The Role Of Indentured Servants In The United States

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With the inability of utilizing Native Americans in the early colonial labor force, skewed sex ratio of nearly 3 males to 1 female, and high mortality rates, plantation owners relied on the second most obvious source of labor, other Europeans. “Population growth, economic depression, and enclosures had worsened poverty and unemployment in England and produced a supply of recruits who were willing to sign an indenture, a contract by which they agreed to work for a term of four to seven years in exchange for passage to a set of new clothes, some tools, and fifty acres of land.” (Clark, Hewitt, Brown and Jaffee ). As a result, of these conditions in Europe, plantation owners had no choice but to create these poor European adults from various backgrounds as their servants. The first Africans to arrive in Jamestown was in 1619 as indentured servants. The contract for indentured servants was not racially segregated, so Africans and White Europeans were treated equally.…show more content…
In the year 1940, Anthony Johnson, one of the African indentured servants, was one of the first free African Americans to receive land. He married an African American servant named Mary and had four children, soon to own his own land and servants. However, this period came to an end, when a black indentured servant, John Punch, ran away with two other white indentured servants in 1940. After getting caught, the white men were extended their time in servitude; however, John Punch was sentenced to lifetime servitude. This was the first documented case of lifetime servitude, and thus marking the legal beginnings of
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