Slavery – Causes Slavery was caused by economic factors of the english settlers in the late 17th century. Colonists continually tried to allure laborers to the colony. The headright system was to give the indentured servant, a method of becoming independent after a number of years of service. Slavery was caused by economic reasons. Colonists chiefly relied on Indentured Servitude, inorder 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. After the 1680’s, the population of the Indentured Servants decreased, exponentially. Their were a number of different reasons why the population of Indentured Servents had decreased. The indentured servents were running away from their temporary masters, to find a job where he could become more independent. Indentured servents were also dying of many diseases, which was caused by harsh conditions. The immigration of servents thus declined, becuase of the people in England being informed of the harsh treatment in the colonies. The society was where the land was easy to find, while the labor was most scarce.
Indentured servitude, was a form of labor which was declining, and the need for labor increased rapidly. In the 1600’s, when tobacco was founded by John Rolfe, 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 a large amount of land, with a large stable work force. The increased demand for a large, stable work force combined with the availability of African slaves, led to the use of slavery in the colonies.
During the late 17th century, the indentured servants were running away from their masters farms, if a slave had run away from their master’s farms, then the slave would be easier to discern because of the color of his skin. To the planter, slavery was the ideal form of labor that would be most beneficial to productivity of his crop. 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, inorder to replenish the crops. The planter needed to educate his workers on certain agricultural techniques inorder 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 more and more imminent. Morality was not taken into consideration, because of the settlers were only viewing slavery from a economic view, rather than a humanitarian point of view. The introduction of slavery into the colonies can be summarize with a cliche of the settlers being “at the right place at the right time”.