Compare and Contrast Essay: Coercive Labor in the Americas Keith
Snapshot 18:Compare coercive labor systems: slavery and other coercive labor
systems in the Americas From 1450 to 1750, coercive labor systems were prevalent in the New World to support the heavy agricultural systems of European colonies. Two examples of these systems of forced labor were slavery and the Encomienda System in Latin America. Both of these labor systems provided cheap labor, and forced them to work under difficult conditions for long hours. A primary difference between these two coercive labor systems was that slaves were bought and sold, then forced to migrate from their homeland to the New World, where as in the Encomienda system, natives were forced to work their own land.
One commonality between the Encomienda system and slavery in the New World was that both systems forced their laborers to work under harsh conditions for long hours. These harsh conditions are shown first by the drastic numbers of deaths on slave ships, averaging every one in six slaves dying on the voyage to the Americas. These deaths were results of hundreds of thousands of slaves being confined below the deck of these slave ships, herded and chained together like animals. Olaudah Equiano, a well-known educated slave, feared that upon arrival to the New World, he and the other slaves would be eaten by the white men due to the inhumane treatment that they had received on the ships. In Latin America, millions of Amerindians faced death by disease from coming in contact with Europeans, whose immune systems were stronger than the natives. The poor immunity and harsh working conditions led to a miniscule life expectancy of about 25 years for women, and only 23 years expected for men. Another similarity between slavery and the Encomienda system from 1450 to 1750 was that each system contained rigid social stratification. On plantations that used slavery as a source of labor, plantocracies were formed, which were headed by a small number of rich men who owned a large percentage of the slaves in that region. Following them were other slave owners who owned far less slaves. Below the slave owners were drivers, who were a few privileged male slaves whose job was to ensure that all of the other slaves completed their work. At the very bottom of the plantocracy were regular slaves, who were treated as if they were far less than human. In the Encomienda system, there were five tiers to the social hierarchy: peninsulares, creoles, mestizos, mulattos, and finally the natives of lands occupied by Europeans. Peninsulares were the scarcest, yet most powerful of the ethnic groups, being those born on the Iberian Peninsula. Creoles had the second most power, as they were those born in the Americas to European parents. After creoles came mestizos, who were born of mixed European and Amerindian descent. Mulattos were born of mixed European and African parents, and were only considered higher ranking than Native Americans and Africans. These labor systems were both developed due to the need for cheap labor in American colonies. Many regions in the New World were producing the same product, and were all competing in the same market. Companies needed to compete by lowering prices, and this was achieved by observing practically free labor.
While the Encomienda system and slavery in the New World were similar in that they were used to lower the prices of crops and manufactured goods, they also possessed manydifferences. One way that slavery differed from the Encomienda system of Latin America was that slaves were bought and sold in their homeland, then forced to migrate across the Atlantic Ocean to work on plantations in the New World. On the other hand, workers involved in the Encomienda system were natives of the land that they were forced to work for little to no pay. Due to the origins of the workers, slavery proved to be the more triumphant labor system. African slaves had been previously exposed to Europeans, therefore building their immune systems against diseases such as smallpox and malaria. The Amerindian workers of the Encomienda system on the other hand, had no prior contact with European settlers, leaving them vulnerable to death by disease. The weak immune systems of the Encomienda workers led to miniscule life expectancies for workers, which caught the eye of a Spanish Bishop named Bartolome de Las Casas. Las Casas fought hard to better the working conditions for Encomienda workers, and in 1542, Spain passed the New Laws, which made the unfair treatment of Amerindians illegal in the New World. While these laws were nearly impossible to uphold in the Americas, they were one step closer to ending the Encomienda system altogether. Another difference between these coercive labor systems was that the Encomienda system was outlawed about 200 years prior to slavery in the Americas. While the Encomienda system suffered a rapid decline inthe 1600s (due to the high death rate of Amerindians), it was replaced by slavery, which continued until the end of the civil war in 1865 in the United States. These coercive labor systems differed primarily due to the different environments and laws imposed by mother countries through mercantilism.
From 1450 to 1750, slavery and the Encomienda system provided cheap labor, and forced their subjects to work under difficult conditions for long hours. A primary difference between these two coercive labor systems was that slaves were bought and sold, then forced to migrate from their homeland to the New World, where as in the Encomienda system, natives were forced to work their own land. These coercive labor systems were present in the New World to support the growing agricultural production that imperialist countries were seeking for economic gain.
Compare and Contrast essay grid Keith, Adam, Eli
Snapshot 18: Compare coercive labor systems: slavery and other coercive labor
Slaves were bought and sold and forced to migrate to the new world, while in the Encomienda system
Natives were forced to work upon there own land for little to no pay.
SIMILARITIES PARAGRAPH Evidence that supports thesis similarity
Africa- deaths on the ships/ plantations. Encomienda- forced labor for little to no pay / lower life expectancy.
Similarity distinct from thesis (with other evidence)
Hierarchies within labor systems. Encomienda – (top to bottom) Encomenderos, Creoles, Mullato, Mestizo, Natives. Slaves – Plantocracy – Driver was a slave who was like boss or leader of a group of slaves