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White Over BlackAmerican Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812$
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Winthrop D. Jordan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838686_jordan

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Unthinking Decision

Unthinking Decision

Enslavement of Negroes in America to 1700

(p.44) II Unthinking Decision
White Over Black

Winthrop D. Jordan

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter illustrates how no one had in mind to establish the institution of Negro slavery at the start of English settlement in America. Yet in less than a century the foundations of a peculiar institution had been laid. The first Negroes landed in Virginia in 1619, though very, very little is known about their precise status during the next twenty years. Between 1640 and 1660 there is evidence of enslavement, and after 1660 slavery crystallized on the statute books of Maryland, Virginia, and other colonies. By 1700 when African Negroes began flooding into English America they were treated as somehow deserving a life and status radically different from English and other European settlers. The Negro had been debased to a condition of chattel slavery; at some point, Englishmen in America had created a legal status which ran counter to English law.

Keywords:   Negro slavery, English settlement, enslavement, African Negroes, European settlers, chattel slavery

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