Slave Trade Vocabulary

Updated: 7/20/2018
Slave Trade Vocabulary
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Triangular Trade / Atlantic Slave Trade Lesson Plans

Atlantic Slave Trade

Lesson Plans by Matt Campbell

Throughout American history, no institution has divided the country more than slavery. Despite being beacons of democracy and independence for the world to see, many of America’s founders were also slave owners. Understanding the institution of slavery is essential in the study of American history, as it played a major role in America’s economy, society, and political systems. From the first colony of Jamestown to the ratification of the 13th Amendment, America’s dependence on slave labor remains a contentious topic and has left a permanent scar on America’s past.


Atlantic Slave Trade

Storyboard Description

Slave Trade Vocabulary - Slave Codes - Cash Crop - Overseer

Storyboard Text

  • Cash Crop
  • Overseer
  • Faster, slaves!
  • A cash crop is an agricultural term for any crops grown with the intent to sell for profit. During the height of the Slave Trade, cotton, rice, sugar, indigo, and tobacco were the major cash crops in America.
  • Middle Passage
  • An overseer was an individual who worked on slave plantations and was responsible for the productivity of slaves. Overseers were infamous for their brutality and intimidation of slaves to ensure a maximum yield of profit.
  • Slave Codes
  • Slave Codes 1. Slaves are prohibited from possessing weapons. 2. Slaves are prohibited from leaving their owner's plantations without permission. 3. Slaves are prohibited from lifting a hand against a white person, even in self-defense. 4. A runaway slave refusing to surrender could be killed without penalty.
  • The Middle Passage is the term used to describe the slave ship's voyage from Africa to America. This voyage was infamous for the brutal conditions and high death toll among the captives.
  • The Middle Passage
  • Slave codes were a series of laws throughout Colonial America that restricted the movement and actions of slaves. These codes deterred slaves from running away or rebelling against their masters, as death was a common punishment.
  • Christian, Charles M., and Bennet, Sari, Black saga: the African American experience : a chronology, Basic Civitas Books, 1998