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 w*****—for good or bad—a major 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 w*****ys to entice immigrants, particularly the poor and laboring class, to make the long and expensive trip ***** *****. However, ***** burden was too great for most individuals. In the mid 1500s, the owners of the large land companies recognized that in order to increase the number ***** workers they had to offer free transportation. The English government quickly agreed, since they ***** have fewer unemployed individuals who "threatened to become criminals" (Geiser, 1901, p. 5). This answered one of the major economic *****roblems of the times.

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

The derivation of the term "indentured" is believed to have come from the Middle-English 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 ***** copied twice on the same paper. The paper was then torn in half with the worker ***** ***** ***** each receiving a copy. ***** ragged edge of the page would *****ly fit exactly together with the other half ***** similarly ripped paper (Webster Dictionary,). That was proof that the two pieces of paper were parts of the original contract. ***** this way, ***** individuals ***** not alter any of the original *****s, such as the ***** of years ***** servitude or the freedom due.

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