African American slavery has shaped United States political culture since the 17th century. Although it was abolished by the 13th Amendment in 1865, the legacy of slavery continues to shape American politics and political behavior.

The Roots of a System

The first Africans in a British colony arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619, 12 years after the colony’s planting.

Some historians of slavery (e.g., Alden Vaughn and Thomas D. Morris) and of American racism have suggested that the shift toward African slavery began in the 1620s. Generally accepted evidence of the shift toward servitude comes from Virginia court records published in Hening (1823). Around 1630 in colonial Virginia, a White man, Hugh Davis was sentenced to being whipped for “defiling his body by lying [having sex] with ...

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