The Beginning of American Slavery?


In The New York Times’ The 1619 Project it is proclaimed that slavery started in America, presumably the part of North America that became the United States, in 1619.  Like most things about this series that is a lie.  Most Indian tribes practiced slavery, usually involving war captives or men who had sold themselves into slavery.  The Spanish practiced slavery and began to colonize Florida in the Sixteenth Century.  The Spanish began the colonization of what is now New Mexico in 1598 and brought the institution of slavery with them.  The English colonists were Johnny-come-latelies when it came to the institution of slavery in what would become the US.

The date of 1619 is also misleading for another reason.  Until the 1660s most Africans imported to Virginia had the status of being indentured servants, not very different from white indentured servants, a common institution of the time.  An indentured servant was freed after his period of indenture.  The perpetual slavery of blacks was a later development in Virginia and took time to be codified in law, with the first Virginia slave code being enacted in 1705.

Slavery as an institution is as old as Man and it persists in the contemporary world under other names.  It deserves serious scholarly study and not the shoddy ideological point scoring of The 1619 Project.

Published in: on August 27, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Beginning of American Slavery?  
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