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Origins of American Slavery

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Rmarra
Words 1638
Pages 7
Robert Marra
Section 103

The Origins of Slavery in America

The institution of slavery is a black mark on the history of America. The atrocities that were allowed to occur for hundreds of year are revolting to think about. History books and classes often detail the horrors of slavery, and the effects it had on our agricultural economy. However, they do not really explain why the practice of slavery was allowed to flourish in the colonies. They just present the facts of its occurrence. They do not consider the mindset of the people who thought it was justifiable to enslave a specific race. This paper seeks to answer this question using evidence from the studies of Degler, the Handlins, and Morgan. Slavery was not brought into existence by any one singular variable. It is a combination of attitudes and circumstance. Specifically, a preexisting discrimination of darker skinned people by the British and colonists led to the foundation and inconsistent growth of slavery, while the economic factors caused for its widespread acceptance. For instance, there are many more cases of blacks being treated as slaves before the legal status of slave came into existence than there are of whites. In Degler’s article Genesis of American Race Paradox, he argues that racial discrimination was present from the beginning and that the institution of slavery was just the law catching up with the practice (Degler). This essay agrees with and will use many of the points he makes to argue how a predetermined attitude to the Africans created the basis of slavery, but will stop short of saying that is the sole determinant. The English have a history of ethnocentrism. This can be seen in the associations of the words white and black. White symbolizes virginity, purity, cleanliness, goodness, etc. Contrastingly, the color black is associated with death, evil, filth, and violence. The...

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