HIST 350 Morgan State University Origin Of Racism & Virginia Slave Trade Questions 1 – read the following article about the origins of racism. and to summarize the article’s main points in your words. You must also make a comment on the article. (250-300 words)
2- the men who created the system of plantation slavery in the Americas and who made themselves the ruling class. This assignment asks you to examine an important primary source – the Virginia Slave Codes of 1705 – which became a template for the rest of the nation to follow. This exercise allows you to study closely how that ruling class came to invent racial categories, create the stigmatization of people of African descent, and embed the idea of race into the foundation of American society.
In 1705, the Virginia House of Burgesses, the body controlled by plantation owners that held power in colonial Virginia, enacted a series of new laws defining who could be enslaved and who could not.
Your assignment is to read those Slave Codes and answer the following questions:
1. To you, which were the 5 most significant prohibitions enacted by the plantation owners/House of Burgesses in the 1705 Slave Code, and explain why you picked those 5.
2. What behavior and/or activity were the planter class attempting to control? Be specific.
3. Who all were the codes directed at? Be specific.
4. Why did they pass these laws? (250-300 words) +Transcription from Original
— page 447 —
Be it enacted, by the governor, council, and burgesses, of this present general assembly, and it is
hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That all servants brought into this country without
indenture, if the said servants be christians, and of christian parentage, and above nineteen years of
age, ’till they shall become twenty-four years of age, and no longer.
Provided always, That every such servant be carried to the county court, within six months after his or
her arrival into this colony, to have his or her age adjudged by the court, otherwise shall be a servant
no longer than the accustomary five years, although much under the age of nineteen years; and the age
of such servant being adjudged by the court, within the limitation aforesaid shall be entered upon the
records of the said court, and be accounted, deemed, and taken, for the true age of the said servant, in
relation to the time of service aforesaid.
And also be in enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That when any servant
sold for the custom, shall pretend to have indentures, the master or owner of such servant, for
discovery of the truth thereof, may bring the said servant before a justice of the peace; and if the said
servant cannot produce the indenture then, but shall still pretend to have one, the said justice shall
assign two months time for the doing thereof; in which time, if the said servant shall not produce his
or her indenture, it shall be taken for granted that there never was one, and shall be a bar to his or her
claim of making use of one afterwards, or taking any advantage by one.
And also be in enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That all servants imported
and brought into this country, by sea or land, who were not christians in their native country, (except
Turks and Moors in amity with her majesty, and others that can make due proof of their being free in
England, or any other christian country, before they
— page 448 —
were shipped, in order to transportation hither) shall be accounted and be slaves, and such be here
bought and sold notwithstanding a conversion to christianity afterward.
And be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That if any person or persons
shall hereafter import into this colony, and here sell as a slave, any person or persons that shall have
been a freeman in any christian country, island, or plantation, such importer or seller as aforesaid,
shall forfeit and pay, to the party from whom the said freeman shall recover his freedom, double the
sum for which the said freeman was sold. To be recovered, in any court of record within this colony,
according to the course of the common law, wherein the defendant shall not be admitted to plead in
bar, any act or statute for limitation of actions.
Provided always, That a slave’s being in England, shall not be sufficient to discharge him of his
slavery, without other proof of his being manumitted there.
And also be in enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That all masters and
owners of servants, shall find and provide for their servants, wholesome and competent diet, clothing,
and lodging, by the discretion of the county court; and shall not, at any time, give immoderate
correction; neither shall, at any time, whip a christian white servant naked, without an order from a
justice of the peace: And if any, notwithstanding this act, shall presume to whip a christian white
servant naked, without such order, the person so offending, shall forfeit and pay for the same, forty
shillings sterling to the party injured: To be recovered, with costs, upon petition, without the formal
process of an action, as in and by this act is provided for servants complaints to be heard; provided
complaint be made within six months after such whipping.
