During the 18th century, America was beginning to come into its own as a profitable colony and trade hub. The slave trade was booming which caused for an influx of people from various countries who brought their culture and self-betterment ideas with them. This caused bonded labor and the concept of self-betterment to become two major themes that shaped America during this time. In eighteenth-century America, bonded labor was seen all over the newly founded colonies. There were different types of labor such as slavery or indentured servants. Slavery however, was more suitable for 18th century Americans. The slave trade was thriving throughout the world and America played a major role in the trade. In total, 7.7 million slaves arrived in
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However, further south in the rice plantations, many farms would give slaves daily tasks instead of constantly watching them. This was not normal for most farms because it “gave slaves free time which allowed for leisure or a chance to cultivate crops of their own”. While the slave trade was booming in the south, northern colonies did not need slave labor as heavily. Slaves were not as common and were often used as farm hands or in artisan shops. Large quantities of slaves in the northern colonies were less likely and the slave population was very low for all northern colonies. Although there was still slavery in the north, many slaves attempted to flee to the north for a better life.
Self-betterment was a common goal for many educated Americans in 18th century. Many were influenced by the European Enlightenment and wanted to see the same benefits. The Enlightenment was seen in America, especially in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. These 3 main hubs were a melting pot for intellects looking to further their knowledge. In these hubs, literature, philosophy, and political views were often debated among prominent members of society. Ben Franklin like many prominent men was apart of those influenced. He embraced knowledge and experimentation, rational thought, natural religion. He conducted experiments with lightning and opened many businesses, which made him one of the most well-known Americans during the time.