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Development of Virginia Slavery

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sociology
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UC Berkeley

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Terry R.
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documents in English
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term papers
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2 pages
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  1. Introduction
  2. Interest of the run aways
  3. Trading with the servants
  4. Casual killing of slaves
  5. Defining the slaves
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

A portion of the rationalization of the "peculiar institution" of slavery in colonial America was predicated upon legal argumentation. While complex social, economic and cultural factors also played significant roles in that rationalization, this paper focuses on the legal thought that informed the development of slavery in Virginia between 1660 and 1705.

Underlying the legal argumentation is the fact that English common law, in establishing liability, distinguishes between entities capable of guilt and those that are not. Such entities are framed either as persons with legal rights, or as objects created, disposed of or owned by legal persons. This issue of defining legal status - i.e., whether an entity was a person, or an owned object - is central to the legislation passed regarding slaves in colonial America.

[...] With ACT I (June 1676), slavery becomes employed as tool of punishment against those (Native Americans) who rebelled against civil authority. ACT VII (1680) sets the age when negroe children must work, and sets it two years younger than for whites. With no more rights than animals, black slaves are becoming regarded as animalistically hardy. Of course, animals can be senselessly violent, and ACT X (1680) restricts slave freedoms and rights in order to prevent insurrection growing out of their gatherings. [...]


[...] Development of Virginia Slavery A portion of the rationalization of the "peculiar institution" of slavery in colonial America was predicated upon legal argumentation. While complex social, economic and cultural factors also played significant roles in that rationalization, this paper focuses on the legal thought that informed the development of slavery in Virginia between 1660 and 1705. Underlying the legal argumentation is the fact that English common law, in establishing liability, distinguishes between entities capable of guilt and those that are not. [...]

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