Acts of the Virginia Commonwealth Case Study

Acts of the Virginia Commonwealth Case Study


  1. Locate the webpage Acts of the Virginia Commonwealth on the PBS site Slavery and the Making of America: The Slave Experience.
  2. Use the following keywords in your search: acts of Virginia Commonwealth slave experience.
  3. Read the information on this page. Feel free also to locate and incorporate additional scholarly sources to respond to this case study.
  4. Construct the case study by responding to the following prompts:

  • Describe in what ways the practice of slavery was different between Africans and Europeans?
  • Explain how the length of service of slaves (servants being brought into the colony without indentures or covenants) change between 1642 and 1705?
  • How was the status of children born to slaves by white men determined?
  • Describe in what ways were slaves treated similarly to property (regarding the right of possession, damage to property, etc.)?
  • As the author of the Declaration of Independence, analyze Jefferson’s viewpoint of slavery and abolition of slavery.

In Africa, slavery was not that much  pressing as it was in Europe. In the African context, the slaves worked under the master and with few cases of harassment and intensive work. However, in the European context ,slavery was the main economic activity. It involved intense works and harsh living conditions. The mistreatment of slaves in Europe compared to humane treatment in Africa is that in Africa, slavery was among  similar races; thus, racism was not practiced. The unfair treatment was mainly as a result of tribal differences. However, in Europe racism was a contributing factor; hence, the reason why it was characterized by inhumane treatment, including unendurable working conditions and denial of human basic rights. The length of slavery is known to have changed between the year 1642 and 1705 as stipulated in the case study. This change is varying whereby in 1642s, slaves were taken without any form of agreement as opposed to the 1705 period whereby contracts and agreements were signed in various ways. Children born to the slaves by the White Man was only determined to be free according to the condition of the mother, and if anyone found to have fornicated, he or she was to pay double the fines imposed.

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