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Slavery vs Indentured Servants

  • Date Submitted: 11/18/2010 06:25 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 58.1 
  • Words: 286
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1.     Initially, African slave’s and indentured servants were of the same status, however as time progressed the status of these two groups changed drastically. The cause of this change is ultimately more complex than those in the seventeenth century could have ever imagined. During the greater part of this century, the colonists relied on other Europeans for labor and service. These people were labeled “indentured servants” which meant that they were to serve anywhere between 4 to 7 years as free labor, and in exchange would have free passage from Europe to America. The problem with this was that once they were free, they became competition. Because of this factor, and many others, beginning in the 1680s, colonists turned to African slaves. At first the differences between the two types of help were minor, but as time progressed the differences grew, until African slaves were the primary source of help for the colonists. African slaves also helped increase the colonies labor system by helping end the labor shortage. Peter Kolchin notes in his essay “The origin and consolidation of unfree labor” that in about 1760 about one of every seven New Yorkers was a black slave. The establishment and usage of the Atlantic World imported thousands of African slaves at once, on massive slave ships. Slavery was least important to small farm owners, who didn’t need slaves as much, their farms could be sufficiently run by the family. Large crop owners however, sometimes owned hundreds of slaves. Such as in the Narragansett region of Rhode Island, where there is a system of large-scale stock raising and dairy farming. In this region about one fifth to a quarter of the inhabitants were black slaves

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