Bearing the Chains: Factors Institutionalizing Slavery and Treatment of the Enslaved - Paper Example

Published: 2024-01-22
Bearing the Chains: Factors Institutionalizing Slavery and Treatment of the Enslaved - Paper Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  History Slavery
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 874 words
8 min read

As early as the 16th century, the Spanish were already using slave labor and were later joined by the Portuguese (Menchaca, 2001). The Slave trade was initialized by the British in Virginia as Africans were made to work in plantations. Traditionally, slavery was not practiced in Britain. However, with the cheap slave labor, indentured servitudes were replaced. Indian plantation owners in the West were the main people who employed cheap slave labor from Africans. Slaves became a trade commodity, and therefore, they would be sold and bought property. It accounts for the massive slave trade that took rite later on in southern America after Southeastern America, Virginia. Several reasons led to the legalization of the slave trade. This paper aims to discuss the factors that led to the institutionalization of slavery with regard to how slaves were treated.

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The main factor that led to the institutionalization of the slave trade was to cheap labor required. There was a shortage of labor with the growing European plantations in West Indian colonies. It became difficult to find alternative sources of cheap labor as the servitudes were being set free. Another reason that contrasted with the saving trade's institutionalization was the legal position that landowners were required to have slaves as their property officially. Racial attitudes, religious factors, and military factors also contributed to the institutionalization of the slave trade. By 1527, many blacks had been brought to Mexico from West Africa, mainly the Malinke slaves (Menchaca, 2001). As the Europeans discovered more fertile land in America, the Latinos were displaced and even used during colonial times in the plantations. There was a rush to increase sugar, cotton, and tobacco for export to Britain's expanding market. The landowners also wanted to maximize rafts, and therefore, cheap labor from blacks was their answer. Thus the Atlantic slave trade increased.

At first, the European farmers attempted to use the natives as a source of labor. However, indigenous people could not meet their requirements. They were few compared to the blacks and were affected by the pandemic, which was there at the time. Unlike the back, most of them had low immunities to smallpox (Bolin, & Kurtz, 2018). Before the coming of the black slaves, the natives were ill-treated, and those who resisted the Europeans would be killed. Therefore, they were never adequate for expanding populations. An alternative to slaves was the British indentured servants and British criminals. These were, however, paid and not viewed as slaves. As land expanded, most of them shifted to doing their farming, leaving the large landowners with no alternative labor source.

During this period of slavery, racial attitudes also dived against the Africans and Native Americans. The Africans and the natives were viewed as inferiors, and thus the more reason to justify slavery. They were more of a commodity than they were humans, and thus they were bought and sold. There was an idea that if the slave trade were abolished, the African slaves would be executed. The Europeans also thought that they were benefiting the African slaves by looking after them. The Europeans who colonized Native Americans conducted massacres, Indian wars, and relocations by force and were starved to death (Bolin, & Kurtz, 2018). This was different from Africans who had no place to stay and worked under their masters. It was a bit better for the natives in that, despite the discrimination, they were relocated. In the Spanish colonial society, racism had become a principal factor, with major discrimination of social and economic factors. The Spanish and Indian religions were redefined. With an urge to take over power, Spain had operated on a divide-and-conquer method.

Race is currently defined as socially significant differences in the physical factors of a group of people and their culture. It was the main basis of discrimination between the blacks and the Native Americans as the Africans were blacks, and most Native Americans were red Indians. Being whites, the Europeans discriminated against the blacks and the Native Americans based on their skin color and culture. Most of the Africans' way of life during the time and the Native Americans were still indigenous. Thus it forced the basis of their discrimination and racism. The Europeans also embraced the Christian religion, and therefore, they discriminated against the Africans and the Native Americans. Social and economic factors are also severe as elements of racism curtly. With first world countries view developing countries as inferiors.


In conclusion, cheap labor and the growing plantations in the New World were the major factors for institutionalizing slavery. It became abundant as the Spanish enlarged their sugar cane demand. The natives were included together with African slaves due to their low economic and social status. Most of the racial practices have informed the present-day racism in most parts of the world. However, since the natives had the land as their own, discrimination against them was less harsh than the black slaves. The natives could only work in the plantations but were not traded as African slaves were traded.


Bolin, B., & Kurtz, L. C. (2018). Race, class, ethnicity, and disaster vulnerability. In Handbook of disaster research (pp. 181-203). Springer, Cham.

Menchaca, M. (2001). Recovering history, constructing race: The Indian, black, and white roots of Mexican Americans. University of Texas Press.

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