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 ***** 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 ***** detailed often, yet this w*****—for good or bad—a maj***** aspect of Colonial history.

When the Colonists came to ***** New World and saw that the land would yield profitable returns, ********** 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 ***** ***** 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, 1901, p. 5). This answered one of the *****or 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 ***** describes both *****se terms. These two ***** differ depending on whether the immigrant be***** a contr*****cted servant at *****, for *****, or at debark*****ion, for redemption. The *****er individuals, or indentured immigrants, signed contracts pre-voyage and, once arriving in *****, were called "servants... whose times are to be disposed of by the captain..." ***** 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) money." Once ***** ***** the servant, *****se redemptioners were then also ***** "servants." Although they went by the same name, it is imp*****tant to distinguish between the two ***** of contract *****ing, which affected ***** incidence of *****ing risk between shipper and servant and the flexibil*****y ***** contracting between ***** and American master (xxx).

The derivation of ***** term "indentured" is believed to have come from the Middle-***** word "endenture," a ***** agreement, from Anglo-Norman, from endenter, to indent (from ***** matching notches on multiple copies of the documents); The contract the intended servants signed was copied twice on the ***** paper. The paper was then torn in half with the worker ***** the captain each receiving a copy. The ragged edge of the page would only fit exactly together with the other ***** of similarly ripped paper (Webster Dictionary,). That was 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 ***** ***** years of servitude or the freedom due.

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