Slavery was not preconceived, but it was inevitable.This can be seen by the accidents and coincidences that occurred in the early 17th century.When a Dutch trader had been blown off course, thefirst ship of African slaves arrived in 1619 by accident.After the arrival in 1619, it was cheaper to buy indentured servants.This resulted in the population of slaves growing slowly atfirst.But, as the number of indentured servants decreased, more slaves were needed in the colonies because there was a labor shortage.In the late 17th and early 18th centuries statutes were being written to deal with the growing number of slaves.Virginia’s statutes illustrate this:
All servants imported and brought into this country, by sea or land, who
were not Christians in their native country, shall be accounted as slaves, and
as such be here bought and sold…
By the mid 18th century stereotypes were being created to rationalize slavery because slaves were present in every colony up and down the coast.Eventually rationalization led to a way of life for the English colonists.
The gradual shift from indentured servants to slaves began when a Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of 20 Africans for food because he had been blown off course.The colonists did not have any slaves prior to this occurrence; all the colonists had in terms of alternative labor had been indentured servants. This resulted in the labeling of the Africans as indentured servants.It also meant that African slaves had the social status of a poor Englishman, and one day could eventually be free.At the same time in the Chesapeake, production was booming and the colonists in the Chesapeake couldn’t get enough indentured servants no matter how fast they came over.This led to the supply of indentured servants drying up, and at the same time more slaves were becoming available.This happening left only on