Slavery And Religion : The English Colonies

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Slavery and Religion in the English Colonies Many English immigrants came to America to seek religious freedom and some to improve their economic conditions. The concept of how slavery, thought by many colonists to be an economic necessity, was shaped and came to be rationalized and justified through Christian religious beliefs, is very interesting. The first English colonists settled in the Massachusetts colonies for religious reasons; to escape religious persecution in England as in the case of the Pilgrims or to start a new religious mission as with the Puritans. As the English crown sought to gain economically from the new world, their first successful settlements was in Jamestown, Virginia. Jamestown’s economic success thrived through the “brown gold” or tobacco market. Growing tobacco, which takes approximately nine months, was very labor intensive and required a large number of manual workers. At first, they tried to use Native American Indians as their workforce. When this did not work, they used indentured servants, people who paid for passage to the New World by agreeing to work for an employer for a set number of years. Finally, after the indentured servant supply dried up and the number of new farms and large plantations grew in the English colonies, a new workforce was needed to take on this “back-breaking” work that no one else wanted to do and they turned to using African slaves. These slaves were forced into servitude without getting anything in

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