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 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, and even indentured servants are not detailed often, yet this was—for good or bad—a major aspect of Colonial history.

When the Colonists came to ***** New World ***** saw that the land would yield profitable returns, they tried a number of different ways to entice immigrants, particularly the poor and laboring class, to make the long and expensive trip ***** *****. However, the burden was too great for most individuals. In ***** mid 1500s, the owners ***** ***** large land companies recognized that in order to increase the number of 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 ***** 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 *****se terms. These two methods differ depending on whether the immigrant be***** a contracted servant at *****, for indenture, or at debark*****ion, for redemption. The *****er individuals, or ***** *****s, signed contracts pre-voyage and, once arriving in America, were called "*****s... whose ***** ***** to be disposed of by the captain..." The latter *****, because they did not sign a contract until they arrived in America, were often called "passengers" or "freights" who ***** "will*****g ***** serve a reasonable time f***** their ***** (freight) m*****y." Once they ***** the servant, these redemptioners were then also ***** "servants." Although ***** went by the same name, it is important to distinguish between the two ***** of contract signing, which affected ***** incidence of contracting risk between shipper and servant and the flexibil*****y ***** contracting between servant and American master (xxx).

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

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