Slavery and Economy Slavery started out as Indentured Servants. The servants sold themselves for; anywhere from four to fourteen years, for passage to the New World. That was a way to start a new life in the Colonies, since they could not afford the trip themselves. After the term was up they would be giving clothes, land and some money. Indentured Servants served a purpose, the colonist desperately needed help with labor to make the land ready for crops.
When the indentured servants started to outlive their terms, the colonist started looking at the Dutch ships that were bringing African slaves. It was cheaper to buy slaves, than pay for indentured servants trip, plus land. While the two groups were treated differently and received different levels of respect, both worked the land and ultimately helped the colonist economy to boom. The slavery system and the indentured servants helped to put the American Colonies in a better economic situation in the years leading up to the American Revolution.
The slaves did much needed work, especially in tobacco fields in the south; they helped to make tobacco a major cash crop in the south which was good for both the Colonies and Britain. Plantations were where most slaves worked. The larger their plantation, the wealthier and more successful people were seen. But in order to do this, the plantation owners needed workers, but if they had to pay workers reasonable wages, they could not yield a profit.
Also, in the South, it was hard, rough work in the hot sun, most plantation owners purchased slaves to work the land. The plantation owner gave the slaves shelter and a small food allowance as a salary. Thereby, the plantation owner “saved” his money to invest in more land, which of course required more slaves to continue to yield a larger profit. An economic cycle was created between plantation owner and slave, one that would take generations to end. Slaves were now a necessity on the larger plantations to work the fields. They were pieces of property.