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Slavery as a whole is a sensitive subject within this nation, even 100 plus years out. Although at the time it seemed a necessity, it slowly grew in to something that many would say was taken advantage of. There are several economic factors leading in to African slavery in the United States. Indentured servitude, the nation's expansion in to the west, and slowed crop cultivation were just a few. The impact slavery held on our nation was great.

The history of slavery in the United States began soon after the English colonists first settled in Virginia. It lasted until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Before the extensive institution of chattel slavery, much labor was organized under a system of bonded labor known as indentured servitude. This lasted a period of four to seven years, and it was a method of using labor to pay the costs of transporting people to the colonies. An indentured servant was one who traded labor in turn for food, clothing, and housing. Since owners of indentured servants only had to supply basic necessities, it saved them extreme amounts of money in labor costs.

As the nation expanded west, so did the cultivation of cotton as well as the institution of slavery. The growth of the interstate slave trade played a role in the economic rebirth of previously derelict western states. The value of slaves subject to sale accelerated their demand. Life on the frontier was much different than that back east. Clearing trees and sowing crops on untilled land was harsh and grueling work. In Louisiana it was sugar, not cotton that was the main crop. Dealing with sugar cane was even more physically demanding than growing cotton.

As some states began to focus on mixed agriculture planters in those states had excess slave labor. Being that mixed agriculture wasn't as grueling, some began to sell enslaved labor to traders who took them to the south to assist in their expanding plantations. In order for these planters to still make a living even though their crops were dwindling, they were forced to sell their slaves. The internal slave trade and forced migration continued for another half-century. Tens of thousands of slaves were transported from the Upper South to the Deep South. Thousands of African American families were broken up in the sales, which first concentrated on male



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