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[SOLVED!] Why Did They Stop Using Indentured Servants?

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In England, servitude dates back to medieval serfdom. In June 1349, the Ordinance of Labourers was passed. It stated that anyone under sixty years old who does not practice a trade must work for any person who requires their services. The law was updated by Parliament in 1495, 1563 and the Statute of Artificers in 1563. This latter version is still in force when Jamestown was founded. Between 1520 and 1630, England’s population more than doubled, from 2.3 million to 4.8 million, and Parliament hoped its 1563 statute might “banishe Idleness advance Husbandrye,” and so deal with the near-overwhelming number of poor and unemployed citizens. The founding of Virginia, in fact was partially a response to this issue. In his Discourse on Western Planting (1584), Richard Hakluyt (the younger) argued to Queen Elizabeth that new American colonies would energize England’s “decayed trades” and provide work for the country’s “multitudes of loyterers and idle vagabondes 😊” [1]
This seemed to be a benefit for the servant too. The master would pay the entire fare for each indentured servant. A contract was written that stipulated the length of service — typically five years. While working in the master’s fields, the servant would receive room and board. The servant will be paid “freedom dues” upon completion of the contract. This is a pre-arranged termination bonus. It could be land, money or clothing. It seemed like an amazing way for poor English people to find their way in new places. This was often not the case beneath the surface. This page was last modified on 50/02/2017 by Gautam McGowan (Hamilton, Canada). [2]
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Deborah Ledford at eh.net Additional information is available. Because of the’s having cost of passage—which exceeded half a year’s income for a typical British immigrant and a full year’s income for a typical German immigrant—only a small portion of European migrants could afford to pay for their passage to the Americas (Grubb 1985a). They did so by signing contracts, or “indentures,” committing themselves to work for a fixed number of years in the future—their labour being their only viable asset—with British merchants, who then sold these contracts to colonists after their ship reached America. The Virginia Company created indentured service in 1619. This was likely to be a mix of two different types of labour contracts that were popular in England during the same time, including apprenticeship and service as a husbandry. In other cases, migrants borrowed money for their passage and committed to repay merchants by pledging to sell themselves as servants in America, a practise known as “redemptioner servitude (Grubb 1986). While redemptioners were at greater risk as they couldn’t predict what terms they might negotiate for their labor, they have presumably done so to enjoy other advantages, including the ability to pick their master and where they will be working. Zenaida Ransom is commended for making this clear. [3]
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Galen craft available ldhi.library.cofc.eduAccording to the author, this is similar to how enslaved African Indians or Africans are treated. Contract holders could sell their servitudes at market to other bidders. Some contexts prohibited servants from having children, marrying, or getting married without their consent. Early colonial indentured slaves suffered from harsh labor and diseases. Many died prior to the expiration of their contracts. The contract could be extended by years if they have are caught trying to escape their servitude. Indentured servants often came to America willingly due to low wages, poor living conditions, and periods in Western Europe. However, significant numbers of them were kidnapped or taken as convict labor (last revision 53 days ago, Brandie McAllister, Yinchuan) [4]
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Article references

  1. https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/indentured-servants-in-colonial-virginia/
  2. https://www.ushistory.org/us/5b.asp
  3. https://eh.net/encyclopedia/indentured-servitude-in-the-colonial-u-s/
  4. https://ldhi.library.cofc.edu/exhibits/show/africanpassageslowcountryadapt/introductionatlanticworld/new-world-labor-systems–europ
Mae Chow

Written by Mae Chow

Passionate about writing and studying Chinese, I blog about anything from fashion to food. And of course, study chinese! I'm a passionate blogger and life enthusiast who loves to share my thoughts, views and opinions with the world. I share things that are close to my heart as well as topics from all over the world.

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