Colonial American Slavery Essay examples

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The study of slavery in the development of early America is an extremely complex, yet vitally important part of American History. There are hundreds of thousands of documents, debates, and historical studies available today. According to Ms. Goetz, the assistant professor of history at Rice University, who states, in The Southern Journal of History, that in addition to geographic and chronological diversity in the America’s, assessment of experiences of colonial slaves is extremely complex, “especially in the context of three European colonial powers, vigorous Indian groups, and free and enslaved blacks”(Goetz, 599). In studying the institution of slavery, careful investigation and analysis of the developing colonies, including their…show more content…
Aside from the Spanish, who demanded direct control of Native American’s, Europeans quickly established trade relationships with Natives which consisted of manufactured goods for furs and labor.
The customs of natives included many oral traditions used to pass on religion and ancestry, leaving much of their experience undocumented. Conflict between Native Americans and colonists resulted shortly after European settlement due to cultural differences and misunderstandings of tradition. One major misunderstanding between Indians and colonists was their different ideologies of slavery. For example, tribal practices of slavery are known to have existed prior to European contact, but the nature of the term differed greatly between the two cultures in contact. Natives used slavery among tribes in forms of religious tradition and ritual, as well as for criminal punishment and peace gestures. Not being economically inspired because of their very recent discovery of agriculture allowing subsistence farming, “Indians did not buy and sell captives in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved Indians with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for their own members” (Seybert). Through their friendly trade relations, Europeans quickly introduced the idea of slaves as a commodity, along with an international market for labor to newly developed plantation economies, eventually
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