The representative government begins with the House of Burguess. The house of Burguess as the legislature was called; they first met on July 30, 1619 in a little church in Jamestown to write the laws of Virginia. The house of Burguess remained in existence even after James I took control of Virginia. At that time there were eleven settlements in the colony. Each of them elected two, burguesses, as representatives were called. In 1964 James I cancelled the charter of the Virginia Company, thus making Virginia a royal colony.
The tobacco cultivation assures Virginia’s success, which was another unanticipated development was the discovery that raising tobacco was a profitable way to make a living. In 1612 Captain John Rolfe introduced a tropical variety possibly from Trinidad to Virginia. Rolfe, like other Englishmen, he had learned to enjoy puffing on a pipe. Rolfe’s tobacco found a waiting market in London. The “weed” quickly wore out the land, and the steady search for new acres was instrumental in pushing settlement farther and farther west. The first crop arrived in London in 1614. Because rivers were required for shipping the crop, the banks of Potomac, the James, and the Rappahannock Rivers soon were lined with tobacco farms. So completely did tobacco take up people’s lives in Virginia that no large towns developed as centers of commerce and culture? The town of Williamsburg was the political hub of the colony. Williamsburg became Virginia’s capital in 1699 after Jamestown was destroyed by fire. The leaders of the colony met there to debate governmental matters.
Indentured servants came to America. Many people had been driven off the land by what was called the enclosure movement. The cost of crossing the Atlantic was, beyond the means of these people. Under the indenture system a farmer in America would gladly agree to pay the ship passage of an immigrant. The immigrant would in turn agree in writing to serve that farmer for a specified number of years, varying from four to seven. After the period of indenture was over, the worker became a free man or woman again. Often receiving land to take up farming. The indenture system had its drawbacks; many servants who had arrived in America resented their condition and worked unwillingly.
Slavery was introduced among the early indentured servants were people who did not come to America willingly. The first Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619. For the next thirty years or so, Africans were generally treated like indentured servants from Europe. By 1651 there were about 300 Africans in Virginia’s population of 15000. By 1640 some black servants were forced to serve their indentures for life. Slaveholders were given increasing control as the personal and civil freedom of black people, which was more and more restricted. Finally, as the 1700’s opened, the English were becoming heavily involved in the profitable slave trade, until then a monopoly of Spain.
The demand for slaves increases because of labor shortage. Another response was the importation of African slaves. Slave trading itself mocked the high ideals on which so many of the colonies which had been founded. For the suffering of slaves the torment was often made worse by the fact that they came from different places of Africa. Some Africans tried to escape their mystery by starving themselves to death aboard the ships. Accustomed to agricultural work in Africa, they became indispensable to the colonial economy. Those Africans who survived the Atlantic crossing were quickly taken in hand and taught the tasks they would have to perform in America. It is estimated that 2/3 of the slaves captured in Africa never survived to land in America.
The American Revolution cut off trade with England.Debate whether slavery is still necessary with the decline of agriculture. Southerners needed a new crop to make farming profitable. They grew cotton in small amounts. Long staple cotton grew only in coastal areas. Short staple cotton grew everywhere in the south. They were loaded with seeds, which had to be removed before making it into cloth. It required 10 slaves to clean the amount of cotton one could pick. Eli Whitney invented a cotton gin. Now one slave can clean out what ten could pick. England’s textile factories needed cotton so the south can sell all it can grow. Cotton became the United States most important export.
Slaves had a very hard life. During the 1800’s most of the plantation slaves were field hands who planted and picked cotton, which were the field slaves. House slaves worked as servants in the owner’s home. Other plantation slaves became skilled craft workers such as black smiths, bricklayers, cabinetmakers, or carpenters. Slaves also had a variety of jobs in southern cities and towns. Many worked in factories. Others became construction workers on canals and railroads or worked as dockworkers, lumberjacks, office workers, or riverboat pilots.
There were many conditions of slavery. Many field hands worked longer than any other kind of slave. Their workday generally lasted from sunrise to sunset. Most slaves lived in their owner’s home. The owners of the slaves usually relied on punishment, which would end up into lashing, short rations, and threats to sell members of their slave families. The owners were the one’s to hold all power of reward and punishment.
In 1860 the election of Lincoln was held. Lincoln became president and viewed slavery as wrong because he believed in the words all men are created equal. The year 1860 promised to a fateful one in American History. The party urging Americans to support the constitution and the union took no stand on slavery. They attacked on fort Sumter. The civil war began in which some people opposed to slavery. They had a struggle between the north and the south. After the civil war was over the 13th and 14th amendments came into action.
The 13th amendment states that: neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
The 14th amendment states that: all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
After the 13th and 14th amendments were in action slavery banished and was no longer brought upon people in the United States of America.