What Led To The Decline Of Indentured Servitude An

d The Rise Of ChatteThe decline of indentured servitude and the rise of chattel slavery were caused by economic factors of the English settlers in the late 17th century. Colonists continually tried to allure laborers to the colony. The head right system was to give the indentured servant a method of becoming independent after a number of years of service. Colonists chiefly relied on Indentured Servitude, in order to facilitate their need for labor. The decreasing population combined with a need for a labor force, led colonists to believe that African slaves were the most efficient way to acquire a labor force that would satisfy their needs.
Before the 1680’s, indentured servitude was the primary source of labor in the newly developed colonies. There were both white and black indentured servants. White servants had even outnumbered black servants three to one. Some black indentured servants were able to complete there time of service, and even had land and servants of their own. After the 1680’s, the population of white indentured servants decreased exponentially. There were a number of different reasons why the population of indentured servants had decreased. For whatever reason, indentured servitude was a form of labor that was declining, and the need for labor increased rapidly. #
African-American labor was beginning to be more valuable than white labor. African laborers were beginning to be looked at as property, as well as being treated that way. By the 1660s, the status of the African was an indentured servant was gone. Virginia had begun to make laws, which were defining slaves as property. Africans were economically better, due to British control of the slave trade making black labor cheaper.#
In the 1600’s, tobacco became the main source of income for most of the colonists. The economic prosperity of the colonies was primarily dependent on the amount of tobacco produced. The growing of tobacco needed large amount of land, with a large stable work force. The increased demand for a large, stable work force combined with the availability and low price of African slaves, led to the use of slavery in the colonies. To the planter, slavery was the ideal form of labor that would be most beneficial to productivity of his crop.#
The key factor to the shift to African chattel slavery was the revolt known as Bacons Rebellion in 1676. Bacon was an English aristocrat who just came to Virginia Due to a disagreement with royal governor William Berkeley, he gathered support from both white and black indentured servants and began a series of revolts against the governor and the landowners. These revolts just added to the preference for black labor and slavery. Even though Bacon died before anything could happen, the threat of such a biracial alliance challenging the power of the master class prompted the colonys elite to switch to an enslaved black labor force. The demand for black slaves rose and this caused an increase of Africans into the colonies. By the 1700s, slavery was deep-rooted in the colonies government.#
Planters had an abundance of land and a shortage of labor. This relationship, made the amount of tobacco directly proportional to the number of slaves that the planter owned. Slavery was the backbone of the prosperity of the colonies. A major factor in the consideration of slaves on plantation is the flux of the land. Tobacco was the major crop of the 17th century, and tobacco is a plant that exhausts nutrients from the soil, which led to the rotation of crops, in order to replenish the crops. The planter needed to educate
his workers on certain agricultural techniques in order to know how to make the land most productive. With a permanent work force, such as slaves, the slaves would only require to be educated once, instead of the planters having to re-educate indentured servants every X number of years. The African slaves also had other characteristics that enticed colonists to use them as a labor force. The African slaves were immune to malaria, which resisted them from disease. The Africans also were subsistence farmers in Africa; thus, they had a tradition of farming, and essential agricultural skills.
Slavery was a course in history, where it was opportune for the colonists to use slavery as a labor force. The decline in population of indentured servants exacerbated the situation, as time progressed, slavery became increasingly imminent. Morality was not taken into consideration, because of the settlers were only viewing slavery from an economic view, rather than a humanitarian point of view. The introduction of slavery into the colonies can be summarized with a clich of the settlers being “at the right place at the right time”.


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