- Labor that Slaves Provided in the Sugar Plantation
African slaves in the plantation performed numerous tasks ranging from manure farms, digging, planting, weeding, harvesting cane, milling the cane, and boiling the cane into sugar. They would then proceed to clean, harvesting grass and keeping their master’s cattle (chapter 1, pp. 17).
Children capable of walking and running were assigned duties of picking insects, weeding, and collecting grass. The children are graduated from one level to another until they reach the level of the older slaves in taking hard labors (chapter 1, pp. 19).
- Indentured Labor
The Virginia legislation on indentured labor made it expensive to have such a luxury given that it imposed restrictions on how such labor was to be exploited describing the extents to which the slaves were to be treated and the privileges they were to be awarded. This made the whole enterprise expensive (Chapter 2, pp. 29). Thus, it was considered unprofitable given that most colonies were abandoning it, it became expensive to manage such labors, and that the legislation restricted it
- Role of the Northern Colonies in the ”Triangle Trade ” With Africa
For trade to occur, there must be a willing buyer, a willing seller, and the commodity. Slavery was a precious commodity and the presence of a ready market in the northern colonies; including legislation that recognized and regulated slavery were a boost to the triangle trade. This document describes legislation outlining punishment for runaway slaves, which is a legal endorsement for slavery (Chapter 3, pp. 59).
Besides providing a ready, market for slavery, the northern states provided other commodities that were traded on in the triangle trade. As noted in this document, mentioning a latter to a ship captain, the captain is ordered to take a cargo with him and upon sale purchase other goods as well as slaves.
- Thesis: ”While European Planters, Merchants, and Ship Captains Profited from the Slave Trade; They Did Not Command It in Africa.”
The thesis holds that the European merchants had little control of the actual trade in Africa despite benefiting from the enslavement of people of color. Therefore, one had to be in command in Africa, acting as an intermediary or as wholesalers selling priced African men and women to the Europeans. It should be noted here that the Europeans were in the habit of enslaving other people, the Amerindians, and were only introduced to the enslavement of the colored race after receiving the idea from the Arabs (Chapter 1, pp.4).
Documents to support the thesis
- Document 1: “how we captured many Indians and returned to Spain with some of them” from Michele de Cuneo’s letter on Columbus 2nd voyage.
This document indicates that the Europeans had an earlier source of slaves other than the blacks.
- Document 9: “Ottobah Cugoano, thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery and commerce of the human species, 1787.”
Although this document is not set in Africa, the argument drawn from this document is that influential people in the local setting often facilitate slavery in a particular region.
- Document 11: “Alexander Falconbridge, an account of the slave trade on the coast of Africa, 1788.”
This document provides a clear definition of roles as assumed by the player in the slavery. It indicates that upon arrival at the slave markets, the Europeans had to wait and be directed on which slaves were available now. Fellow blacks in command provided this direction. This evidence emphasizes the willfulness of the powerful blacks in selling their fellow men to slavery.
- Thesis: ”Following on their determination to rely on enslaved Africans as their primary labor force, the laws of Virginia and the Carolinas increasingly sought to divide white, indentured servants from black, enslaved Africans. ”
- “…said negroes…are barbarous, wild, savage natures…” (Document 13, Chapter 2, pp. 40).
- “…shall cause all negro houses to be searched diligently and effectually, once every fourteen days, for fugitive and runaway slaves, guns, swords, clubs…” (Document 13, Chapter 2, pp. 41).
- “such slave shall receive or profess the Christian religion…the slave or slaves, concerning his or their servitude, shall remain and continue in the same state and condition, that he or they were before the making of this act.” (Document 12, Chapter 2, pp. 40)
Document 13 clearly depicts the kind of distinction that was set between the blacks and the whites. The whites were taught in legislation to treat blacks as less or not human (Chapter 2, pp. 40).
Slave trade is one of the most controversial historical records affecting the relation between races in the world. Even though the Europeans and other dominant races are to blame for the act, members of the weaker communities who sold their members also accomplished the act. The dominant societies such as the North America states complicated the situation by passing legislation that encouraged and worsened the conditions of slaves in their respective states.