Module 02: Unthinking Decision? Why Did Slavery Emerge in Virginia?

Evidence 12: Profit/Cost of Labor Calculator


To compare the profit and cost of indentured servitude to slavery, use data from the preceding graphs to fill in the appropriate blanks on the Profit/Cost of Labor Calculator below for both servants and slaves in 1620, 1660, and 1690. Notice how the "annualized acquisition price" and the "annual profit" change. The acquisition price indicates how much per year it cost to acquire, though not feed or clothe, a worker, which is roughly the same for servants and slaves. Profit indicates how much income (in pence) the worker will earn his master that year raising tobacco. You can also enter numbers not on the graphs to gauge which factors caused cost or profit to rise or fall. Click below to view the preceding charts.

Servant Prices in Virginia, 1620-1690

Slave Prices in Virginia, 1620-1690

Term of Servants in Virginia, 1620-1690

Life Expectancy After Arrival in Virginia, 1620-1690

Price of Tobacco in Virginia, 1620-1690

Profit/Cost of Labor Calculator

(click to use)

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