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The Rise of a Slave Society in Virginia

In 1735, British officials in England questioned a 1723 law in their colony of Virginia that prohibited free blacks from voting in any elections. British officials considered the law a hardship on some Freemen “merely upon Account of their Complexion.” Virginia’s Lt. Governor, Sir William Gooch, agreed that the law might be “severe,” particularly if the free black was biracial and the descendant of a white Englishman. Nonetheless, Gooch defended the colonial law in stark terms, arguing that such a law was necessary “to make the free-Negros sensible that a distinction ought to be made between their offspring and the Descendants of an Englishman, with whom they never were to be Accounted Equal.”Over the past few weeks, we have discussed the origins of American slavery and the development of a race-based labor system in the colony of Virginia. You have read a number of race laws on slavery that Virginia legislators ratified throughout the 17th century (1600s). In this paper assignment, please answer the following question: As the colony of Virginia transitioned from a society with slaves to a slave society, how did the life of an enslaved person change over the course of the 1600s? As you develop an answer to this question, your paper needs to:
- Have an argument around which the paper can develop and the evidence can support. Remember, an argument (or thesis) is not a statement, it is an explanation for how or why something happened.
- State your argument clearly in the introductory paragraph so that the reader knows what the paper will prove. Then, use the primary source evidence and body paragraphs to prove your argument.
- Underline your argument- now everyone knows exactly what the paper will prove.

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