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The History of Slavery in Virginia - Essay Example

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Slavery was not a new phenomenon to the English men. During the 1660’s period just after the civil war in Virginia, there was a high demand in terms of labor as compared to the availability…
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The History of Slavery in Virginia
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The History of Slavery in Virginia Upon their arrival at Jamestown, the Indigenous Americans were not enslaved instantly. Slavery was not a new phenomenon to the English men. During the 1660’s period just after the civil war in Virginia, there was a high demand in terms of labor as compared to the availability of the servants. As a result, the colony of Virginia made some amendments in their laws, stating that the black people were to be retained in the state as slaves permanently. The Africans could not communicate with each other because they were illiterate and they all spoke different languages (Morgan 12).
During the initial days, the black people were treated as slaves. They performed their duties just as normal citizens. Others even had properties to their names. A good number of them resided on plantations. It is during the 1660’s after the laws regarding slavery for the blacks were enacted that the situation for the blacks in Virginia turned to a new phases (Journal of the House of Delegates 15).
Slave trade in Virginia went on for about 200 years, until around 1808 where the activity faced a ban in accordance to the constitution of the US in Article I, Section 9. Although the issue of slavery was put to an end according to the court’s decision, the government was in support of slavery (Journal of the House of Delegates 27).
Tobacco was Virginia’s chief agricultural product, and it was a success for the state. Virginia saw the ban of slaves as an opportunity for the state since they had slaves in excess because of their fast rate of reproduction. They knew they could make money out of the ban. This is so because the shortage in supply would result to an increase in demand for the slaves, and so Virginia would sell them to the southern states at an increased price.
However, there were several attempts by the slaves to rebel against their masters. In each attempt of rebellion made by the slaves, the government would immediately enforce the laws to become more severe as a way of punishing them and preventing them from assembling. It was through that activity that the government of Virginia would ensure to reduce the threat of having the slaves rebelling against them (Morgan 35).
It was during 1831 that Nat Turner facilitated a successful slave rebellion. This was by far the biggest rebellion ever experienced in the history of United States. The rebellion was motivated by the success of the revolution that was experienced in Haiti in 1790 that saw the French Rule being overthrown. Turner was inspired by the Haitian achievement and did not want to settle for less (Journal of the House of Delegates 23).
The result of the rebellion led to many slaves who were not associated with the rebellion in any way to lose their lives. It also resulted to the laws being enforced to be extremely harsh for the slaves (Morgan 5). Turner’s rebellion was a success as opposed to the previous attempts, which failed simply because most of the slaves were born in Virginia, and they grew up with the knowledge of English therefore, they could be able to interact with each other quite well, and on top of that, they knew all the customs.
As time passed, the slaves equipped themselves with skills in various fields, for instance, carpentry, blacksmith, among others. This in turn made them to have an increased urge to rebel. Turner’s rebellion was therefore embraced by most of them, and with their skill and acquired knowledge, they were able to see the rebellion happen successfully.

Works Cited
Journal of the House of Delegates, of the State of Virginia, for the Adjourned Session, 1863: Doc No. I. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Academic Affairs Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000.
Morgan, Edmund S. American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York: Norton, 1975. Read More
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