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 Servants of Pennsylvania, to "in the hope of throw*****g 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 ***** 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 not detailed *****ten, yet this was—for good or bad—a major aspect of Colonial history.

When the Colonists came to ***** New World and saw that the land would yield pr*****itable returns, they tried a number of different w*****ys 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 the mid 1500s, the owners of the large l***** companies recognized that in order to increase the number ***** workers ***** 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 ***** economic *****roblems 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 ***** differ depending on whether the immigr*****nt be***** a contracted servant at embarkation, for *****, or at debarkation, for *****. The *****er *****, or indentured immigrants, signed contracts pre-voyage and, once arriving in America, were called "servants... 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 "willing ***** serve a reasonable time ***** their ***** (freight) m*****y." Once ***** ***** the servant, *****se redemptioners were then also called "servants." Although they went ***** the same name, it is imp*****tant to distinguish between the two ways of contract *****ing, which affected ***** incidence of *****ing risk between shipper and servant and the flexibil*****y of contracting between ***** and American master (xxx).

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

This was believed to be

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