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Development of Slavery in the Northeastern Colonies

The development of slavery in the northeastern colonies of the United States had its origins in the general slave trade of the world. The European slave trade so essential to crops such as sugarcane in British and French colonies abroad was transported to American soil with the colonization of the original British holdings in America. It was not until cotton became such a cash crop in the southernmost colonies, however, that the slave trade became so fully entrenched in the entire economic well being of what were to become the United States of America. Slavery, as it evolved in the United States, became largely a southern "problem," because it came to bolster the interests of the cotton planters of the South to a far greater extent than it supported a northern, more urban economy based on manufacturing.

The northern colonies were actively trading in slaves in eighteenth century New England. Newport, Rhode Island, was a principal port of entry. From the period 1672 to 1760, slave trade in the northern colonies rose steadily, despite the objections of some colonial governors. In fact, colonial legislatures imposed duties on slave importations, but royal instructions (in 1731) forbade governors consenting to such acts. The action of S.C., 1760, in prohibiting the slave trade entirely was disallowed by the King Council. After 1690, slave importation mounted sharply.

The northeastern part of the United States saw numerous slave plots and insurrections during the period 1712 to 1740, thus setting the stage for northern attitudes that perhaps the continuation of slavery was more trouble than it was worth--literally. As will be shown, the slaves employed in the northern United States were artisans and servants--occupations not lending themselves to the "gang system" of servitude. The cotton picking of the South would provide them with a far wider yolk of suppression than the more singular occupational roles of the North. No...

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Development of Slavery in the Northeastern Colonies. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:50, May 22, 2019, from