History: A Study of Colonial America

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The colonies were by no means homogeneous. Lifestyle, customs, and demographics differed among the different regions of the colonies. Even by the 18th century, divisions between various regions and colonies existed. One of the manifestations of the diversity of colonial life was in one of its most persistent and pervasive institutions: slavery. Slavery existed on social, cultural, economic, and political levels. Although there are some common themes of slavery throughout the colonies such as the brutalization of slaves, and the basic means of using free labor to boost the economy, there were some key differences to the way slavery was practiced, how it was perceived, how it was supported by law, and how slavery fit into local economy and culture. These differences parallel the greater differences that existed between the different regions of colonial America. Slavery was heavily entrenched in the Chesapeake region by the 18th century. Between 1680 and 1720, dramatic changes occurred throughout the Chesapeake region. As Kulikoff points out, the Chesapeake economy ceased to grow, the price of tobacco was not increasing abroad, opportunities for the working poor declined, and this led to the large scale migration of white and black people to Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. In addition to altering the demographics of the colonies, this more importantly for slaves led to the diversification of crops. Some farmers switched to grain farming, which necessitated more labor; thus,
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