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Slavery began in America in 1619 when twenty African American slaves were brought ashore by a Dutch ship. In North America, European settlers started turning to African American slaves throughout the seventeenth century. This was mostly because they were a cheaper and more ample labor supply than indentured servants, which were mostly the poorer Europeans.
The United States eventually ended up importing so many slaves that some historians have even estimated that anywhere from six to seven million African American slaves were imported into the United States in just the eighteenth century. The African continent lost much of its healthiest, most efficient, and most capable men and women because of this.
Most African American slaves were living on the southern coast working on indigo, tobacco, or rice plantations during the seventeenth and eighteenth century.
The fight to end slavery first began shortly after the American Revolution when many colonists began to call for an abolition to slavery. Most of the colonists who wanted slavery abolished were from the North where slavery was unimportant to the economy. They believed slavery should be abolished because they started to compare how the African American slaves were being treated to how the British had treated them during their rule.
After the revolution however, the constitution acknowledged the idea of slavery. The Constitution, for the purpose of taxing and the representation of a state in Congress, counted every slave in each state as three-fifths of a person. It also guaranteed the right to reclaim any person who was previously “held to service or labor”.
More than one-third of the population in the southern part of the United States was made up of African American slaves. Large plantations and small farms is where most of the slaves lived with most of the slave owners owning less than fifty slaves. Slaves had a system of restricted codes that governed their life and slave owners tried to make their slaves dependent on only them. Slaves were usually restricted from learning how to read and write and their movement and behavior was restricted as well.
A lot of the African American slave women were used for sexual purposes by their masters. If the slaves were obedient they were rewarded with favors and if they were defiant or disobedient they were punished brutally. Masters tried to keep a strict hierarchy among the African American slaves. This was to help keep the slaves divided so that they were less likely to organize riots against their master.
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