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Most laborers came from Britain as indentured laborers, signing contracts of indenture to pay with work for their passage, their upkeep and training, usually on a farm. These indentured laborers were often young people who intended to become permanent residents.
There were no laws regarding slavery early in Virginia's history.During and immediately following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery.Most of these states had a higher proportion of free labor than in the South and economies based on different industries.For modern-day slavery, see Human trafficking in the United States.Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries.More than one million slaves were sold from the Upper South, which had a surplus of labor, and taken to the Deep South in a forced migration, splitting up many families.New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, and the total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation.For slavery among Native Americans, see Slavery among Native Americans in the United States.For slavery in the colonial period, see Slavery in the colonial United States.The first six states to secede held the greatest number of slaves in the South.Shortly after, the Civil War began when Confederate forces attacked the US Army's Fort Sumter. Due to Union measures such as the Confiscation Acts and Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the war effectively ended slavery, even before ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865 formally ended the legal institution throughout the United States.