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Indentured Servitude In Massachusetts

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Indentured Servitude in Massachusetts Indentured servitude, the practice of signing oneself into a slave-like servitude for an agreed upon amount of time in exchange for various provisions, was widely popular in early Massachusetts as a way for American people to build a workforce and immigrants to migrate to the New World. Indentured men, women, and children, largely from Europe, became a crucial part of the fabric of the society, culture, and economy of this state and the city of Boston. Boston’s economy was shaped by immigrant indentured servants due to their vast impact in building the city to begin with, as well as the practice allowing for immigrant communities to be established in America. Plymouth Colony, one of the original colonies…show more content…
Therefore, Massachusetts had an interest in keeping the servants controlled and watched over. The laws were also put in place because of the upward mobility permitted of former indentured servants. If they were slaves, there would be no use to educate or moralize them; however, there was a joint interest in making them functioning members of society so that they could be assets to rather than blights on the colony once freed from indenture. One way that the law encouraged both the view of indentured servants as children of their masters, and their growth and development was to punish the master for the transgressions of the servant. For example, in 1630 the General Court began regulating the gambling and card playing habits of indentured servants; if a servant was found doing either of these things, the master would receive a fine on his or her behalf (Deetz). The masters also had control over which servants could get married and to whom, although servants could petition the court if they felt their requests were unjustly denied (Deetz). Lastly, masters could not legally shorten the agreed-upon length of an indenture, regardless of any unforeseen circumstances, and they were responsible for the keeping and wellbeing…show more content…
The foundation indentured servitude laid for not only the economic advancement of Americans but also of immigrants has greatly benefitted the state. Without them, the Plymouth Colony and other early settlements would not have succeeded and turned into the colony of Massachusetts, which then developed great industry and became a leader for the country. Later on, indentured servitude was the reason immigrants were able to build such incredible communities in Massachusetts, all of which contribute something unique and wonderful back to the state that houses them. Indentured servants sacrificed countless years of their lives to the labor required to build Massachusetts, and the growth and success of our state is to show for
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