Slavery: the Benefits and Patterns of Using Africans as a Work Force for Europeans

Before African slaves became the primary choice for labor for white Europeans, those looking to escape from religious persecution in England were brought to work as indentured servants. Why then did Europeans go from using indentured servants to using slaves? And not just slaves in general, but African slaves? Many believe the answers lie in the economics of the time, while others believe it has to do with bigoted views towards Africans. Few occurrences throughout history happen for a solitary reason; the usage of African slaves in the colonies is not one of them.
The Eurocentric colonial American ruling class was motivated to use the slave trade for two main reasons. The first was the many benefits and advantages that using African slaves brought about: they were cheaper to obtain, less expensive to maintain, and better workers. At the same time their African origin made them an easy target for exploitation and enslavement. The second reason, and the more general one, is that history repeats itself. Slavery has existed since agriculture began thousands of years ago, and continues today in some parts of the world. By exploring these reasons we can better understand why the Europeans turned to using African slaves in the colonies.
Before her death in 1603, Queen Elizabeth I instituted the trade system known as mercantilism in England. The mercantile system is a political and economic policy used to obtain economic supremacy over other nations. The goal of mercantilism is to export as much as possible, while importing as little as possible in order to grow and maintain the wealth of a state (Brody & Henretta, 30-32). Later on, laws like the Navigation Acts followed through with Queen Elizabeth’s wide scale attempt of emplacing this policy. These laws held that colonists would only trade through England, meaning that only English or colonial owned ships could enter or exit an American port (Brody & James, 69). If the colonists wanted to trade with a country other...