Slaves And Indentured Servants Essay Sample
Historical backgrounds of indenture servants, first slavery laws of 1661, slave trade, Nathanial’s rebellion, and slave act of 1705, slave code are few of the main central points that will be mentioned within the internal assessment....
slaves and both indentured and non-indentured servants.
Colonial masters first adopted the institution of indentured servitude rather than slavery for labor; African slaves were very expensive and indentured servants needed employment.
The institution of slavery began to evolve in Colonial Virginia. The first Africans brought by the Dutch in 1619 were not all enslaved. Some probably had the status of indentured servants, as indentured servitude was the form of non-free labor most often used by the English of this period (Botsch 1994, 10). Over a period of fifty years or more, the Africans in Virginia slowly lost this status and move from temporary servitude to servitude for life; slavery (Botsch 1994, 10). Prejudice and greed may have contributed to the creation of slavery in the early colonies. Greed appears to be the foremost reason, because of the desire for cheap labor to clear land for tobacco in Virginia, and rice in South Carolina. Freeing servants who worked for an agreed time was expensive, so whites tried to find ways to keep Africans as servants for life. For the first several decades, slave prices were high, but as they dropped many farmers and planters preferred slaves over indentured servants who were set free at the end of their contract (Stuckey and Salvucci 2000, 65). Slaves could be purchased once and were “owned” for their entire life. By the late 1600’s, the English wrote enslavement into law. As the colonial period progressed, the ownership of slaves determined the amount of social prestige and influence one would have among whites. The large planters were the dominant class and non-slaveholders were of lower social rank (Divine 2002, 415).