Excerpt from The Slavery Issue in Federal Politics
Equatorial Africa was discovered in the same period as the American continent, and its natural resource of crude labor was tapped and exploited simultaneously with the resources of gold in Mexico, sugar in the West Indies, to... bacco in Virginia and rice in Carolina. The African staple of negro labor was looked upon in the period in much the same way as the American staples; they all furnished the means of increasing private and public wealth. The Irish product of indentured white labor was still another item in the list of important staples. The prices of all these commodities were regularly quoted in the colonial markets; merchants dealt in them indifferently and people in need of labor bought servants or slaves just as people in need of tobacco, sugar or rice bought supplies of these. There seems not to have been much discussion of the right or wrong of holding men to indented serv ice or slavery. Wage-earning labor was not to be had on any feasible terms in most parts of America and captains of industry were forced to buy bond men or do without laborers.
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