And also be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That all servants, (not
being slaves,) whether imported, or become servants of their own accord here, or bound by any court
or church-wardens, shall have their complaints received by a justice of the peace, who, if he find
— page 449 —
bind the master over to answer the complaint at court; and it shall be there determined: And all
complaints of servants, shall and may, by virtue hereof, be received at any time, upon petition, in the
court of the county wherein they reside, without the formal process of an action; and also full power
and authority is hereby given to the said court, by their discretion, (having first summoned the masters
or owners to justify themselves, if they think fit,) to adjudge, order, and appoint what shall be
necessary, as to diet, lodging, clothing, and correction: And if any master or owner shall not thereupon
comply with the said court’s order, the said court is hereby authorised and impowered, upon a second
just complaint, to order such servant to be immediately sold at an outcry, by the sheriff, and after
charges deducted, the remainder of what the said servant shall be sold for, to be paid and satisfied to
Provided always, and be it enacted, That if such servant be so sick and lame, or otherwise rendered so
uncapable, that he or she cannot be sold for such value, at least, as shall satisfy the fees, and other
incident charges accrued, the said court shall then order the church-wardens of the parish to take care
of and provide for the said servant, until such servant’s time, due by law to the said master, or owner,
shall be expired, or until such servant, shall be so recovered, as to be sold for defraying the said fees
and charges: And further, the said court, from time to time, shall order the charges of keeping the said
servant, to be levied upon the goods and chattels of the master or owner of the said servant, by
And be it also enacted, That all servants, whether, by importation, indenture, or hire here, as well feme
coverts, as others, shall, in like manner, as is provided, upon complaints of misusage, have their
petitions received in court, for their wages and freedom, without the formal process of an action; and
proceedings, and judgment, shall, in like manner, also, be had thereupon.
And for a further christian care and usage of all christian servants, Be it also enacted, by the authority
aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That no negros, mulattos, or Indians, although christians, or Jews,
— page 450 —
Mahometans, or other infidels, shall, at any time, purchase any christian servant, nor any other, except
of their own complexion, or such as are declared slaves by this act: And if any negro, mulatto, or
Indian, Jew, Moor, Mahometan, or other infidel, or such as are declared slaves by this act, shall,
notwithstanding, purchase any christian white servant, the said servant shall, ipso facto, become free
and acquit from any service then due, and shall be so held, deemed, and taken: And if any person,
having such christian servant, shall intermarry with any such negro, mulatto, or Indian, Jew, Moor,
Mahometan, or other infidel, every christian white servant of every such person so intermarrying,
shall, ipso facto, become free and acquit from any service then due to such master or mistress so
intermarrying, as aforesaid.
XV. (Buying from, selling to, or bartering with slaves prohibited)
— page 451 —
And also be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That no person whatsoever
shall, buy, sell, or receive of, to, or from, any servant, or slave, any coin or commodity whatsoever,
without the leave, licence, or consent of the master or owner of the said servant, or slave: And if any
person shall, contrary hereunto, without the leave or licence aforesaid, deal with any servant, or slave,
he or she so offending, shall be imprisoned one calender month, without bail or main-prize; and then,
also continue in prison, until he or she shall find good security, in the sum of ten pounds current
money of Virginia, for the good behaviour for one year following; wherein, a second offence shall be
a breach of the bond; and moreover shall forfeit and pay four times the value of the
— page 452 —
things so bought, sold, or received, to the master or owner of such servant, or slave: To be recovered,
with costs, by action upon the case, in any court of record in this her majesty’s colony and dominion,
wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law, or other than one imparlance, shall be allowed.
Provided always, and be it enacted, That when any person or persons convict for dealing with a
servant, or slave, contrary to this act, shall not immediately give good and sufficient security for his or
her good behaviour, as aforesaid: then in such case, the court shall order thirty-nine lashes, well laid
on, upon the bare back of such offender, at the common whipping-post of the county, and the said
offender to be thence discharged of giving such bond and security.
