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From the darkness of slavery to the light of freedom

Updated on April 21, 2017

The slavery started in United States of America as early as 17th century and it goes up to 1863 A.D when Congress approved the law shortly after the victory of Union over Confederacy in Civil war. At that time approximately four million African-American slaves were living in United States. These slaves were facing very brutal environment in America moreover their living conditions were very harsh and nobody was giving them their right to live. According to literature Native Americans were thought to be first enslaved people in North America. Many societies have faced very harsh slavery of different forms for many hundred of year before they have ever met the Europeans. The most unique and different type of slavery is “chattel slavery” that was developed in New World and their main focus was African Americans was very much different from the slavery that was practiced against the Native Americans. According to literature, the first group of African slaves consists of four men and women were arrived at Jamestone, Virginia in 1619 A.D.

Most of the English planters realized that immense profit can be made by importing unfree laborers. They had used the African people to cultivate their Tobacco crops. As the Tobacco was very labor intensive and tough environment crop. Farmers have to spend long hours under the blazing hot sun, inside the fields. Moreover whites proved that they were not feasible for this labor because they cannot bear rough and tough environment. So the problem was solved by African slaves because Africans were physically strong and could do immense work in sunny days. Moreover whites were not to be supposed to pay them.

As African slaves belonged to many different areas and have vast variety of spoken languages so they have also found it difficult to easily communicate with each other. Hence their community bondage between them was very week. Unlike the Native American the conditions of Africans were very different. They homeland was very much far away from America so they cannot ran away to their homeland and could get rid of slavery. Finally some of the African leaders were also involved in selling African for getting huge profit form whites. For all of the above mentioned reasons slavery of Africans quickly emerged and was considered as a very profitable labor system.

During entire 17th century multiple British North American colonies constituted series of laws and conventions that played a key role to construct African slavery at the heart of colonial societies most particularly in the south. Although the slavery of Africans spread all over to each colony but it did not took as much hold in south as it did in the southern. It was all due to nature of work that was Tobacco fields and other cultivation was mostly in the south rather than in the north. The northern colonies have the rocky terrain that was unfeasible for the crops like Tobacco that was major source of profit for the whites.

Virginia was the main source of slavery during the entire colonial period. Unfortunately the system of slavery developed by Virginia became the role model for the colonies and societies. In 1620s the rules governing the slavery were very weekly or ill defined and some of the whites’ masters started to treat Africans more like indentured servants than the slaves. Few Africans labored for specific amount of time and secured their freedom. During 1640s the idea of African slavery get hold and lots of African were brought in America on ships as a slaves. The price of slaves rose in that entire interval.

In the 17th century Virginia House of Burgesses signed and approved certain series of laws for legitimized African slavery. The strict definition of slavery was just based upon race that ensures the man that has one-eighth of African blood was considered as a slave and would be treated as a slave. According to those laws the slaves were considered as a property that have no protection or have their own rights. Masters were totally free to do what they want with their slaves. This legislature has passed their, own certain laws in the coming years to refine slave-labor system.

So at that time slavery was fully and firmly established as a basic and primary labor in the south. New England firms of shipping have got immense profit due to shipping in this entire interval. They were transporting the Africans from their motherland to America, the journey across the entire Atlanta Ocean. The slaves were chained together in a very cramped condition that was suffering from starvation, and different diseases. The mortality rates of Africans were very large during this entire period and mostly Africans were sold with having no hope of getting back to their home again.

Despite of all these hard facts and brutal conditions of slavery, American slaves have enjoyed very high standard of living other than any other enslaved people and also they have free classes around the world. The increase of population of American slave due to high birth rates and low death rates was pointed throughout existence of slavery.

In the American Revolution approximately half million slaves were living in British colonies that their majority were living in the South. With the passage of time the slavery proved to be very less profitable and slavery became declined. The members of the Continental Congress discussed about the abolishment of the slavery and the strong objections seemed to be come from Southern members that have much sums tied up in the property of slavery.

For centuries Africans were seemed to be very inferior people and most Americans in North and South managed to convince them that slaves were better cared for in bondage than should be with freedom.

Slavery was thought to be a very positive thing in early 18th century however this broad view of slavery was challenged during revolutionary Era. This challenge came from different sources and revolutionary ideas were developed mainly from evangelical commitment of religion that forced all Christians for ensuring equality of all Christians and partly somewhat the decline profit of Tobacco. This decline of slavery seemed to be very prominent in South Northern of Delaware, which have passed certain laws of slavery certain after the war. However these laws were too slow to take effect. Many of them freed the children when he/she got the age of 25.

The result of American Revolution in 1775 A.D was the accumulation of high tension occurring between England and American colonies. The revolution in America undermined slavery in Connecticut. Moreover slavery was not totally abolished in the new state during Revolution; Connecticut authorities began to pass certain laws and agreements which weekend the institution. In 1774 A.D the General Assembly prohibited further introduction of slaves into Connecticut. In 1777 A.D, further orders were issued so it made easier for owners to free their slaves that were i.e. “Manumit”. Moreover that law introduced a local board and members that ensured to take interview of both slave and owner. And to check whether, the slave is fit for the job. So as a result of this process the slaves were set free from bond of slavery. The Assembly also passed certain laws that grant slaves to join Continental force. So this military could be granted with manumission. Enormous whites in Connecticut started to accept this option so that their black countrymen could start to live rather than as a slave man.

As a result of this law and Revolution great democratic ideas were produced that gave opportunities for the people having black skin to gain personal autonomy.

Thousands of slaves who enrolled in the military were rewarded with manumission. Many fought valiantly and with determination, as one of the case was with black soldiers at the Battle of Fort Griswold in 1779 and with the “Ned of Redding” that was acknowledged as a "A very passionate friend to the American grounds and went to Danbury to combat the British troops and then and there fought very bravely up to the time he was killed by the foreign enemies". According to the literature, some slaves detained the democratic expression of the era to plead the General Assembly for their freedom. Pomp of Norwalk declined to take off with his owner to British lines and remained instead in Fairfield, optimistic that General Assembly would certainly permit them for their right of freedom which they were demanding as a basic right. Thousands of Africans took benefit of the Revolution’s turmoil and simply ran away to their homeland. Some of them moved to New York City where the existing British permitted them to live as free people. According to literature, newspapers of that time period were filled with advertisements for runaways of Africans, and many of whom were by no means re-captured. The imprisoned of Connecticut made assured that the Revolution would be much about their independence as it was also about the independence of the colonies.


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