The Lectures And Readings Assignment On: US Labor (Essay Sample)
“The beginning of European settlement of the Americas from 1492 was marked by an extensive demand for labor. The earliest forms of labor involved both coerced labor and forms of indentured servitude that utilized the work of Europeans, Native Americans and African peoples. By the late 1600s, this fluid labor arrangement became more restrictive and formalized, with a form of racially (African) based slavery imposed in North America. What factors contributed to this development? How and why did this transformation occur?” (question courtesy of Professor Francis Ryan)
Drawing on material from the lectures and readings, write a paper of roughly 1500 words (or 4-6 double-spaced pages) in response to the above essay prompt. Use clear and precise language in your essay and provide ample evidence to support your claims. Also make sure to cite your sources.
The draft of the paper is due at the start of class on February 15th. Please submit your draft via the ASSIGNMENTS function on the course SAKAI page. Also bring two hard copies of the draft to class.
According to Manning (200), slavery is an act of forcing or making people work or perform any activity against their will. In the United States, slavery existed as early as 17th century, a time when the Congress enacted an amendment just after Union win over the Confederacy in the civil war (Inikori, 300). At that point, over a million slaves of African-American origin lived in the United States. Despite the fact that these communities multiplied and thrived, their people were subjected to very harsh work and living conditions and thus they never had the privilege to enjoy the freedom or the rights the white Americans had. This practice represented a temporary condition and was based on a status badge other than a money-making enterprise. Slaves from India were composed of mostly children and women who were either captured or purchased. Some were often adopted into their accommodating tribe over a period of time. Hence, slavery was not a hereditary condition.
African slavery in the United States resulted due to a series of factors. At first, slavery was conducted by the Spanish and the Portuguese. This was before mid-seventeenth century when the north-west Europe countries started being involved (Klein, 503). Klein, (512) states that, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, Britain was the leading country in slave trade followed by French. With the discovery of the new world, that's the United States, slave trade increased due to the need for the development of the States. The source of these slaves was mostly Africans because it was believed that they could withstand harsh weather or working condition compared to the white Americans (Kremer, 123). Indians were also sold off to the United States as criminals of war or rebels. Establishment of plantations and mining sites in the newly founded State necessitated the need for more slaves to provide cheap labor.
In the United States, planters like Rolfe John realized quickly the huge profits that can be harnessed from importing slaves to provide free labor (Putterman, 423). He introduced a tobacco plant which served as the main impetus to the adoption of African slave trade. This sort of crop was a very labor-intensive crop, which required hands in the field and longer hours bending over the plant under the crouching sunlight. Most of the White Americans had proved unsuited for this type of labor, because they were not used to such humid and hot weather conditions. Secondly, it's because they had flat out denied taking such tasks (Putterman, 510). African slaves were viewed to solve many of these problems. In physical terms, Africans are believed to be more used to working under brutal conditions and capable of working for longer hours than the whites. Also, having the whites to work in the plantation was believed that resistance would revoke much easily since they all spoke a similar language. This was opposed to Africans who spoke many diverse languages and thus the language barrier would hinder them in organizing any form of resistance.
Many African countries lacked learned and experienced manufacturers for any type of goods. With industrial revolution taking place all over the world, Mazumdar (123) states that European exchanged manufacturers with slaves to work in their established industries. With that, the African community was equipped with manufacturers and ended up starting manufacturing products of their own. This is an indication that, differences in technological advancement contributed to this vice of slave trade. With this circumstance of advancement differences, a form of trade theory existed where Europeans would barter trade their well or high quality finished goods in exchange for cheap labor. Africans were good in agriculture and thu...
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