XVIII. (Punishments for both indentured [enslaved] white female
servants and free white females having children with black men)
— page 453 —
And if any woman servant shall have a bastard child by a negro, or mulatto, over and above the years
service due to her master or owner, she shall immediately, upon the expiration of her time to her then
present master or owner, pay down to the church-wardens of the parish wherein such child shall be
born, for the use of the said parish, fifteen pounds current money of Virginia, or be by them sold for
five years, to the use aforesaid: And if a free christian white woman shall have such bastard child, by a
negro, or mulatto, for every such offence, she shall, within one month after her delivery of such
bastard child, pay to the church-wardens for the time being, of the parish wherein such child shall be
born, for the use of the said parish fifteen pounds current money of Virginia, or be by them sold for
five years to the use aforesaid: And in both the said cases, the church-wardens shall bind the said child
to be a servant, until it shall be of thirty one years of age.
XIX. (Ban on interracial marriage and interracial sex)
And for a further prevention of that abominable mixture and spurious issue, which hereafter may
increase in this her majesty’s colony and dominion, as well by English, and other white men and
women intermarrying with negroes or mulattos, as by their unlawful coition with them, Be it enacted,
by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That whatsoever English, or other white man or
woman, being free,
— page 454 —
shall intermarry with a negro or mulatto man or woman, bond or free, shall, by judgment of the county
court, be committed to prison, and there remain, during the space of six months, without bail or
mainprize; and shall forfeit and pay ten pounds current money of Virginia, to the use of the parish, as
XX. (Ban on performing interracial marriage; heavy fine for the
minister performing the ceremony)
And be it further enacted, That no minister of the church of England, or other minister, or person
whatsoever, within this colony and dominion, shall hereafter wittingly presume to marry a white man
with a negro or mulatto woman; or to marry a white woman with a negro or mulatto man, upon pain of
forfeiting and paying, for every such marriage the sum of ten thousand pounds of tobacco; one half to
our sovereign lady the Queen, her heirs and successors, for and towards the support of the
government, and the contingent charges thereof; and the other half to the informer; To be recovered,
with costs, by action of debt, bill, plaint, or information, in any court of record within this her
majesty’s colony and dominion, wherein no essoin, protection, or wager of law, shall be allowed.
And for encouragement of all persons to take up runaways, Be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid,
and it is hereby enacted, That for the taking up of
— page 456 —
every servant, or slave, if ten miles, or above, from the house or quarter where such servant, or slave
was kept, there shall be allowed by the public, as a reward to the taker-up, two hundred pounds of
tobacco; and if above five miles, and under ten, one hundred pounds of tobacco: Which said several
rewards of two hundred, and one hundred pounds of tobacco, shall also be paid in the county where
such taker-up shall reside, and shall be again levied by the public upon the master or owner of such
runaway, for re-imbursement of the same to the public. And for the greater certainty in paying the said
rewards and re-imbursement of the public, every justice of the peace before whom such runaway shall
be brought, upon the taking up, shall mention the proper-name and sur-name of the taker-up, and the
county of his or her residence, together with the time and place of taking up the said runaway; and
shall also mention the name of the said runaway, and the proper-name and sur-name of the master or
owner of such runaway, and the county of his or her residence, together with the distance of miles, in
the said justice’s judgment, from the place of taking up the said runaway, to the house or quarter where
such runaway was kept.
Provided, That when any negro, or other runaway, that doth not speak English, and cannot, or through
obstinacy will not, declare the name of his or her masters or owner, that then it shall be sufficient for
the said justice to certify the same, instead of the name of such runaway, and the proper name and surname of his or her master or owner, and the county of his or her residence and distance of miles, as
aforesaid; and in such case, shall, by his warrant, order the said runaway to be conveyed to the public
gaol, of this country, there to be continued prisoner until the master or owner shall be known; who,
upon paying the charges of the imprisonment, or giving caution to the prison-keeper for the same,
together with the reward of two hundred or one hundred pounds of tobacco, as the case shall be, shall
have the said runaway restored.
