In the early 17th century, America was full of rich fertile soil capable of being farmed to yield a great amount of capital. And being settled by Europeans powered by a thirst for a better life, and Even though many Europeans traveled to the new world in order to escape religious persecutions or simply in search of a better life, this force was not enough to sustain the amount of work entailed in running a profitable agricultural economy. Even with the initial boom of Indentured servants, who were the initial manual work force in the ???New World???, there was still land to expand farms and thus more staple crop to be harvested. Creating a need for a larger labor force. African Americans began to be shipped into the new colonies to satisfy this void of a labor force. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade was a direct result of Europeans taking control of a free labor force, an enslaved one, in order to be able to obtain maximum profit from the America??™s valuable exports, and while the enslavement of African Americans did create a prejudice towards their race, this hate or discrimination was not the cause of their enslavement. Africans were enslaved long before the settlement of the American colonies had begun.
Prisoners of war in Africa were enslaved by feuding tribes that were constantly in war. These slaves were usually not enslaved for life and would have the opportunity to buy freedom. This was accepted by Africans because they generally identified with the local group or tribe they were apart of, not with their race as a whole. African Kings sold their prisoners to Portugal who needed a labor force for mines in Brazil, soon the trade spread to the Caribbean, South and Central America, and then to North America. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade became a profitable market for both the Africans who were selling these prisoners along with the Europeans selling and buying them. The empowered Africans who captured and sold to the slave dealing merchants had no regard for the individuals freedom thus expressed that these prisoners had no rights and were no different than trading livestock.
This set a standard for how the merchants viewed these prisoners, with no regard for their value as a human being, but only there worth as a tool. These Africans had no individual rights, which is the only thing that separated them from the European servants in the new world. This belief, that African slaves had no rights, and were property instilled a false belief that would not soon be forgotten in their new homes. Early in the American colonies labor force, there were different races who worked together to turn the fields and yield the crops.
Indentured servants from places like Ireland, Scotland, India, England, and Africa all worked side by side suffering the same treatment and punishments as the next servant. Some of these early African indentured servants served out their agreement and were free and sometimes entitled land and such things as a gun. A lot of these more fortunate Africans became indentured servants because they had been converted to Christianity. The downside of indentured servants was that they only were required to work for a certain time frame, and they were limited in supply since less and less came from Europe due to knowledge of harsh conditions reaching over seas to Europe. This brought desperate land owners to look for ways to keep their servants for a lifetime.
They did things like accuse servants of crimes they did not commit, and prosecute them to install fear in others. This was no solution to the problem, and they began to try other solutions. For a brief period, they looked to Ireland for a source of fresh labor source, but when the Irish peoples rights were protected, the enslavement of Irish people met an end. There was a lot of pressure to find a new labor force for this ???New World???, a need for cheap labor to meet the demand that this agricultural economy created.
The solution was the enslavement of a race whose own people had declared that they had no moral worth and were simply the property of the highest bidder. The Enslavement of the African race in the New Americas was a direct effect of the belief that unlike indentured servants, the African race was inferior because they had no individual rights or more so that they had no one to defend there individual rights and were from their landing regarded as property. The enslavement of a different race, would have resulted in opposition from there homelands, or in the Native Americans case, Local opposition and war. Another reason the enslavement of the Native Americans failed was because they were susceptible to European disease and many of them died because of it. This brings forth the separating factors for the Africans which were that they were being sold as slaves and property, from their homelands and these homelands were too far and too divided amongst each other to present any opposition to the enslavement of their African brothers and sisters. The Africans lack of moral worth, and there rights being stripped of them as soon as they left their land, directly indicates that they are a lesser people and creates a negative view towards all of their kind.
Frederick Douglas an escaped slave said that his people were persecuted due to the many years that slavery and the color of Africans had been associated. A lesser value of the African race was also instilled not only in the eyes of landowners but also in the eyes of the indentured servants that worked alongside them due to the fact that slave owners feared a unified slave force and the revolt that could quickly take place if the blacks and indentured servants united. The power bearing individuals the white community thus sought out to give rights and privileges like voting to non African workers. This further pushed down the African whole as a race, and separated them further from their non African co-workers.