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The Evolution of Slavery

             The institution of slavery has long been in practice in the Americas but was first made common in Virginia where sailing traders would barter their "slaves" for food. Jamestown was the most notable of practicing such acts. The legend has been repeated endlessly that the first blacks in Virginia were "indentured servants," but there is no hint of this in the records. The legend grew up because the word slave did not appear in Virginia records until 1656, and statutes defining the status of blacks began to appear casually in the 1660s. The inference was then made that blacks called servants must have had approximately the same status as white indentured servants. Such reasoning failed to notice that Englishmen, in the early seventeenth century, used the work servant when they meant slave in our sense, and, indeed, white Southerners invariably used servant until 1865 and beyond. Slave entered the Southern vocabulary as a technical word in trade, law and politics. .
             At the time that future president Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743, most black slaves were born in the arid savannahs of Africa, very few of them were Christian of faith, and very few black slaves were involved in the cotton industry. Slavery at that time was mainly confined to eastern seaboard of the Americas near the Atlantic Ocean (the Carolinas and Georgia),and the slave population was not great enough in numbers to reproduce its numbers naturally, so in turn more slaves had to be "brought" over to the Americas to continue the labor intensive trade of the southern cotton industry. By the fall of the American Revolution in 1790, twenty percent of all living in the thirteen colonies was of African descent and the West Indies blacks comprised seven eighths of the islands" population of 529,000 and only less than three percent of blacks were free at the time. .
             By the time of president Thomas Jefferson's death in 1826, slavery had taken a dramatic course in American society.

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