The Institution of Slavery

Slavery in Colonial America
-slavery became rooted in American society in the closing decades of
the 17th century
-by 1750: 1/2 of VA’s population and 2/3 of SC’s population were
Increased Demand
1. Reduced migration
-increases in wages reduced the supply of immigrants to the
2. Dependable work force
-plantation owners were disturbed by demands of small farmers
and the potential for revolt
-slavery provided a stable labor force under their control
3. Cheap labor
-profitable crops like rice required a large land area and large
number of inexpensive workers
Slave Laws
-laws adopted to ensure that African Americans
would be held in bondage for life
-slave status would be inherited by their children
-VA, 1661 = children inherited their mother’s
slave status for life
-MD, 1664 = baptism did not affect the slave’s
status, white women could not marry black men
-racism and slavery became enforced by the law
Triangular Trade
-New England merchants entered the slave trade
-rum from NE would be traded for captive slaves in
West Africa
-African who survived the Middle Passage would be
traded in the West Indies for sugarcane and
-ships would return to NE with the sugar to make rum
-substantial profits were made with the trade of each
★by 1775: African Americans made up 20% of the
population, 90% lived as slaves in southern
Stono Rebellion
South Carolina, 1739
-largest slave uprising in 13 colonies prior to the American
-slaves desired to escape to freedom in Spanish Florida
1. Other uprisings occurred in SC and GA over the next
2 years
2. 10 year moratorium on slave importation to SC
3. Negro Act of 1740 = prohibited slaves from growing
food, assembling in groups, earning their own money,
learning to read
4. Slaveholders required to apply to legislature for
approval of slave manumissions