Indentured Servitude In The United States Essay

Throughout history many governments have had a strong hold on the economy and their practices. Slavery was a very inhuman practice that greatly affected the US. Back during The New Nation Era, not even the government could resist against the practice of slavery. The institution of slavery was stronger than the US government. The institution became so bound to the government that their had to be underlying roots to how slavery started, due to how strong this bond was, and what it took to destroy it. After the American Revolution, the US was divided into two economic powerhouses, the north and the south.

The north was more predominantly producing ships, smithing and manufactured woodwork. Meanwhile, the south was more focused on agriculture and farming. This elevated the demand for labor, more in the south than the north, due to the extreme potential in the economy. This demand for labor was fulfilled through a system called indentured servitude, “Indentured servitude was a common way for poor European immigrants in search of a better life to defray the cost of their transatlantic journey, by signing a contract binding them to a certain number of years of labor in the New World….

Indentured servants were not paid cash, but, in addition to the ship voyage, received food, clothing, and housing from their masters. ” This system seems to give both sides an advantage, The demand for labor was fulfilled and the need for a better life was found, or so they thought. In reality, Indentured servitude is not so far off of slavery, “In practice, indentured servants were largely at the mercy of their masters, and the institution is widely regarded as having been only a few steps away from slavery.

While most indentured servants successfully fulfilled the terms of their contracts and went on to become independent farmers, wage laborers, or business owners, a large number also died on the long ocean voyage or from disease and poor working conditions in America before their contracts were up. ” This demonstrates the falsehood of this system and how it was just a few steps away from slavery, and how the institution could be abused without government conflict and eventually changed into slavery.

Some people argued that slavery wasn’t that bad and it gave the south a massive benefit, “They argue that slavery gave the South a social system and a civilization with a distinct class structure, political community, economy, ideology, and a set of psychological patterns and that as a result, the South increasingly grew away from the rest of the nation and from the rapidly developing sections of the world. ” This point was the focal point for people in the south that supported slavery. That it kept things in order and allowed society to thrive economically.

This of course did not take into account the inhumane acts that the institution presented for example the triangle slave trade. The slave trade exploded as the colonial economics thrived, and through this developed the triangle slave trade. The triangle slave trade was the main source of slaves from the Spanish and Portuguese. The merchants of the colonists would leave the US with goods and tradable material and return with slaves from the Spanish and Portuguese, “Enslaved Africans became part of the international trade network of the period used extensively by the Spanish and the Portuguese in the Americas.

The English became involved with the Slave Trade and the pattern of Triangular Trade across the Atlantic was formed. ” This highlights the growth of slavery and how profitable the industry became, They go with things to sell and trade and they bring back labor for more goods to be produced. This trade system was very easily depended on as it created a massive economic loop th that can be used over and over, supporting the demand of slavery and the supply of raw materials.

This new type of labor that the economy thrived on made ideology change significantly. This made it so no one would bat an eye when a slave was treated wrongly, they thought of slaves as lesser of themselves because they do all of the work. This ideology condoned poor conditions from the transportation to the treatment from their owners. “Southern plantation owners defined slavery not as an institution of brute force, but of responsible dominion over a less fortunate, less evolved people. Plantation owners in order to justify that it was ethical to treat people this way had to get into this mindset that they are lesser of a person then them. This mentality lasted for a while until people realized that slavery was morally wrong. Slavery in the north was not as important as it was to the people in the south. In the south Agriculture needed a lot of labor which didn’t require that much of an education. Meanwhile, the sophisticated labor, like ship building and smithing, in the north required educated slaves.

This opened the eyes of people in the north that slaves are more than just workers, and it was unjustifiable to treat these people this way. States in the north started advocating for the abolishment of slavery. This led to many conflicts between states that tried to be resolved through acts, for example the Kansas-Nebraska act. The Kansas-Nebraska act was the first attempt to keep slavery alive in Kansas and Nebraska by passing an act where the two states govern on how they handle slavery.

This was a sign of splitting off the central government because it gave two states such power to govern for themselves. This was one of the first signs that slavery would cause massive conflict down the road and how the government itself could not control the institution. Shortly after Abraham Lincoln dropped out of politics, he greatly advocated against slavery and the Kansas and Nebraska act in one of his speeches, “Lincoln responded to some of the arguments for allowing the slavery option within Kansas and Nebraska.

Lincoln proceeded to address the morality of slavery and the implications of the views of the proponents of slavery which included looking at slaves as only property, not as human beings. Finally, Lincoln gave his thoughts on what the present and future implications of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the underlying philosophy, were having and would have on the United States, as opposed to what had been the trends in the United States prior to 1854…

With the success the Southern Democrats had in gaining support for and passing the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Lincoln believed it was time to take steps to insure that any further attempts to spread slavery would be stopped. ” This quote explains the active movement against slavery and challenges the Kansas-Nebraska act through protesting and promoting the idea of anti-slavery movements. This was the beginning of the movement to resist the institution of slavery through politics which underly failed. Kansas – Nebraska remained “divided” from the US due to conflict.

This called for a repair from the government called The Compromise of 1850. The Compromise of 1850 was a sad attempt to try to appease both sides of the argument. The Compromise of 1850 consisted of 5 laws that tried to settle down the crisis between the north and the south, “the compromise sought to meet both Northern interests in the expansion of the United States into additional free territory and Southern interests in offering the possibility of the extension of slavery into the territories and in protecting slave owners’ human property through a strengthened fugitive slave law.

The final compromise allowed for the admission of California, the usage of popular sovereignty to determine the slavery question in the territories, the end of the slave trade in the nation’s capital, and the passage of a stringent Fugitive Slave Act. ” The Compromise stated that the Fugitive Slave Act was to be amended and the slave trade in Washington, D. C. , would be abolished. The institution of slavery still kept hold due to the fact that it really didn’t change much. The compromise tried to isolate the crisis which only caused more quarrel, “However, the issue of slavery remained unsettled at best.

The nation continued to expand west as American settlers entered lands previously controlled by American Indians or foreign powers. The admission of slave states was routinely balanced by that of free states, so that no one region overtook the other in power and influence. Nevertheless, conflict arose. ” This quote shows how much control the government had over the situation, the helpless attempts to end the dispute over slavery. This was only going to change through a civil war. The Civil War sparked, a war between the north and south had pitched its way into american history.

Many people think the war was just about freeing slaves, but it was much more than that, “Though it seemed fairly straightforward for President Lincoln and many Americans to declare that slavery was a moral wrong, its abolition proved a much more complicated and perilous process. The Civil War was not begun to free the slaves, but to save the Union”. This quote demonstrates the motive behind regaining government control over the institution and the slaves being free were only a side effect.

The significance about this is that they could not filter their arguments through the government, there had to be blood shed to settle the quarrel that was beyond the government’s civil control. In conclusion, many things such as the KansasNebraska act, The Compromise of 1850, and the Civil war all contributed to the downfall of the institution of slavery. Slavery was such a hard hitting thing to happen to the US, enough that it tested its own central power. It tested its central power through the government not having complete control over the institution of slavery.