s wealth had been successful due to the slave economy. Before the war began, the South was producing 75% of the world’s cotton and it was creating more millionaires heard capital in the Mississippi River. By this time slaves represented the most significant investment in the southern plantation. The majority of the 1600s, agriculture was operated by American colonies, that were managed by indentured servitude. Workers from Europe who had traveled to North America for a new life we’re poor and in exchange for their work they received food and shelter. During the 1680s British economy had improved and jobs or opening up and slavery became more acceptable. When property owners in the southern colonies began to plant cash crops, business increased and so did the amount of work that needed to be done. To get the labor done rich planters turned to slave traders to see if they could buy slaves or human chattel as they were known. The slave auction industry was born after more slaves were imported and the rates expanded. Slaves were being auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder at a price between $1200 and $1500. The beginning of the 19th-century slavery in cotton became essential to the continuous growth of America’s economy.

The Civil War was a result of many causes, but expansion and slavery were the main reasons for the war to happen. In the 17th century mercantilism was an economic policy designed to increase nationals wealth through the exportation of goods. Great Britain had an upper hand since they could supply raw material and resources to the mother country, although Great Britain was the first to succeed it was not the only one with the idea of exportation. Great Britain competed with the French, Spanish, and Portuguese for colonies. Since Great Britain relied heavily on other colonies the fear of failing and being in the bottom Great Britain imposed restrictions and how colonies could spend their money or distribute resources. Mercantilism guided the adoption of enormous trade restrictions that caused a stop on the growth and freedom of colonial business. England then passed the navigational acts in 1660, which contained numerous laws designed to make American colonies more independent on manufactured goods from Great Britain. With the trade restrictions being put in place this effectively prevented the colonies from trading with other European countries which caused the colonies to form relationships with the Dutch and French to encourage the flow of manufactured goods to North America. Merchants were active in colonial politics and responded to the acts with hostility this act contributed to the creation of anti-British sentiment and the resulting of the American Revolution. Trading became triangulated between the British Empire, its colonies, and foreign markets. Colonies provided products that were heavily demanded by Africa and in return, they were paid with slaves in America and the West Indies. Even though slavery was already a part of the 13 colonies this act caused slaves to be owned by Americans and due to crash crops, it created a high demand for slaves.

African slavery became the central development of British and North America since slaves were making merchants richer by being sold or exporting the products of their labor. Also due to the mistreatment of slave’s people started to question whether it was the right to own slaves or not. In 1775 several Americans already disagreed with the Declaration of Independence ringing claim of human equality, causing North to abolish slavery. When the constitution was written the interest of slaveholders and the people who owned slaves cannot be ignored because Southerners believed that slave labor contributed greatly to the nation’s wealth. Therefore, creating 3/5 compromise, which was to count 3 out of every five slaves as people and its effect was to give the southern states third more seats in Congress and electoral votes.

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Slavery in the American Colonies. (2022, August 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from
“Slavery in the American Colonies.” Edubirdie, 25 Aug. 2022,
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