Originating in England, young women and men gained passage to the New World through the practice of indentured servitude. As indentured servants, their passage would be paid in return for, four to seven years of work as either domestic servants (women) or as field hands (men). Once indenture servants were freed many had nothing. Still, indentured servitude was the most prominent influx of immigration to the New World for many years.
Social problems arose from indentured servitude. When men finished their working dues they were left
without land, employment, families, and other prospects. This caused an immense population of young single men, this caused social unrest. These problems were brought to a lull in the 1670’s when birth rates and therefore poverty and overpopulation decreased in England. A better life in England slowed the rate at which the British immigrated to the New World because there was less of a need to flee. The few people that did immigrate to the New World avoided the drab economic opportunities of the South, causing a lack in labor and spurring the slave trade. triangular_trade_map.gif

Slavery was not wide-spread in the South until the mid-seventeenth century- commerce in slaves grew up between the Caribbean islands and the southern colonies. The steadily increasing demand for slaves in North America steadily expanded the transatlantic slave trade. With the growth of the slave trade, the growth of the horrors of this practice grew as well. The “Middle Passage ” was the trip the slaves took from Africa to the America’s in order to be bought and sold. On the “Middle Passage” tons of slaves were crammed into dark quarters bellow the ships deck, chained, and mistreated. Conditions were so bad that many died from physical stress and strain, slave_deck.jpgwhile all the others were psychologically damaged for life. Keep in mind that only 5% of the slaves traded in the America’s were sold to the New World colonies and only the extremely wealthy could own slaves. In 1697, the Royal African Company (a monopoly that dominated the slave trade) was demolished leaving trade open to competition; of course this caused prices to fall and the number of slaves bought and sold greatly increased. In 1700, around 25,000 African slaves lived in the colonial colonies. By 1760, blacks had almost totally replaced white indentured servants in the South’s work force.

White attitude toward people of color enforced the rigidity and validity of the sLincoln_Slavery.jpglave trade.
In the early eighteenth century slavery became legaland colonial assemblies began to pass “slave codes ” which granted white “masters” as much absolute authority over their slaves as imaginable.