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Indentured Servitude vs. Slavery

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Presentation on theme: "Indentured Servitude vs. Slavery"— Presentation transcript:

1 Indentured Servitude vs. Slavery

2 Indentured Servants                                                                                                                      

3 Indentured Servitude One half to two thirds of all immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants. At times, as many as 75% of the population of some colonies were under terms of indenture. . Labor shortages in England and in the colonies. Criminals convicted of a capital crime in England could be transported in lieu of a death sentence. Servitude also could result from indebtedness, where a person, their spouse or parents owed money, and the person was sold into servitude to recover the debt. 3

4 Indenture Contract of William Buckland
Tobacco plantations had a high demand for labor. One solution to this was to contract indentured servants. An indentured servant would be contracted to work for a master for a set amount of time in exchange for their passage to the colonies. Masters were expected to feed, clothe and house servants and their families. 4

5 Indenture Contracts African slaves were brought into the Chesapeake region in 1619, but they were more expensive than an indentured servant. By 1680, African slaves made up less than 7% of the population in the region. 75% of English immigrants to the colonies came as indentured servants. Young unskilled males usually had a contract that lasted 2-7 years. Children who were indentured were expected to serve until they turned 21. Some workers were convicts or vagabonds sentenced to service for up to 14 years by the English courts. 5

6 Conditions of Servitude
Masters were expected to feed, clothe and house servants. The reality, however, could be quite different. Indentured servants were treated the same as, and in some cases worse than, slaves. 2 out of 5 of indentured servants died before completing their term. Living and working conditions were horrible, and servants who tried to escape could have their term of service extended. 6

7 Freedom Upon the completion of their term of service, a servant was to be given the things necessary to start out on their own: Clothing Tools a gun a spinning wheel Land Many former servants headed west to start farms of their own. Some masters would allow the former servants to pay off the indenture of an unmarried woman, thus freeing the woman and providing the man with a wife. 7

8 Laws A number of laws were enacted throughout the seventeenth century that restricted both masters and indentured servants. In many cases, they were simply treated as children: the masters and mistresses were mandated to take care of them the servants were ordered to obey them Trade between the servant class and the free members of society was often restricted by law. Masters were ordered to provide them with food, clothing, and shelter, were not allowed to treat them cruelly, and were liable to the courts if they were found to improperly treat their servants. 8


10 The First Arrival of Slaves
1619 in Jamestown 20 Africans brought by the Dutch and traded to the English English used them as workers on tobacco plantations By 1660, slavery as we know it was established in Virginia

11 Where did they come from?
Western Africa 3 influential kingdoms = Songhai, Benin, and Kongo Future slaves taken by the Portuguese from here Commonalities of West African culture Small villages Respect family and tradition Political leaders get their authority from religion Everyone owns the land Trade

12 Why African Slaves? European enslaved Africans for 4 basic reasons.
Africans were immune to most European Disease. Africans had no friends or family in America to help them escape. Enslaved Africans provided a permanent source of labor, even their children were enslaved. Many Africans were experienced farmers in their native land.

13 Triangular Trade

14 Middle Passage It was the middle leg of the triangular slave trade which began and ended in Europe. No African expected the misery and horror it held. Slavers packed three or four hundred Africans into a lower deck— the ship's cargo.


16 Where did the captured Africans end up?

17 Questions The argument is often made that indentured servants were not the same as slaves. Is this statement accurate? Slavery continues to become less and less popular in the north, however the concept of indentured servitude remains well through the 18th century. Why would slavery remain strong in the south while in the north it virtually dies out?

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