What do you see as the most important economic, social, and political causes for the dramatic growth of slavery in colonial America?
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The world American colonists lived in during the eighteenth century was changing and becoming more
complex. Between 1700 and 1750 the population in the English colonies increased from 250,000 to one million. In
the seventeenth century most of the immigrants to English North America came from England. In the eighteenth
century they came instead from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Germany. In 1660 there were approximately
2,920 Africans living in the colonies. By 1760 there were 300,000 -- an increase of 1700 percent! In the southern
colonies Africans made up 40 per cent of the total population and by 1720 Africans were the majority population in
South Carolina. Most of the population increase in the colonies came from natural increase. The American colonial
economy was built on and sustained by trade and these capitalist societies were tied increasingly to the economic
network that spanned the Atlantic. Two revolutions took place during the eighteenth century: a consumer
revolution and an industrious revolution. American religious, intellectual, and cultural life in the eighteenth century
changed because of two movements: the Enlightenment and the Great Awakening. Both contributed to the
humanitarianism that emerged at the end of the century and both were products of the world that capitalism created.