Apush: the Growth and Significance of Slavery in the Southern Colonies

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APUSH Unit 1 Essay: The Colonial Period Slavery was a major part of southern colonial life between 1607 and 1775, and grew exponentially due to the encouragement of the economic, geographic, and social factors in the Southern colonies during that era. Things such as large plantations, cheap labor, and misconceptions of the African race greatly affected the way slavery was viewed in the American colonies. Often, it was thought of as a necessary evil; or, even more often, just necessary. There were many factors that gave the colonists this opinion of slavery, and I will discuss just a few of the major ones. In the Southern colonies, the main source of economic growth was agriculture, specifically the planting and harvesting of tobacco, indigo, rice, and sugar cane, which were the staple crops of the region. These crops were often grown on very large plantations owned by wealthy white men, with little assistance to work the plantations. Not wanting to pay indentured servants for work, they often bought slaves to work the fields. This ended up saving them a lot of money, as they only had to pay for the initial purchase of the slave and, aside from the necessities of life, such as food and shelter, didn't need to invest anything more. The African slaves were also a lot more versatile than the indentured servants. While a servant could work for a pretty good amount of time without taking a break, the average African slave could work for almost a full day without stopping. This resulted in a much smoother and quicker harvest, and fairly easy upkeep of crops. This was very important, especially since many of the staple crops of the Southern colonies, given the geographic region, were very labor-intensive, such as tobacco and sugar cane, and the speed with which the crops were harvested resulted in more money for the plantation owner. The quicker the crops got to

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