After reading the first chapter in Schermerhorn’s book, I have already gained knowledge and information about the history of slavery in the United States that I previously did not know. Throughout high school I had taken multiple history courses that had touched on the subject of slavery but never really expanded into the full extent of things. It is clear that my textbooks/teachers somewhat misrepresented slavery by not teaching us how gruesome and brutal it actually was. I was taught about the origins of slavery and the major events that led up to the civil war, but I never realized how much the enslaved people really impacted this country. I had known that they worked vigorously in the fields on the plantations, but I did not know they labored in many other fields including construction(houses, railroads, etc.) transportation, and mining. Schermerhorn gives an accurate description of what these times were like and the hardships the enslaved people had to live with.
After obtaining this new information involving the enslaved individuals part in the growth and expansion of the United States, I have thought of some questions that I would like to seek into further detail. I am intrigued by their contribution to America and how their role affected our country’s growth. With that being said, I am curious to see if their contribution accelerated the growth and wealth of the United States. Furthermore, that leads to my research question; If slavery never existed, would America be as evolved as it is today?
I think that without slavery America would not be as advanced as it is today. I have found multiple primary sources that provided me with the information needed to answer my research question. I started off by reading a few articles written by historians that stated the impact of the enslaved people and the different types of labor they had endured. Also, I found some letters written by the enslaved people that provided me with their thoughts and viewpoints of their situation. These sources gave me an accurate representation of the work they had accomplished and the impact it had on the United States.