Despite being settled nearly simultaneously, Virginia and Massachusetts – the first permanent English colonies on the North American mainland – developed in distinctive ways over the course of the colonial period. One of the most striking differences is slavery. Virginia, with its reliance on bound African labor, was a fully-fledged “slave society” – Massachusetts, while it certainly participated in the slave trade and allowed slavery under local practice, remained a “society with slaves.” Based on our class readings and discussions, discuss some of the differences in the law and practice of slavery in Virginia and Massachusetts and analyze specific political, economic, social, or cultural differences that explain this difference. Why do you think these two colonies developed in such different ways? How did differences in religion, social structure, economic development, and/or gender roles shape slavery in Virginia and Massachusetts?
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