[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Wed Nov 1 15:25:47 MST 2006


Thanks for the paper Andrew. I do look forward to reading it.

To Zinn's statement in which racism seems to have been found 
anachronistically in early 17th Century Chesapeake , I would 
counterpose this passage from John Cheng:

http://www.pbs.org/race/000_About/002_04-background-02-03.htm

Although it was permanent servitude, slavery in the 17th century 
Chesapeake was not like slavery as it later developed and in some 
ways, was difficult to distinguish from indentured servitude. In an 
era where few laws defined slavery, slaves enjoyed limited rights 
including the ability to work land for themselves, to own property, 
including other slaves, and to marry. Children of slaves did not 
inherit their parents' bondage. Although it was not generally the 
case, slaves could earn or save enough money to purchase their own 
freedom. While indentured servants worked under temporary, as opposed 
to permanent, terms of service, the life expectancy in the early 
decades of the Chesapeake colonies was so low that almost two-thirds 
did not survive to the end of their contracts. Indentured servants 
often worked with slaves under the same conditions - one reason why 
there was occasional intermarriage between the two groups, European 
and African.



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