American Slavery American Freedom Book Review

American Slavery American Freedom Book Review - 1 A Review...

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1 A Review of American Slavery American Freedom By Esaias Tong I. Introduction This book review examines the evidence when Morgan attempts to ‘marry slavery and freedom’ 1 by examining slavery in colonial Virginia through economical, social and political lens; he succeeds in proving his point of explaining the seeming contradiction of American slavery and American freedom through concrete evidence. II. Analysis A. Thesis Morgan’s main purpose of the book was to analyze the history of slavery of early colonial Virginia as it was ‘the largest in slaveholder’ 2 in the American colony; also examining how the formation of republican equality views produced leaders of the American Revolution whose dedication to freedom was seemingly contradicted by their ownership of large amount of black slaves. B. Evidence The author shows that in spite of the good intentions of the founders of the Virginia colony, its economic life lastly became focused on tobacco production, a crop that requires intense labor and considerable land. He pointed out that although Virginians themselves noticed that they were too dependent on tobacco, ‘everyone, unfortunately, wanted to make tobacco’ 3 , because tobacco proved too profitable to them, providing them with a stable economic foundation. Although there were some attempts to reform the economy, without the King or the English merchants heavy financial support, they were unable to diversify their exports to curb short-term reform losses,
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2 and ultimately their economy. 4 The problem with only cultivating tobacco is that it required a considerable amount of manpower. The tobacco needed to buy American freedom was produced by slave labor. As Morgan put it, ‘The Americans bought their independence with slave labor’. 5 As tobacco planters were unwilling to hard labor themselves, planters desired indentured servants the most in early colonial Virginia. 6 When supply of indentured servants decreased and freed servants lived longer to form a social class without property 7 , it threatened the social order and stability of early colonial Virginia. The importation of working African slaves was apparently the solution to gain freedom for these men. This catalyzed the alignment of the freemen with the exploiters. 8
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American Slavery American Freedom Book Review - 1 A Review...

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