Slavery In The Southern Colonies

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The institution of slavery grew to be a primary element in the economy of the southern colonies. Slavery's rapid growth was ignited by several important economic, geographic, and social factors. In the eyes of an early southern settler, each factor helped justify the use of slavery.

The settlers of the southern colonies depended on their plantations for their wealth and prosperity, thus making plantations an integral part of the early southern economy. The most prominent of southern settlers were plantation owners. Settlers discovered the economic success associated with slavery in the Spanish and Portuguese colonies and did not hesitate to incorporate the institution into their plantations. Therefore the decision to bring slavery to the southern colonies was primarily based on economic considerations.

Geographic elements also encouraged the growth of slavery in the southern colonies. The vast plantations required immense amounts of labor in order to obtain a large output of the particular crop, typically tobacco or cotton.

It was necessary to have many laborers working on the plantation in order to obtain the most profit possible. African slaves seemed to be the perfect solution.

Africans were not accepted socially and were tolerated only as pawns of free labor. As the indentured servant population in America decreased, the African population increased. Africans appeared to be the perfect replacement for the fading indentured servants. As more plantations became populated with African slaves, racism against blacks intensified. Blacks in Africa were frequently associated with barbarous behavior and sexual promiscuity. Some even associated blacks simply with pure evil. From a racist perspective, the enslavement of Africans for economic success seemed justified without question.

Slavery was the perfect solution for plantation owners who needed large amounts of labor to run their plantation. As the indentured servant population decreased, it is unlikely that the southern...