Slavery and Immigration

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Updated: Oct 19, 2023
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The interplay between slavery and immigration showcases a complex history of forced and voluntary movements of peoples. While slavery epitomized forced migration, many others immigrated seeking better prospects or escaping persecution. These migration patterns have deeply influenced socio-cultural dynamics, labor markets, and demographic compositions in various regions. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about American Civil War topic.

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Life in the 16th century was tough mostly if you were a slave or servant. The world came a long way from when slave start to the end of it. It caused a bloody war where many people lost their lives, fighting for their right and believes. The North was a big attribute to this whole situation. It all started when a ship brought over 20 African slaves to America. People started noticing the New World, and they all wanted to go to America.

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How was manifest destiny an effect on immigrants?

With the economy growing rapidly from immigrants traveling to the New World in search for a better life, the United States suffered from two economic depressions in 1819 and 1839. With the expansion of land from Louisiana Purchase, more people started to come over. During this time, Mexico had just won its independence from Spain, and passes a law suspending U.S. immigration into Texas in 1830 . The United States was looking in to extending their land westward till it reached the Pacific Ocean. Manifest Destiny was the idea that Americans were destined, by God, to govern the North American continent. America wanted to expand and provide more opportunities for everyone.

What laws did Virginia create for African Americans slaves?

The first couple of African American slaves were brought over to Virginia in 1619 and began to grow through the rest of the 16th and the 17th century. In the early 16th century, women were the ones in charge of farming, distribution, and construction of house. While the men oversaw hunting and warfare. During this time, servants were the ones hired to do labor work, since America began to grow in agriculture, but once European settlers noticed that African slaves were a better source of labor because they were cheaper they started to use African slaves. With slavery growing more in population, Virginia state decided to create laws for African slaves not to have full rights of citizens, for example they weren’t allowed to vote, or own guns. In 1671, Africans cannot own guns or join in the militia, also cannot hire whites as servants. Just like this law, Virginia also created a law to establish if a child born to a mother that is a slave or free, should be free or a slave child. This law was passed in 1662, it states,

Whereas some doubts have arrisen whether children got by any Englishman upon a negro women should be slave or free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present grand assembly, that all children borne in this country shalbe held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother, And that if any christian shall committ fornication with a negro man or woman hee or shee soe offending shall pay double the fines.

The type of fines that slaves would have to pay, are being added more years to their service of slavery. Just like these two laws stated above, Virginia created many other laws that would protect slave owners from either their slaves running away, getting pregnant, and being unfaithful or unprofitable. African slaves were seen as less and that why whites began to label them and take away any power that they could have. African slaves weren’t treated the best, their living conditions weren’t at standard, and sometimes they didn’t even have food to eat. Most African slaves wouldn’t get paid, their form of payment was being allowed to live with their slave owners.

What did life for the Irish Americans look like?

Europeans brought over men, women, and children from England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, but the Irish were the ones that were shipped to the New World as white slaves . Irish were more common than African slaves, and often treated more harshly. The Irish crossed the ocean in hopes of a better life just like all immigrants. Irish came to America by buying a ship passages with indentured contacts that they would make. The Irish indentured servants that would come over to America, promised the other person a period that they would work for them to pay them back for bringing them over. Most of the time, the indentured servants wouldn’t receive any form of payment because they had received a free passage. Indentured servitude was almost always voluntary, except when it was applied as a criminal punishment or was the result of a rare illegal kidnapping. Slavery was completely forced and involuntary. It has been said that the Irish servants were treated the worst, but for them it was a chose, unlike the African slaves that didn’t have a say or chose.

What are the differences of being an African slave and an Irish servant?

Not only was there a difference in how they were treated, but there was also a difference in the rights that they had. It is often about being a prisoner of war or being bought or sold bodily as part of a trade. That is a critical distinction. As I had stated above, African slaves were trade and weren’t allowed to join the militia. Even though they had many difference, the work that they both did was rough. They would work out in the fields all day sometimes without food for a couple of days. It was estimated that they were likely to live for at least seven years.

How quickly was population growing with these two minority groups?

Euro-American population was doubling every 22 years. Agriculture was growing fast and so was urbanization, so the work load was doubling and there was a greater need for slaves. Trading started to become a big part of this era as well because stream boats and railroads were used as transportation. Not only did Euro- Americans trade goods, they also trade slaves. South Males in their prime time, 18-30, measuring worth at average price of 100 current dollars in the year 2016. A total of about 4.5 million Irish arrived to American in the 18th century, they made up one third of the immigrants in the United States. A total of about 3 million African slaves were brought to the United States. As the growth of population of slaves and servants increased, African slaves started to stand up for their right and the condition of work that they were being required to do. It came done to slaves being counted as three-fifths. The Three-Fifths Compromise, an agreement to count three-fifths of a state’s slaves in apportioning Representatives, Presidential electors, and direct taxes.

How did it all end?

With many African slaves and the North disagreeing with what is being done with the slaves, the Civil War came about. The presidential election of the republican Abraham Lincoln only helps stir the pot even more.

My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or to destroy slavery…. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.

When Lincoln became president, he was trying his best to keep slavery out of the new territories. The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. The deep south states separated from the Union, can created their own nation because they wanted slavery. After a couple of years, the South surrendered, and the war came to an end. Now there was an extensive process of rebuilding the united nation free of slavery. After the Civil War ended, the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment come out to enforce the laws. The 14th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified on July 9, 1868, and granted citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, which included former slaves recently freed. The 14th Amendment really assured freed slaves of a better live with citizen rights, and they would no longer be seen as less. The 15th Amendment, granting African-American men the right to vote. With the 15th Amendment passing, it gives the right to African Americans to have a voice in upcoming elections or anything that could affect the United States.

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Slavery and Immigration. (2019, Oct 19). Retrieved from