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Hariet Tubman and the Underground Railroad

            Until the late 17th century the trading of slave paled in importance compered to that of White servants. Negroes were not initially introduced instead of white servants but simply in addition to indentured servants and their terms were then fixed by local legislation. The advantages of White servants were obvious inearly on, they had technical skills, most knew the language, and they were accustomed to the ways of western civilization. Negros were undoubtedly second-best at that point, imported only to help to fill the menial labor deficiencies of the time. Although owners, as early as the 1640's, considered Negroes and their children as slaves the term was not officially used until 1656 when it was mentioned in the Virginia laws of that year. By 1662 mulatto children, and all children, of slave mothers were to follow the status of their mother (Moore, 9) .
             By the 18th century the south increasingly needed slaves to carry on their way of life. The plantation required a large number of simple, repetitive tasks; for or such tasks to be successfully completed all ages and sexes were used save only the infants and extremely ill or elderly. (Moore, 58). In the south, two major types of crops, among many others, could be sold for money and that required the help that slavery provided; these were toacco and cotton. Cotton was to be picked, cleaned and de-seeded in order to make ready for spinning into cloth for clothing. Tobacco was to be harvested to smoke and treat illnesses. (McDonough, 26). Without a great number of slaves, the owners of such big planations would not be able to mass produce the crops needed to maintain their income, thus the economy of the south would soon crumble. The social stucture of the southern states was, undoubted, one-sided; the elite society consisted of planters, and learned professions, the middle class were small planters, merchants and lesser professionals, the lower class was dived first into yeomen and artisans and then laborers and servants, and the "peasants" were the slaves (Moore, 129).

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