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 throwing some new light upon an important phase of our Colonial history ***** which comparatively little has been written." One hundred years later, Geiser could easily publish his book again, since most people in the United States do not know about servitude during early America except for the 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 profitable returns, *****y tried a number of different ways to entice immigrants, particularly the poor and laboring class, to make the long and expensive trip ***** America. However, the burden was too great for most individuals. In ***** mid 1500s, the owners of ***** large land companies recognized that in order to increase the number of workers they had to offer free transportation. The English government quickly agreed, ***** they would have fewer unemployed individuals who "threatened to become criminals" (Geiser, 1901, p. 5). This answered one of the *****or economic problems of ***** times.

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

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

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