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Brethren by NatureNew England Indians, Colonists, and the Origins of American Slavery$
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Margaret Ellen Newell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780801434150

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801434150.001.0001

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“Free men subjects to the king”

“Free men subjects to the king”

The Search for Enslavable Indians in the Northeast and Southeast

(p.189) Chapter 8 “Free men subjects to the king”
Brethren by Nature

Margaret Ellen Newell

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on Indian enslavement in the post-King Philip's War period. English colonists in southern New England initially evaded new barriers to slavery by importing Native Americans from other areas. Two regions in particular offered potential supplies of Indian laborers because intense warfare created conditions for enslavement: northern New England and the southeastern frontier of English settlement, including the Carolinas and the boundaries of Spanish Florida. English colonists incorporated captives from both sources into their homes, farms, and workshops, but in the end the search for enslavable Indians outside southern New England encountered serious challenges. Security risks and unprecedented retaliation created problems on a scale that the colonists simply had not encountered in their earlier efforts to bind Indian labor. British and indeed colonial strategic interests called for robust Indian participation in warfare as allies, so imperial officials began to criticize the practice of enslavement in unprecedented ways. By mid-century, new conceptions of Indian citizenship and subjecthood for all Indians in the British undermined the colonists' own consensus about whom they could legally and practically reduce to servitude.

Keywords:   Indian slaves, Indian slavery, involuntary servitude, English colonists, New England, Native Americans

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