Colonial slavery had a slow start, particularly in the North.
The proportion there never got much above 5 percent of the total population.
Masters enjoyed rates of return on slaves comparable to those on other assets; cotton consumers, insurance companies, and industrial enterprises benefited from slavery as well.
But a far greater proportion of slaves arrived in chains in crowded, sweltering cargo holds.
What additional factors might a more detailed investigation consider?
Throughout history, slavery has existed where it has been economically worthwhile to those in power. Slaves accompanied Ponce de Leon to Florida in 1513, for instance.
TABLE 3 Slaves as a Percent of the Total Population selected years, by Southern state (1970). They enjoyed an exceptional rate of natural increase. For example, the South grew half to three-quarters of the corn crop harvested between 18.
Unlike elsewhere in the New World, the South did not require constant infusions of immigrant slaves to keep its slave population intact. Central to the success of slavery are political and legal institutions that validate the ownership of other persons.
Not long after Columbus set sail for the New World, the French and Spanish brought slaves with them on various expeditions.
Nearly 4 million slaves with a market value estimated to be between .1 and .6 billion lived in the U. Such valuable property required rules to protect it, and the institutional practices surrounding slavery display a sophistication that rivals modern-day law and business.