Slavery And Indentured Servitude In The 18th Century

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In the 18th century, plantation owners relied on two types of labor: slavery and indentured servitude. Based on advertisements from runaway slaves and servants a fair amount can be interpreted about their lives. One similar experience is the value that their masters place upon the return of runaways. However, their experiences differed in terms of the personal clothing owned and the reality of freeom. For plantation owners, the exploited labor provided by servants and slaves was highly valued and the return of escaped individuals was worth fair compensation. For merchants to make the highest profit, they needed cheap forms of labor. By exploiting those who were of a lower class, these merchants were able to retain a higher profit and not…show more content…
Based off the advertisements, it can be concluded that the indentured servants were permitted nicer items than slaves were. The descriptions of the runaway slaves did not vary. Overall, slaves were almost always described as last seen in a form of “a man’s cloth jacket, a pair of brown cotton breeches, and an Ozenbrig shirt” . Additionally, some carried a jacket and shoes and stockings. In contrast, indentured servants might have experienced a bit more freedom and luxury with their clothing. Indentured servants had more clothing in their possessions, such as a second set of clothes made of finer materials, coats, and even wigs. The wig is particularly important because it represents the servant’s status as an Englishman which entitles him to nicer things. While it might appear materialistic, clothing represents how plantation owners viewed servants and slaves. Eventually, indentured servants will be released from their contract and will need clothes to wear out in the free lives while slaves were never allowed to be free, therefore masters neglected to provide more than necessary for
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