Essay - Indentured Servants in 1901, Karl Frederick Geiser Wrote the Book...

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Indentured Servants

In 1901, Karl Frederick Geiser wrote the book Redemptioners and Indentured ***** of Pennsylvania, to "in the hope of throw*****g some new light upon an important phase of our Colonial history upon which comparatively little has been written." One hundred years later, Geiser could easily publish his ***** again, since most people in the United States do not know about servitude during early America except for ***** African slaves. Terms such as redemptioners, embarkation, debarkation, ***** even indentured servants are ***** detailed often, yet this was—for good or bad—a maj***** aspect of ***** history.

When the Colonists came to ***** New World and saw that the land would yield pr*****itable returns, they tried a number of different ways to entice immigrants, particularly the poor and laboring class, to make the long and expensive trip ***** America. However, ***** burden was too great for most individuals. In the mid 1500s, the owners of ***** large l***** companies recognized that in order to increase the number of workers they had to offer free transportation. The English government quickly agreed, ***** they ***** have fewer unemployed individuals who "threatened to become criminals" (Geiser, *****, p. 5). This answered one of the *****or economic problems of the times.

Historians identify two methods of acquiring trans-Atlantic passage through servitude--"indenture" and "redemption." Today, the term "indenture" is used as a generic form ***** describes both these terms. These two methods differ depending on whether the immigrant be***** a contracted servant at *****, for indenture, or at debark*****ion, for redemption. The former *****, or ***** *****s, signed contracts pre-voyage and, once arriving in *****, were called "**********... whose ***** ***** to be disposed of by the capta*****..." The latter people, because they did not sign a contract until they arrived in America, ***** often called "passengers" or "freights" who were "will*****g ***** serve a reasonable time for their passage (freight) money." Once ***** *****ed the servant, ***** redemptioners were then also called "servants." Although they went ***** the same name, it is ***** to distinguish between the two ***** of ***** signing, which affected ***** incidence of contracting risk between shipper and servant and the flexibil*****y ***** contracting between servant and American master (xxx).

The derivation of ***** term "*****d" is believed to have come from the Middle-Engl*****h word "endenture," a written agreement, from Anglo-Norman, from endenter, to indent (from ***** matching notches on multiple copies of the documents); The contract the intended servants signed ***** copied twice on the same paper. The paper was then torn in half with the worker and ***** *****in each receiving a copy. ***** ragged edge ***** the page would ********** fit exactly together with the other ***** of similarly ripped paper (Webster Dictionary,). That ***** pro***** that the two pieces of paper ***** parts of the original contract. ***** this way, the individuals ***** not alter any of ***** original terms, such as the number of years ***** servitude or the freedom due.

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