If you buy a brand new car, carefully chosen, determined to keep it all the days of your life; and the company provides you a rental car periodically:
>> Which one do you keep in the garage?
>> Which one do you wash and wax regularly?
>> Which one do you service most often, and provide the best personal maintenance?
>> Which one do you drive in bad weather?
NOT THE TEMPORARY!
And so it was with slaves and indentured servants!
FACTS: Servants were here today and gone soon! Workem' to death while you can!
FACTS: Slaves are lifetime investments, and having a life-long working relationship - of having to watch one's back if that relation is NOT made good for the slaves.
FACT: In most cases, they were considered "fellow workmates, often given property to build a house, raise a garden and some livestock, to marry and raise children.
FACT: Often they ate with the family, their children played together and on Lord's day they all Prayed together!
FACT: Slaves by far received the best care, as they were an expensive investment and a life-long relationship;
FACT: Servants and apprentices were here today and gone tomorrow, OFTEN to become you competitor across town!
FACT: The temporary servants got ALL of the hardest, hottest, heaviest, riskiest work, with the least care by the masters!
AMAZING FACT: The death rate among servants - was much higher than for slaves - and many servants did not live to the end of their terms.
[SOURCE: White Servitude, by Richard Hofstadter, Montgomery College].
Remember, 80% of American Citizens before Revolutionary War were Indentured Servants - NOT aristocrats!
An indentured servant was typically a young, unskilled laborer contracted to work for an employer for a fixed period of time, typically seven years (sometimes more or less), in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of their indenture.
They included men and women; most were under age 21, and most became helpers on farms or house servants. They were not paid wages.
Farmers, planters, and shopkeepers found it very difficult to hire free workers in colonial America, primarily because it was so easy for those workers to set up their own farm.
One solution was the purchase of slaves, but the more common solution was to pay the passage of a young worker from England or Germany, who would work for several years to pay off the passage.
During that indenture period they were not paid wages, but they were provided food, room, clothing, and training. Most white immigrants arrived in Colonial America as indentured servants, usually as young men and women from Britain or Germany, under the age of 21.
Typically, the father of a teenager would sign the legal papers, and work out an arrangement with a ship captain, who would not charge the father any money. The captain would transport the indentured servants to the American colonies, and sell their legal papers to someone who needed workers.
At the end of the indenture, the young person was given a new suit of clothes and was free to leave. Many immediately set out to begin their own farms, while others used their newly acquired skills to pursue a trade.
Legal arrangements of this type have been widespread throughout world history in different forms.
Indenture of apprenticeship a child aged 6 years and 11 months, for a period of 14 years, 1 month. dated Feb. 1,1823, Sussex Co., Delaware.
Workers included some Asians, Europeans, including Irish, Scottish, English, and Germans, immigrated to Colonial America in substantial numbers as indentured servants, particularly to the British Thirteen Colonies.
In the 17th century, nearly two-thirds of English settlers came as indentured servants, although indentured servitude was not a guaranteed route to economic autonomy.
Given the high death rate, many servants did not live to the end of their terms. In the 18th and early 19th century, numerous Europeans traveled to the colonies as redemptioners, a form of indenture.
It has been estimated that the redemptioners comprised almost 80% of the total British and continental emigration to America prior to the Revolution.
Indentured servants were a separate category from bound apprentices. The latter were American-born children, usually orphans or from an impoverished family who could not care for them. They were under the control of courts and were bound out to work as an apprentice until a certain age. The most famous of these was Benjamin Franklin who illegally fled his apprenticeship with his brother, and Andrew Johnson, who later became president. Costs and wages
Wages were low in England,[when?] amounting to about 50 shillings a year for a plowman, and 40 shillings a year for an ordinary unskilled worker. Ship captains negotiated prices for transporting (and feeding) a passenger on the seven or eight week journey across the ocean, averaging about 6 pounds to 10 pounds,[when?] the equivalent of four or five years of work back in England.[Need quotation to verify] Legal documents
An indenture was a legal contract enforced by the courts. One indenture reads as follows:
This INDENTURE Witnesseth that James Best a Laborer doth Voluntarily put himself Servant to Captain Stephen Jones Master of the Snow Sally to serve the said Stephen Jones and his Assigns, for and during the full Space, Time and Term of three Years from the first Day of the said James’ arrival in Philadelphia in AMERICA, during which Time or Term the said Master or his Assigns shall and will find and supply the said James with sufficient Meat, Drink, Apparel, Lodging and all other necessaries befitting such a Servant, and at the end and expiration of said Term, the said James to be made Free, and receive according to the Custom of the Country. Provided nevertheless, and these Presents are on this Condition, that if the said James shall pay the said Stephen Jones or his Assigns 15 Pounds British in twenty one Days after his arrival he shall be Free, and the above Indenture and every Clause therein, absolutely Void and of no Effect. In Witness whereof the said Parties have hereunto interchangeably put their Hands and Seals the 6th Day of July in the Year of our Lord, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy Three in the Presence of the Right Worshipful Mayor of the City of London. (signatures)
When the ship arrived, the captain would often advertise in a newspaper that indentured servants were for sale:
Just imported, on board the Snow Sally, Captain Stephen Jones, Master, from England, A number of healthy, stout English and Welsh Servants and Redemptioners, and a few Palatines [Germans], amongst whom are the following tradesmen, viz. Blacksmiths, watch-makers, coppersmiths, taylors, shoemakers, ship-carpenters and caulkers, weavers, cabinet-makers, ship-joiners, nailers, engravers, copperplate printers, plasterers, bricklayers, sawyers and painters. Also schoolmasters, clerks and book-keepers, farmers and labourers, and some lively smart boys, fit for various other employments, whose times are to be disposed of. Enquire of the Captain on board the vessel, off Walnut-street wharff, or of MEASE and CALDWELL.
