The Change from Servitude to Slavery
Although Bacon’s Rebellion didn’t quite succeed in toppling the Virginia Elite, it did alert the leaders of the potential for a union of poor whites and blacks to rise up against them. (pg.79) There had to be some changes. (pg.80) The first steps were to reduce the social tension among whites. (pg.80) To do this, several things had to happen. New laws curbed land speculation and improved poorer whites’ access to it. Blacks were placed in greater subjection, and the abolition of the monopoly held by the Royal Africa Company increased the supply of slaves available to the land owners. (pg.81) As free blacks faced further subjection and new restrictions on their legal and political rights, ties between white and black laborers were strained. Some of the new laws that were enacted tended to favor whites, and as many blacks lost what little freedom they had, those white peoples now benefited from preferential treatment. (pg.81) Blacks were prohibited from carrying arms, inter-racial cohabitation, and owning land. These new laws ultimately gave masters unrestricted power over their slaves. (pg.81) Other factors strengthened the division of the labor pool. The economy in England was improving thus reducing the number of white people emigrating to the Colonies and producing an increased need for African labor. (pg.81) Along with a dwindling white labor force and the increase in the supply of slave labor, planters began using more and more slaves. This number continued to rise over the years until by 1720 there were over 27,000 slaves in Virginia, whereas in Maryland in 1680, servants outnumbered slaves five to one. (pg.82) After a time, the use of slavery and this type of social structure began to feel commonplace and unexceptional to the whites of this period. Several generations had passed and along with better food and living conditions, life expectancy was increased, the women’s population grew, marriages...
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