Back in 1808, when slave importation from Africa and the West Indies was banned in America, many Africans thought the act was done out of sympathy and humanity. Little did they know that the reason was not based on humanitarian concerns but on economics. Although there was still some tunnel smuggling of slaves the majority of new slave in America came from what Professor Eric Foner called, “natural increase.”
The Southern part of the state was producing and selling enough slaves internally that the slave trade was reducing prices for slaves and cutting into profits.
The Europeans who are known for enacting laws to favor their interests passed another law in 1819, which allows US ships to not only patrol its own shores but the coast of Africa in an attempt to stop slave ships at the source.
This attempt wasn’t about ending slavery but in protectionism for American slave owners. Everything was contingent on the fact that there was a “self-sustaining” population of about four million slaves in America at the time.
Most of us were told the story of how slave owners often bred their slaves to reproduce more workers. But kept in the dark about the breeding farms whose primary function was to produce as many slaves as possible for the sale and distribution throughout the South to meet their needs.
Richmond, VA, and the Maryland Eastern-Shore had two of the largest breeding farms. Richmond, a port city exported between 10,000 to 20,000 slaves a month to the further south and west.
Slavery, not tobacco was Virginia’s primary domestic crop, a means of boosting their economic for survival. The level of the breeding farm made Richmond produce and reproduce more slaves than Africa.
The slave population of the breeding farm was mostly women and children not matured enough to be sold, and a limited number of men whose job was to impregnate as many slave women as possible. The slaves were often putting on hoods or bags over their heads to keep them from knowing who they were having forced intercourse with. It could be someone they are familiar with, perhaps niece, aunt, sister, or their own mother. All the breeders wanted is a child that could be sold.
In order for the slaves not to depreciate in price, Richmond had five railroads, so that slaves could be shipped both by rail and boat which would allow slaves to arrive in better condition and thus fetch a higher price.
Slavery was more than man’s inhumanity towards man. It was always about economics. It’s worth my to say part of America was literally built on slavery.