Topic: Labor

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Interior of the Slave Ship Vigilante

This image depicts the cramped and inhumane conditions existing on a slave ship. Although by 1829 both the U.S. and Britain had banned the international slave trade, other...
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Jefferson to John Jay

In this letter to John Jay, Jefferson discussed the economy of the newly independent American republic. He believed that, with plentiful land and markets for their produce, Americans...
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Jefferson to William Short

In this self-serving letter to his former secretary, Jefferson contrasted the condition of slaves in the U.S. not with other slaves in other countries, but with European peasant...
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Map of the Most Inhabited Parts of Virginia (Detail)

This cartouche, or shield-shaped design, is from a map produced by two Virginia surveyors, Colonel Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson (father of Thomas Jefferson). By the mid-eighteenth century,...
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Map of Virginia’s Slave Population, 1860

This map shows the distribution of Virginia’s slave population by county in 1860. The vast majority of enslaved people lived east of the Blue Ridge Mountains (in the...
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Samuel Eveleigh’s Reasons for Slave Labor

This letter is from a South Carolina merchant to a correspondent in London. He reports on conditions in the recently founded colony of Georgia. He notes his disagreement...
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Slave Advertisement

Colonial newspapers frequently carried advertisements for the sale of slaves. “Seasoned” slaves had spent time working in the Caribbean islands or elsewhere. Because they were presumed to have...
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Slavery Broadside

Colonial newspapers often featured advertisements announcing the sale of slaves. The Africans in this advertisement were said to be from Sierra Leone. Although most slave traders tended to...
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Stowage of the British Slave Ship

This image shows how captured Africans were to be stowed on British slave ships. Published in an abolitionist pamphlet, it was intended to evoke the horrors of the...
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The Old Plantation

This painting shows slaves dancing on a southern plantation. African music and dance traditions survived in America, where they also influenced the culture of southern whites. In real...