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Freedom at the Cost of Slavery

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Samer Abu-Nasser

HIST 265

Professor Vox

June 25, 2010

Freedom at the cost of Slavery

"True, America was built on the land of the Indians and the back of African slaves." Replied my high school teacher to an inquisitively hostile yet scholarly question by a fellow student in a high school American history class. He then proceeded to explain a point much like Morgan's The American Paradox. Morgan supports the notion of the term freedom itself could be bound to the concept of slavery. The Article draws that American slavery (primarily consisting of those with an African Heritage) was a sunk cost in order to achieve a better whole. The American Paradox is "slavery and freedom, intertwined and interdependent, the rights of Englishmen supported on the wrongs of Africans." (Morgan 29). England at the time, much like the Spanish and French preceding them, were out to exploit, plunder and loot from new worlds upon the backs of their poor and powerless. Slavery played a major role in the path to freedom and human rights by allowing the new immigrants to set-up a new system free of direct monarchial rule and an economy based upon trade, production and merit.

Morgan suggests that slavery became entrenched in Virginia as a due cause of the inability to indenture their brotherly counterparts but slave Africans who were alien and had already lost their freedom. "There was a limit beyond which the abridgment of English liberties would have resulted not merely in rebellion but in protests from England and in the cutting off of the supply of further servants." (Morgan 25). Without slavery, the need for more indentured servants may have caused upheaval in England forever changing the course of history. Most likely resulting in the return of the colonies to England and the rights of man never discovered or built upon. It was the change and promise of new in the Americas that pushed so many to immigrate. Without slavery, the colonies never built, and the fall of England and Monarchy never to side.

It was upon the principles of hard work, achievement and innovation that the new world offered and a new arena of competition not spoiled so much by politics and bloodline. Nevertheless, ones of poor and hopeless backgrounds out to create products and a new life out of plentiful resources in a new land. The African labor allowed farmers to realize gains, control their own destiny and those around them. "The seventeenth century has sometimes been thought of as the day of the yeoman farmer in Virginia; but in many ways a stronger case can be made for the eighteenth century as the time when the yeoman farmer came into his own, because slavery relieved the small man of the pressures that had been reducing him to continued servitude" (Morgan 28). Morgan reveals that slavery was actually the driver behind the first of the free. This resulted as a cause of the subsided pressures of servitude levied upon the freedmen due to a new source of labor - slavery.

Although it may seem otherwise, England needed the colonies more than the colonies needed them from the start. England knew if it had not established a foothold in the new world that it would fall back in the European conquest race and face destruction by religion, economic power or otherwise. "In the 1660s... in an attempt to attract English indentured servants to a colony that had a poor reputation and was short of labor, the Virginia legislature made terms of service as attractive as possible to English immigrants; in turn, the colony came to depend on African laborers, whom it did not need to placate and whom it could enslave for life." (Hillyer 1). The English needed their colonies to be successful and influential, without labor, their diminishing numbers would end their undertaking. With the constant source of laborers provided by African Slave-Trade Ships there was no worry of building the infrastructure necessary to build sustainable colonies. "Slavery and staple crops went together. The slave societies raised sugar, rice, or tobacco for sale in Europe." (Murrin 81). All these products shipped to Europe under the British crown included a good amount of the profits cut to the commanding authority and its hierarchy in the form of tariffs and other methods. Later to spur revolt and inspire legends to build the principles that found America.

Bacon's Rebellion was born of lone poor Englishmen without education, surviving family (wife and children) or work ethic. These Freedmen were paid a very poor wage where getting out of debt to your master was practically inexistent let alone the currency to spare food. As noted by an Indentured servant in Virginia in 1623 "There is indeed some fowl, but we are not allowed to go and get it, but must work hard both early and late for a mess of water gruel and a mouthful of bread and beef. A mouthful of bread for a penny loaf must serve for four men which is most pitiful." (Frethorne) One can see that the colonies held harsh conditions even for those native to the English land. These classes of people, deprived from a good standard of living, were uneasy, had begun to show signs of rebellion and civil war. Essentially, it was African Labor or Slavery that had saved the

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