When a buyer was found, the sale would be recorded at the city court. The Philadelphia Mayor’s Court Indenture Book, page 742, for September 18, 1773 has the following entry:
James Best. Who was under Indenture of Redemption to Captain Stephen Jones now cancelled in consideration of £ 15, paid for his Passage from London bound a servant to David Rittenhouse of the City of Philadelphia & assigns three years to befound all necessaries.
 Comparison to slavery
Like slaves, servants could not marry without the permission of their owner, were subject to physical punishment (like many young ordinary servants), and saw their obligation to labor enforced by the courts. To ensure uninterrupted work by the female servants, the law lengthened the term of their indenture if they became pregnant. But unlike slaves, servants could look forward to a release from bondage. If they survived their period of labor, servants would receive a payment known as "freedom dues" and become free members of society. One could buy and sell indentured servants' contracts, and the right to their labor would change hands, but not the person as a piece of property.
On the other hand, this ideal was not always a reality for indentured servants. Both male and female laborers could be subject to violence, occasionally even resulting in death. Richard Hofstadter notes that as slaves arrived in greater numbers after 1700, white laborers became a "privileged stratum, assigned to lighter work and more skilled tasks."See also: Black Codes in the USA Redemptionist profile
Indentured servitude was a method of increasing the number of colonists, especially in the British colonies. Voluntary migration and convict labor only provided so many people, and since the journey across the Atlantic was dangerous, other means of encouraging settlement were necessary. Contract-laborers became an important group of people and so numerous that the United States Constitution counted them specifically in appointing representatives:
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years....
Displaced from their land and unable to find work in the cities, many of these people signed contracts of indenture and took passage to the Americas. In Massachusetts, religious instruction in the Puritan way of life was often part of the condition of indenture, and people tended to live in towns.
The labor-intensive cash crop of tobacco was farmed in the American South by indentured laborers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Indentured servitude was not the same as the apprenticeship system by which skilled trades were taught, but similarities do exist between the two mechanisms, in that both require a set period of work. The majority of Virginians were Anglican, not Puritan, and while religion did play a large role in everyday lives, the culture was more commercially based. In the Upper South, where tobacco was the main cash crop, the majority of labor that indentured servants performed was related to field work. In this situation, social isolation could increase the possibilities for both direct and indirect abuse, as could lengthy, demanding labor in the tobacco fields.
The system was still widely practiced in the 1780s, picking up immediately after a hiatus during the American Revolution. Fernand Braudel (The Perspective of the World 1984, pp 405f) instances a 1783 report on "the import trade from Ireland" and its large profits to a ship owner or a captain, who:
"puts his conditions to the emigrants in Dublin or some other Irish port. Those who can pay for their passage—usually about 100 or 80 [livres tournois]—arrive in America free to take any engagement that suits them. Those who cannot pay are carried at the expense of the shipowner, who in order to recoup his money, advertises on arrival that he has imported artisans, laborers and domestic servants and that he has agreed with them on his own account to hire their services for a period normally of three, four, or five years for men and women and 6 or 7 years for children."
In modern terms, the shipowner was acting as an contractor, hiring out his laborers. Such circumstances affected the treatment a captain gave his valuable human cargo. After indentures were forbidden, the passage had to be prepaid, giving rise to the inhumane conditions of Irish 'coffin ships' in the second half of the 19th century.
