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Furthermore, by the 1660's, Maryland was firmly committed to a tobacco staple economy that demanded an abundance of cheap labor.After the first serious tobacco depression, the result of the Navigation Act of 1660, economic conditions in the colony favored those investors with considerable capital who could command large labor forces.
The African-American were a more visible element in society than they had formerly been.Nor did it incorporate religious exceptions because, as we have seen, the law's major purpose was to clear the way for holding black Christians in perpetual bondage.The second provision specified the inheritability of the slave status by paternal descent.Apparently, the offspring of unmarried black men and white woman, as well as the offspring of any white man and black woman, were to be free.The third and fourth provisions sought to deal with the "disgrace" of marriages between black male slaves and freeborn English women, and to provide a standard for determining the status of the children of mixed marriages.But, we have also seen evidence in the early tax laws and inventories that at least some black women were present in Maryland before 1664.
While the 1664 law was important in giving legal definition to racial slavery, it was evidently inadequate to deal with the particular problem at which it was aimed, keeping Christian blacks as slaves.
The incorporation in 1662 of the Royal Africian Company seemed to assure a ready supply of Africian slaves.
Finally, the passage of time had brought about a new element in the native population: the offspring of mixed parentage. The specific issue that prompted the 1664 law, however, was the problem of baptized blacks who claimed their freedom.
Perhaps their ambivalence (cited above) over the humanity of blacks gave Marylanders pause in this regard.
Or perhaps they feared such a law would be disallowed.
There were several reasons why the first slave law should have come at that particular time.