One major reason why slaves and servants were obtained and held by the slave owners was due to their importance and contribution to the economy of certain states and nations (Rodriguez, J. 2007). It has been said that the first labor workers were first referred to as indentured servants before the term “slave” was adopted to refer to the laborers. The great growth of the agricultural sector during the 18th century resulted to great economic growth in Europe and America and the farming of different crops in large scale by the land-owners during the 18th century led to a booming export business in relation to the agricultural products.
The agricultural productivity increased over time, which then allowed the farm owners to export the farm products. This attracted many people into farming due to the huge financial benefits that the land-owners obtained from selling their farm products. This made agricultural farming a very lucrative sector. For instance, the tobacco farming in the South America’s Maryland and Virginia was very successful in the 18th century. This then promoted the legalization of African slavery in these regions (southern states), a situation that made the Southern regions the foundation of the agrarian economy.
Though the slaves and the servants were either Black Africans, a few number were whites, or Native Americans, an African-based institution of slavery was adopted. This meant that the institution promoted a slavery system where the majority of slaves were expected to be black Africans. The whites could then provide labor to the masters as indentures servants. The system therefore favored the whites against the blacks. While the blacks were owned for life by the slave owners, the whites could be freed after serving as indentured servants for a given period of time.
The black Africans were overworked and suffered under the slavery system, as compared to the whites or the Native Americans. Several reasons can be attributed to this system, where the majority of slaves were black Africans while the whites and the Native Americans very few. Having African as slaves became more advantageous for the slave/land owners than having the whites or the Native Americans. One of the reasons was that, the native Americans were not as productive as the African slaves. The land owners therefore proffered to buy and maintain black Africans as slaves because they were very productive.
This in turn increased the financial benefits from the farm products’ sales. Due to the great growth in the agricultural sector and industrial revolution in the 18th century, the labor agricultural practices in the farms were very intensive. There was need for the land owners to keep increasing their farms productivity. The Native Americans who were used as slaves to provide labor were unable to cope with the labor intensive agricultural practices that the land owners put into place. The landowners in their efforts to solve this problem preferred to obtain and own black slaves who could cope with the labor intensive agricultural practices.
In addition to this, the Native American slaves were very susceptible to European diseases, a situation that minimized the productivity of the farms. The Native Americans proximity to the escape avenues was greater, as compared to that of the black slaves. It was the desire of the land owners to ensure that they obtained and maintained an adequate number of slaves in their farms or homes so that the required productivity could be achieved. Another factor that made the landowners to prefer African slaves as compared to the Native Americans was the lucrative African slave trade in the 18th century.
The establishment of slave trade routes was very essential in encouraging the growth of the slave trade, which led to the availability of a large number of slaves in the market or during the slave auctions. This made it very easy for the landowners or masters to obtain a large number of black slaves who they could use to maximize productivity in the farms. Apart from the economic gains received from the production and sale of farm products, slavery was very beneficial to the slave traders.
As earlier stated, the establishment of slave trade routes such as the Trans-Atlantic slave trade led to great growth of the slave trade. This made the trade to be very lucrative for the slave traders who traveled to Africa, captured and transported the slaves to America, Europe, and Asia . The high demand for cheap and free labor in America and Europe as a result of industrial revolution and agricultural growth encouraged the transportation of a large number of black Africans from Africa to Europe and America in order to meet the high demand for slaves.
The slave traders through the then lucrative slave trade reaped great financial benefits from selling and auctioning of slaves in the market. The great economic growth through agricultural production and the Industrial revolution continued to increase the demand for slaves, triggering an increase in the number of slaves that kept flowing into the market. Some individuals became very wealthy and successful slave traders, traveling many miles across the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and the Sahara Desert to capture the slaves and sell them in the slave markets.
The growth of slave trade can be seen by the large number of black Africans flowing into America, Asia, and Europe. The financial benefits that the slave traders obtained assisted them to invest more in the slave trade, which included improving the efficiency of the transportation means so that it would be easier and faster to transport a large number of black Africans who would be sold as slaves. The trade was very enticing to the traders, and hence new traders were attracted to the trade.
The collaboration of some Africans with the slave traders also made it easy for the traders to obtain slaves from Africa. Another reason why slaves and servants were used in the 18th century was the legalization of the system. For instance, in America’s thirteen colonies, slavery was adopted as a legal institution. This made it very easy for the slave owners to obtain slaves and use slaves as they pleased without being victimized whereby legalizing slavery promoted the growth of the slave trade.
The inadequacy and competition for land and territories in countries such as England led to some English farmers searching for new places where they could settle. The farmers who desired to go and settle in America were faced with the challenge of the lack of transportation to America. The farmers were pushed away from their farms due to overcrowding, livestock farming expansion, and land enclosure. Consequently, many English farmers who had been pushed away from their farms decided to go and settle in America, which was then experiencing great growth in the agricultural sector and industrialization.
The American land owners were in dire need of laborers, especially if they could provide cheap or free labor. The land owners therefore saw this as a good opportunity to exploit the displaced English men. The land owners then offered those who wanted to move to America transport, only on the condition that the men could serve them as laborers in their farms for several years. This can be considered as a form of indentured servant system since the English men were willing to serve the land owners in exchange for transport into America.
They were expected to work for the land owners for several years before they were set free to settle independently. The men could therefore buy their passage right from the American landowners by working for them as servants for about five to seven years. This system of serving the landowners was very common with the whites, as compared to the black Africans who were bought, owned, and worked without any compensation. The black slaves worked for the land owners without gaining any favors from the landowners.