British America was built with the help of such social institutions as slavery. As we know, the slaves were members of Africa’s Indian and dark-skinned populations. It is important to note that this was due to the economic factor and the benefits Europeans derived from purchasing Africans. Based on this thesis, we can say that it was slavery that created the race, and more specifically, the economic benefits created the racial division. It is necessary to analyze this position in more detail to understand how slavery contributed to the racial divisions and their consequences.
Slavery originated in the Americas through the so-called “triangular trade. This term refers to the transatlantic trade exchange between Africa, Europe, and the New World (Lecture 3: Contrasting Colonies, Part II). Europeans brought textiles, weapons, and metals to Africa, selling or trading them for captives, who were then shipped as “live goods” from West African ports to North and South America. Many slaves worked on American plantations growing sugar cane, rice, cotton, and tobacco, valuable commodities for which there was always a demand in Europe.
Most of today’s African Americans are descended from Angola, Ghana, and Senegal. Angolans. Angolans were about a quarter of the slaves brought to North America (Alexander Falconridge Describes Conditions on and English Slaver). The Kwanza River, flowing into the Atlantic Ocean near the Angolan capital Luanda, was an important trade route in those days. The people who lived on its banks were most often captured and enslaved, and most often, the captors were their own countrymen, who then sold the captives to European slave traders.
Those captured were taken to the port and held in custody until they were sold. Future slaves were then shipped to America on ships. Cheap (virtually free) labor from Africa was the key to survival for the American colonies, which declared independence from the British Empire in 1783. By 1860, just before the Civil War, American labor was the largest financial asset of the American economy: it was worth more than all other American industries and railroads (Alexander Falconridge Describes Conditions on and English Slaver). The Virginia slave code equated slaves with real property (Virginia Slave Codes). The owner had the right to kill a slave if he refused to obey his master (Advertisements for Runaway Slaves). The federal government left the issue of slavery to the state authorities, which could either legalize or abolish it.
Slavery had long been a common practice throughout Europe. Africans were considered the strongest workers, and they also helped to grow many crops on their lands. Europeans saw this as an opportunity to make more money. Greed eventually led to the development of African slavery in America. Sugar, tobacco and cotton were major commodities worldwide. When these became plentiful in the “New World,” there was a need for labor as well as the slave trade. The benefits of slavery became increasingly apparent. Planters could keep Africans in slavery for life and enslave their offspring. Compared to white servants, planters could demand a greater intensity of labor from their African slaves and control them through cruel and draconian measures, which were enshrined in slave codes modeled on the Caribbean. In the southern states, most slaves were employed in agriculture, while in the northern U.S., slaves served as domestic servants and skilled laborers. Although slavery in the North was gradually abolished before the Civil War, the people of the industrial states enjoyed the economic benefits of slavery.
Our forefathers also indirectly encouraged slavery because many early government decisions leaned toward those who owned slaves having the right to vote and more power. Ultimately slavery was a byproduct of greed and power. Wage slaves and other forms of legal slavery continued to exist among white immigrants to this country. Initially, Africans were definitively different from their white counterparts and faced longer terms of service and harsher punishments, but like the white servants removed from English slums, these first Africans in North America could also work only a certain number of years before becoming free landowners themselves (Indigenous America; The American Yawp). Slavery was inherently racially segregated because of the commonality of those who made up the majority – black, brown, or red people. Africans and Native Americans made up the majority of those who were bought and sold as part of the slave trade in British America.
Thus, we can conclude that race was not itself intended to create slavery. In other words, if there had been no economic gain, there would have been no decision to procure African Americans, transport them, and use them as labor. Thus, racial segregation arose solely as a consequence of the economic situation; that is, it was slavery that created race. This explains why, for example, the Egyptians or Malians were not used as slaves because they were united in large and strong states. Along with this, they are also racially different from Europeans, but the point is that it was not economically or politically profitable to buy citizens of Egypt, for example.