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There was legalized slavery in almost every colony; however the economic realities strengthened slavery in the Southern States. Most of the African Americans were slaves. Their family structure remained under jeopardy, their work patterns were harsh and their living conditions were poor. Yet the legal codes supported slavery and so did the colonial governments. Slavery led to tension between the classes and conflict.Slavery was legally established in the year 1670 by the House of Burgesses with a law declaring that “all servants not being Christians imported into this colony by shipping shall be slaves for their lives” .Earlier the African-Americans that were brought in were treated as servants and not slaves. In the year 1700 there were 25,000 slaves in the American colonies. In the year 1750 there were 100,000 slaves in Virginia, a number far greater than those of servants. In the year 1697 the slave trade was opened to competition. The result was that forces of demand and supply prevailed, the prices of slaves fell and the number of slaves increased. In several Southern areas, the number of slave far outstripped the number of whites.The initial reason for slavery was financial but later in the Southern states this was justified on the basis of race. It was surmised that Africans were barbaric so they needed to be enslaved. The Englishmen described the blacks as monsters and beasts. The official policy of the government buttressed the law and it became criminal for a slave to insult any white. The slave-owners were allowed to punish, mutilate, or slay their slaves. There was an increase in tension between the classes that exploded in Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676.Slave labor was used for tobacco cultivation. The labor used was African slaves. More slaves were required for farm work. The food crops and livestock kept the slaves busy round the year. Plantation slaves were sold off without warning and this could lead to breakup of family units. They were also brutally punished. On the other hand urban and domestic slaves were believed to be more valuable ( Henretta, 96) . Most slaves were women; however, the men were used mostly as gardeners, waiting men or coachmen. Some were used as tradesmen or were even hired out.On plantation lived 75% of slaves. Even though the slaves attempted to make strong families and develop kinship networks, marriages were discouraged by the owners. The families could be broken because any slave could be sold at anytime. The slaves used the language of Gullah that allowed them to feel a sense of connection with one another and also maintain privacy from the whites.In the colonies slaves were the substratum of the agricultural system and significant to its economic capability. It was the attitudes and beliefs of the people of that time along with the class structure that supported the slave system based on skin color. Whites measured the social position of others on the basis of ownership of slaves. Their businesses and financial position depended on slave ownership. The system of slavery was perpetuated because the whites were racially biased and were afraid of the travails that would emerge from the emancipation of slaves.To sum, slavery started with the arrival of the first Africans. Initially it was the economic need that perpetrated the slave system but later racial prejudice and class differences strengthened the system. Legal and social rationale was given in support of slavery and the fear of emancipation killed the consciences of the slave owners. 

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