Essay on Labor in Early Settlement of America - Essay Prowess

Essay on Labor in Early Settlement of America

Essay on Labor in Early Settlement of America



During the end of 15th century, the demand for labor was high in the in American to the extent that most individuals from India, Germany, Africa and other countries were migrating to America in order to meet the labor demands. Others were fleeing from their home countries due to oppression in the form of forced labor and religious persecution while others were driven by the urge of learning new languages. However, most of these migrants could not afford their passage costs from their mother countries to America, and this forced them to enter into agreements that they would sacrifice themselves to be sold for some years after their arrival. The agreement formed the basis of the emergence of forced labor and indentured servitude. Apparently, during the 1600s, this labor trends became more restrictive and formal to the extent that slavery had become the order of the day in North America[1]. This paper pays high attention to the analysis of the aspects which contributed to the development of slavery and a discussion of how and why these labor transformations occurred.

The first factor which contributed to the development of the slave trade is the poverty and desperation of the migrants[2]. Most of the migrants could not afford to raise the passage fee which mostly ranged from six to eight sterling pounds per head. Lack of these amounts made the migrants agree to suffer as servants, in the hands of the masters who would pay for their freights. The old migrants who could not manage to work were to sacrifice their young children to work for the masters for several years in order to compensate their passage costs and those of their parents. In addition, the free food and the small wages that migrates were getting from their masters contributed them to be used as slaves. The opportunity gave these masters the authority over the foreigners for long durations leading to the emergence of a culture of slavery in America.

Consecutively, some migrate especially those from Germany opted to be sold as servants in order to have the opportunity of understanding the American language, character and survival tactics, that they would adopt after completing their terms of service[3]. In addition, they are less costly compared to other men and maids who serve the American masters for an annual contract. To be precise, these migrates` annual wages range from three to four sterling pounds per head, which is much cheaper compared to free servants whose annual wages amounts to fourteen sterling pounds per person. In addition, the masters who buy these servants have the authority of selling them to other masters. However, this is not possible to entirely free servants who have the authority of breaching the contract terms and conditions especially when they disagree with their masters.

Moreover, the tendency of these migrants accepting to renew their periods of service contributed to the formalization of slavery in the North America. However, the tendency of these migrants accepting to renew their periods of servant hood is contributed by numerous factors such the small wages that they were receiving from their masters, free food and clothes, lack of alternative means of serving in the foreign land, fear of going back to their homeland due to their past adverse experiences among others. Indians, for example, faced religious persecution, murder, rape, starvation and other atrocities of total war from the Spaniards. The Spaniards were hardened and determined to see Indian fields filled with human blood; they killed without distinction of age or sex; they strived to spare no one; children at their mothers` breasts, their mothers, fathers and men and women of grey hair. Most opted to suffer in the hands of the American masters rather than going back into their mother country[4]. The masters then took advantage of the condition of tormented Indians and extended their mistreatments through making them their servants.

Racial discrimination also contributed to the emergence of slavery in America. Most of the blacks (Negroes) were being mandated to serve as slaves throughout their lives, and the possibility of them getting their liberty was minimal. It was the authority of the purchaser of the black servant to decide the latter`s fate, which was to give or sell him or her to another master or to set him free. In addition, buying black servants was so cheap that each master could afford to have one whenever he or she feels like. At the onset of 17th century, the number of black servants had increased after their reproduction with their fellow blacks or due to the impregnation of female blacks by their masters. The children who were being born were treated as slaves as well[5].

In addition, most American tycoons were conversant with these job arrangements since they had the authority of manipulating and controlling the situation. Most were benefitting by having their work done at lower costs and the culture of having authority over their servants. Thus, these masters could not negate at all costs any attempt of preventing slavery. This is why most slaves could not succeed in any petition that they raise against slavery. Most slaves had raised their woes about the harsh treatments that they receive from their masters, but most of them were baselessly turned down. They constantly complained that their children were being taken many miles away from them where they rarely happen to see them again[6].

Moreover, the demand for military officers was high, and most Americans could not allow their young men to join the military due to the risks of death and injury that was associated with it at that time. At this era, most countries strived to make their military department strong in order to make it possible for it to conquer other nations, in the hand of colonizing them and scrambling of resources in those nations. Most slaves were being required to join military in order to empower the revolutionary army. For example, the enslaved blacks were being forced into the military and promised to get their liberty after serving at certain duration. However, their promises were being betrayed as most masters would opt to re-enslave the blacks who had fought in the revolutions[7].


It is, therefore, evident that numerous factors contributed the development of slavery in North America. Some of those factors include the poor and desperate states of the migrates, the desire of authority, and cheap labor by the American masters, the urge of empowering the military army, the influx of many foreigners who wanted to settle and survive in America, racial discrimination among others.


Bartolome De Las Casas. Indefence of the Indians: Oregon state university, 1550.

Felix Holbrook & PeterBestes. Slave petitions, 1777.

Peter Kalm. Unfree labor, 1753.

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