Indentured Servitude

672 Words3 Pages
Throughout the history of the United States, immigration has contributed greatly to the development of the country. For centuries, immigration has provided the United States with extraordinary population growth and remarkable changes among social, political, and economic structures. However, immigration was not the only significant factor that influenced the growth of the United States. Beginning in the 17th century, indentured servitude became a common practice within the colonies that eventually became the United States and the Irish as well as other European groups were a major source of obligatory labor. Ultimately, this practice of indentured servitude led to and occurred alongside the mass enslavement of Africans. Albeit, the African experience of slavery, racism and oppression differed greatly in comparison to other ethnic groups such as the Irish. Although Irish immigrants suffered considerably from prejudice and maltreatment, the conditions that Africans confronted were exceedingly harsher than those that confronted the Irish. The…show more content…
However, over the next several decades, the African population had increased greatly and by 1750 slaves constituted over 40 percent of the population (Takaki, 1993, p. 61). The demand for the enslavement of Africans began to increase rapidly during the latter half of the 1700s due to the fact the Industrial Revolution was arising, resulting in a critical need for labor. To satisfy the demand for labor, slave ships began to evolve to accommodate multitudes of African slave laborers. These slave ships were essentially seagoing prisons and the prisoners were treated as cargo (Rediker, 2007, p. 43-45). Subjected to overcrowding and sullied conditions, many of the slaves didn’t survive the voyage to America. In 1808, African slave trade was prohibited by what was now the United States; however, slavery remained an unyielding practice within the
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