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Power and Relationships in the Colonies

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As the Europeans moved beyond exploration and into colonization of the Americas, they brought changes to the land from who gets power, trade and personal property. However, those changes weren't easy as they started colonization. European goods, ideas and diseases brought challenges to creating a new colony.

While Europeans started to establish colonies, their societies also became segmented and divided among religious and racial lines. Most people in these societies were not free, they either labored as servants or as slaves doing work that was required to produce wealth for others. By the 1700's the colonies became a stark contrast between slavery and freedom. Everywhere in the American colonies, a demand for labor existed to grow in the New World such as cash crops and tobacco. This demand for labor led Europeans to rely on African Americans, and after the 1600's, slave trade increased.

The document titled Race, Gender and Servitude in Virginia Law, gives an idea on how power was established in the colonies. It also gave insight on who was the superior person of that time. Women during this time did not have a source of power and laws developed upon slaves and free women. The document reads "If any English women being free shall have a bastard child by any negro or mulatto, she pay the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, within one month after such bastard child be born, to the church wardens of the parish..." Free women had laws against them if they fornicated with those of African or mixed decent. This affected relationship between

African Americans and Europeans because it showed a sense of prejudice against African Americans. It made them look inferior. This also affected the relationship between man and women because it showed superiority between them. Obviously, the man had more power if they are able to come up with rules on who a woman was allowed to have relationship with.




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