Many white Southern Christians, including church ministers, attempted to justify their support for slavery as modified by Christian paternalism.
The largest denominations, the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches, split over the slavery issue into regional organizations of the North and South.
In 1654, John Casor, a black indentured servant in colonial Virginia, was the first man to be declared a slave in a civil case.
There were no laws regarding slavery early in Virginia's history.
But, in 1640, a Virginia court sentenced John Punch, an African, to slavery after he attempted to flee his service.
New communities of African-American culture were developed in the Deep South, and the total slave population in the South eventually reached 4 million before liberation.
As the West was developed for settlement, the Southern state governments wanted to keep a balance between the number of slave and free states to maintain a political balance of power in Congress.
For slavery among Native Americans, see Slavery among Native Americans in the United States.