1. ^ William Moraley and Susan E. Klepp, The infortunate: the voyage and adventures of William Moraley an indentured servant, Google Books, page xx
2. ^ Fred Albert Shannon, Economic History of the People of the United States (Macmillan, 1934) pp 73-79
3. ^ James Curtis Ballagh, White Servitude In The Colony Of Virginia: A Study Of The System Of Indentured Labor In The American Colonies (1895)
4. ^ Frank R. Diffenderffer, The German Immigration into Pennsylvania Through the Port of Philadelphia, 1700-1775, Genealogical Pub. Co., Baltimore, 1979. This book describes the indenturing process in detail for immigrants from numerous European countries.
5. ^ Moraley, William; Klepp, Susan E. and Smith, Billy Gordon (2005). The infortunate: the voyage and adventures of William Moraley, an indentured servant. Pennsylvania State University Press. ISBN 0271026766. http://books.google.com/books?id=FPk4MtlX9oUC.
6. ^ "The Irish in the Caribbean 1641-1837: An Overview". Irlandeses.org. http://www.irlandeses.org/0711rodgers2.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
7. ^ "White Slavery, what the Scots already know". Electricscotland.com. http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/white_slavery.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
8. ^ Gottlieb Mittleberger on Indentured Servitude, Faulkner University
9. ^ Indentured Servitude in Colonial America, By Deanna Barker, Frontier Resources
10. ^ "The curse of Cromwell", A Short History of Northern Ireland, BBC. Retrieved October 24, 2007.
11. ^ White Servitude, by Richard Hofstadter, Montgomery College
12. ^ "Price & Associates: Immigrant Servants Database". Immigrantservants.com. http://www.immigrantservants.com/. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
13. ^ See Richard B. Morris, "Emergence of American Labor.", U.S. Department of Labor, August 30, 2005
14. ^ Ruth Wallis Herndon and John E. Murray, eds., Children Bound to Labor: The Pauper Apprentice System in Early America (2009)
15. ^ Shannon, Economic History of the People of the United States (1934) pp 75-76
16. ^ Frank R. Diffenderffer, The German Immigration into Pennsylvania Through the Port of Philadelphia, 1700-1775, Genealogical Pub. Co., Baltimore, 1979.
17. ^ Pennsylvania Gazette (weekly Philadelphia newspaper), August 17, 1774
18. ^ Record of Indentures, Philadelphia, 1771-1773, Genealogical Publishing Co., Baltimore, 1973.
19. ^ Eric Foner: Give me liberty. W.W.Norton & Company, 2004. ISBN 978-0-393-97873-5.
20. ^ White Servitude, by Richard Hofstadter
21. ^ U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 2.
22. ^ "Laws on Indentured Servants". VirtualJamestown.org. circa 1619-1654. http://www.virtualjamestown.org/servlaws.html. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
23. ^ "US Peonage and involuntary servitude laws". Usdoj.gov. http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/1581fin.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
24. ^ Michael D. Bordo, Alan M. Taylor, Jeffrey G. Williamson, eds. Globalization in historical perspective (2005) p. 72
25. ^ Gordon K. Lewis and Anthony P. Maingot, Main Currents in Caribbean Thought: The Historical Evolution of Caribbean Society in Its Ideological Aspects, 1492-1900 (2004) pp 96-97
26. ^ Lewis and Maingot (2004) p 97
27. ^ Population, Slavery and Economy in Barbados, BBC.
28. ^ A failed settler society: marriage and demographic failure in early Jamaica, Journal of Social History, Fall, 1994, by Trevor Burnard
29. ^ Walton Lai, Indentured labor, Caribbean sugar: Chinese and Indian migrants to the British West Indies, 1838-1918 (1993)
30. ^ Steven Vertovik, "Indian Indentured Migration to the Caribbean," in Robin Cohen, ed. The Cambridge survey of world migration (1995) pp 57-62
31. ^ "Documenting Democracy". Foundingdocs.gov.au. http://www.foundingdocs.gov.au/item.asp?sdID=86. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
32. ^ "Inside Dubai's labour camps | guardian.co.uk". London: Guardian. 2008-10-08. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/gallery/2008/oct/08/1?picture=338366526. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
33. ^ Galenson, David (March 1984). "The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas: An Economic Analysis". The Journal of Economic History 44 (1): 1–26.
34. ^ Galenson, David (March 1984). "The Rise and Fall of Indentured Servitude in the Americas: An Economic Analysis". The Journal of Economic History 44 (1): 1–26.
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