Is it possible to have a democratic society founded on inequality?

Paper instructions

Watch Nightmare in Jamestown documentary from this link:

…and study chapter 3 from the textbook from this link :
(to read the chapter click the link then click ” book details” then click ” table of contents” then go to chapter 3
. Then post an initial discussion thread of at least 250 words about the following events:

In 1619, three events helped establish democracy and slavery as foundational institutions of U.S. history. Virginia established the House of Burgesses (our textbook calls it the “General Assembly of Virginia”); Africans first arrived in the English colonies at Jamestown, and a shipload of “ninety maidens” were brought to Jamestown to be sold as wives to the settlers for 120 pounds of tobacco.

For years historians applauded the establishment of the House of Burgesses as one of the seeds of American democracy. More recently, historians have pointed out that this early legislature had little power, its delegates were not democratically elected, and only the wealthiest settlers in colonial Virginia were represented there. Despite these limitations, historians generally agree that establishment of the House of Burgesses indicates a growing English acceptance of the principle of representative government.

Is it possible to have a democratic society founded on inequality? Your answer should reflect your understanding of the video and provide a complete identification of the events of 1619 as they are discussed in the textbook.


Is it possible to have a democratic society founded on inequality?

Yes. It is possible. The question presumes that democracy means equality but that is not the case. Since its beginning, human society has invariably perpetuated inequality through categorization of members of the society into noble class, free men, citizens, women and slaves. Take the case study of colonial settlement in English American colony in the 17th century. The enslaved Africans helped to shape Jamestown and establish permanent settlement in Virginia colony. The slaves not only shaped Jamestown but also the future development of democracy of the US. After surviving many challenges, the colony gained permanence and established tobacco plantations. Cultivation of tobacco needed constant labor supply. Reliance on indentured labor had its own challenges and proved unsustainable. As a result, chattel slavery began to hold in Chesapeake colonies. Bacon’s Rebellion facilitated the transition to African slavery (OpenStax.). Racism and economics intersected to introduce the institution that brought privilege and fortunate to colonists and inequality and violence to slaves (OpenStax). The radicalized slavery system that underpinned the economy contrasted the values of equality and liberty, the ideals of true democracy.

Gain in economic and political stability raised the need for a governor, a council and House of Burgesses to run the affairs of the colony. While England appointed the governor and council, the settlers elected the representatives to the House of Burgesses (general assembly). Although limited in authority, this represented government received acceptance and recognition back in England. While indentured servitude and chattel slavery coexisted in colonial Virginia as earlier as 1600s, African slavery become the main in the early 18th century when the House of Burgesses passed a number of slaves. It passed legislation making Africans and they descents property of the colonists and slaves for life. In other words, a representative government facilitated the creation of the institution of slavery and thus inequality. To this end, it is possible for a democratic society to be founded on inequality.

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