在英国，无力偿还债务的贫穷白人被卷入了一种契约奴役制度，在大多数方面都与奴隶制相似。有时候，仆人可以通过偿还债务来购买自己的自由，有时候也不会，但无论如何，在他们的状态发生变化之前，他们都是他们主人的财产。最初，这是英国殖民地中使用的模型，白人和非洲奴隶都一样。 1619年到达弗吉尼亚州的前20位非洲裔美国奴隶到1651年都获得了自由，就像白人契约仆人一样。然而，随着时间的推移，殖民地的土地所有者变得贪婪，并意识到动产奴隶制的经济利益 – 对其他人的完全，不可撤销的所有权。 1661年，弗吉尼亚州正式将动产奴役合法化，并于1662年，弗吉尼亚州确定，奴隶所生的孩子也将成为终身奴隶。很快，南方经济将主要依赖非洲裔美国奴隶劳工。在各种奴隶叙述中所描述的被奴役生活的严谨和痛苦在很大程度上取决于一个人是作为房屋奴隶还是种植园奴隶，以及一个人是否生活在种植园州（如密西西比州和南卡罗来纳州）或更加工业化州（如马里兰州）。根据宪法规定，奴隶的进口于1808年结束。这创造了一个利润丰厚的国内奴隶贸易产业，围绕奴隶繁殖，买卖儿童以及偶尔绑架自由黑人。然而，当奴隶逃离这个系统时，南方奴隶贩子和奴隶主并不总是指望北方执法部门协助他们。 1850年的“逃亡奴隶法”旨在解决这一漏洞。 1846年，一名名叫德雷德·斯科特的密苏里州一名被奴役的男子起诉他和他的家人作为伊利诺伊州和威斯康星州领土上自由公民的自由。最终，美国最高法院对他作出了裁决，指出非洲人的后裔不能成为有权享受“权利法案”规定的保护的公民。这项裁决产生了令人不寒而栗的影响，将基于种族的动产奴隶制作为一项政策比任何其他裁决更明确，这一政策在1868年第14修正案通过之前一直存在。
In the UK, poor whites who are unable to pay their debts are involved in a contractual slavery system that is similar in most respects to slavery. Sometimes servants can buy their own freedom by paying off their debts, sometimes not, but in any case, they are the property of their owners before their state changes. Originally, this was the model used in the British colonies, both white and African slaves. The top 20 African American slaves who arrived in Virginia in 1619 gained freedom until 1651, just like the white contract servant. However, over time, the landowners of the colonies became greedy and realized the economic benefits of movable slavery – full, irrevocable ownership of others. In 1661, Virginia officially legalized movable slavery, and in 1662, Virginia determined that children born to slaves would also become lifelong slaves. Soon, the southern economy will rely mainly on African American slave labor. The rigor and suffering of enslaved life described in various slave narratives depends to a large extent on whether a person is a slave to a house or a plantation slave, and whether a person lives in a plantation state (such as Mississippi and South Carolina). State) or a more industrialized state (such as Maryland). According to the Constitution, the import of slaves ended in 1808. This created a lucrative domestic slave trade industry that revolves around slavery, buying and selling children and occasionally kidnapping free blacks. However, when slaves fled the system, the southern slave traders and slave owners did not always expect the northern law enforcement agencies to assist them. The 1850 “Runaway Slave Act” aims to address this loophole. In 1846, a enslaved man from Missouri, named Dr. Scott, sued him and his family for freedom as a free citizen on the territory of Illinois and Wisconsin. In the end, the US Supreme Court ruled against him, stating that the descendants of Africans cannot be citizens who are entitled to the protection under the Bill of Rights. The ruling has had a chilling effect, making ethnic-based slavery as a policy more explicit than any other ruling that existed until the 14th Amendment of 1868.