Religion in the Thirteen Colonies

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Which American Puritans objected to slavery?

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The Puritans, though lacking a major cash crop, did not object to slavery. Those that did object to the practice may not have objected on moral grounds, but rather that slavery made a person less industrious, as one could always count on the slave to do the job. Some New England residents had slaves. Some of the more prosperous ones had slaves to do the housework or to attend to chores in the field. Most Puritans, however, had enough children and extended family to ensure that the work on the farm was carried out.

Puritans were also closely tied to the Triangle Trade; one key leg of this triangle was slaves from Africa. The African slaves were needed to work sugar plantations in the Caribbean. While profitable, the abysmal conditions on the plantations killed many slaves. The sugar was then converted into rum and used as a commodity in Europe and the New World. New England Puritans often worked to create ships in order to make this trade work.

New England would drop its reliance on the slave trade around the time of the American Revolution, but it would continue to make its profit from the slave trade until the Civil War, as the Northern textile industry would not be possible if not for Southern slavery. The abolition movement would not gain momentum until the early 1800s when New England would become the center of the movement.

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