Legalizing Slavery in Colonial America

This essay assignment is a primary source analysis on Legalizing Slavery in Colonial America.  Please refer to the Primary Sources found on your Learning Activities page.

Slavery in the United States was governed by an extensive body of law developed after the 1660s.  Virginia became the first colony to pass a comprehensive slave code in 1705, which served as the base of other slave codes in the Southern colonies and states before the Civil War.  In your essay on legalizing slavery, you are required to read the primary sources on the Learning Activities page.  The textbook and online materials provide helpful background information for the essay.

Your essay needs a brief introduction and critical analysis in comprehensive paragraphs with a minimum of 300 words.  It should be based on your primary source reading and it needs to demonstrate your analysis of the documents.  Three or more specific in-text source citations are needed.

Please consider the following questions when you write the essay:

  1. How did the slave codes make slavery a permanent condition?
  2. How did race play a role in enslaving Africans in colonial America?
  3. In what specific ways were the slaves defined as property?
  4. Why couldn’t slaves be a party to a contract including marriage?
  5. How did the slave codes regulate free blacks?
  6. How do you compare the South Carolina slave code of 1740 with the Virginia slave code of 1705?
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