The Creation of the Southern Plantation Colonies and the Use of Slave Labor
Slavery was introduced in the United States in the 18th century to work in tobacco and cotton plantations. Slave labor was concentrated in the southern states of the country, such as South Carolina, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. However, many states in the Northern region passed laws that abolished the use of slaves (Steckel, & Rose, 2002, p. 10). The climate in the northern states did not support agriculture, hence, there was no significant need for slave labor (Zanger, 2003, p. 26). Most of the slaves were used as laborers, domestics and farm hand workers. During the American Revolution, British freed some of the slaves if they agreed to fight for them. In 1807, importation of more slaves was banned. However, internal slave trade continued.
The Southern states depended on agriculture while the Northern part had high developed industry (Steckel, & Rose, 2002, p. 11). The two parts differed in terms of slavery policies in the country as the South advocated for preservation of slaves – they relied on them in their economy while the North championed abolition of slavery policies. The differences in the policies between Northern and Southern regions led to the Civil War in the 19th century after Abraham Lincoln became a president. The southerners broke away from Confederacy in order to maintain slave policies (Zanger, 2003, p. 31).
During the Civil War, slave labor was disrupted throughout the nation and many escaped leading to population re-distribution. Slavery led to the growth of evangelical churches, such as African Methodist Episcopal and Baptist Churches. Many people of African American origin converted to Islam (Steckel, & Rose, 2002, p. 19). The owners of the slaves also sired children with slaves leading to a new group of people known as mulattos. Since almost two thirds of the southerners did not own slaves, there was low economic growth in the region as compared to the northern. Slaves also introduced foodstuffs in the American society (Zanger, 2003, p. 34).
Steckel, R., & Rose, J. (2002). The backbone of history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zanger, M. (2003). The American history cookbook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.