Why was slavery so important to the economies of South Carolina and Georgia in the 1700s?  

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Slavery was so important to the economies of South Carolina and Georgia in the 1700s because rice was the main crop raised in those colonies during that time.  Planters felt that it was not possible for them to raise rice as profitably with paid labor as with slave labor.

Rice was a crop that required a great deal of labor.  However, labor was not plentiful in the colonies of the South.  Immigrants to the American colonies in general were not eager to go to the rice planting areas of Georgia and South Carolina.  They preferred to go to other areas where the climate was more to their liking and where they could make a living working their own small farms.  They did not want to do the hard work of cultivating rice in the climate of Georgia and South Carolina as wage laborers.

What this meant was that it was hard to get enough labor to successfully cultivate rice in South Carolina and Georgia.  Therefore, people who wanted to plant rice needed to find unfree labor. They preferred African slaves because many slaves had come from areas where rice was grown in Africa and knew the job.  They also preferred Africans because they believed Africans were better suited to the climate in the region.

For these reasons, African slaves were seen as necessary for the cultivation of rice.  Since rice was vital to the colonial economies of South Carolina and Georgia, slavery was very important to those colonies’ economies.