And further, the said justice of the peace, when such runaway shall be brought before him, shall, by
his warrant commit the said runaway to the next constable, and therein also order him to give the said
runaway so many lashes as the said justice shall think
— page 457 —
fit, not exceeding the number of thirty-nine; and then to be conveyed from constable to constable,
until the said runaway shall be carried home, or to the country gaol, as aforesaid, every constable
through whose hands the said runaway shall pass, giving a receipt at the delivery; and every constable
failing to execute such warrant according to the tenor thereof, or refusing to give such receipt, shall
forefeit and pay two hundred pounds of tobacco to the church-wardens of the parish wherein such
failure shall be, for the use of the poor of the said parish: To be recovered, with costs, by action of
debt, in any court of record in this her majesty’s colony and dominion, wherein no essoin, protection
or wager of law, shall be allowed. And such corporal punishment shall not deprive the master or
owner of such runaway of the other satisfaction here in this act appointed to be made upon such
servant’s running away.
XXIX. (Sheriff personally liable if slave escapes while in custody)
And be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That if any constable, or
sheriff, into whose hands a runaway servant or slave shall be committed, by virtue of this act, shall
suffer such runaway to escape, the said constable or sheriff shall be liable to the action of the party
agrieved, for recovery of his damages, at the common law with costs.
And also be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That no master, mistress,
or overseer of a family, shall knowingly permit any slave, not belonging to him or her, to be and
— page 459 —
remain upon his or her plantation, above four hours at any one time, without the leave of such slave’s
master, mistress, or overseer, on penalty of one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco to the informer;
cognizable by a justice of the peace of the county wherein such offence shall be committed.
XXXIV. (Murder of slaves)
And if any slave resist his master, or owner, or other person, by his or her order, correcting such slave,
and shall happen to be killed in such correction, it shall not be accounted felony; but the master,
owner, and every such other person so giving correction, shall be free and acquit of all punishment
and accusation for the same, as if such incident had never happened: And also, if any negro, mulatto,
or Indian, bond or free, shall at any time, lift his or her hand, in opposition against any christian, not
being negro, mulatto, or Indian, he or she so offending shall, for every such offence, proved by the
oath of the party, receive on his or her bare back, thirty lashes, well laid on; cognizable by a justice of
the peace for that county wherein such offence shall be committed.
XXXV. (Guns & Weapons; ID certificate to move about)
And also be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That no slave go armed
with gun, sword, club, staff, or other weapon, nor go from off the plantation and seat of land where
such slave shall be appointed to live, without a certificate of leave in writing, for so doing, from his or
her master, mistress, or overseer: And if any slave shall be found offending herein, it shall be lawful
for any person or persons to apprehend and deliver such slave to the next constable or headborough, who is hereby enjoined and required, without further order or warrant, to give such slave
twenty lashes on his or her bare back, well laid on, and so send him or her home: And all horses,
cattle, and hogs, now belonging, or that hereafter shall be— page 460 —
long to any slave, or of any slaves mark in this her majesty’s colony and dominion, shall be seised and
sold by the church-wardens of the parish, wherein such horses, cattle, or hogs shall be, and the profit
thereof applied to the use of the poor of the said parish: And also, if any damage shall be hereafter
committed by any slave living at a quarter where there is no christian overseer, the master or owner of
such slave shall be liable to action for the trespass and damage, as if the same had been done by him
XXXVI. (Slave status inherited from the mother; baptism does not
make slaves free)
And also it is hereby enacted and declared, That baptism of slaves doth not exempt them from
bondage; and that all children shall be bond or free, according to the condition of their mothers, and
the particular direction of this act.
And whereas, many times, slaves run away and lie out, hid or lurking in swamps, woods, and other
obscure places, killing hogs, and committing other injuries to the inhabitants of this her majesty’s
colony and dominion, Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby
enacted, That in all such cases, upon intelligence given of any slaves lying out, as aforesaid, any two
justices (Quorum unus) of the peace of the county wherein such slave is supposed to lurk or do
mischief, shall be and are impowered and required to issue proclamation against all such slaves,
reciting their names, and owners names, if they are known, and thereby requiring them, and every of
them, forthwith to surrender themselves; and also impowering the sheriff of the said county, to take
such power with him, as he shall think fit and necessary, for the effectual apprehending such out-lying
slave or slaves, and go in search of them: Which proclamation shall be published on a Sabbath day, at
the door of every church and chapel, in the said county, by the parish clerk, or reader, of…
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