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 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, and even indentured servants are not detailed often, yet this was—***** 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 ways to entice immigrants, particularly the poor and laboring class, to make the long and expensive trip to America. However, ***** burden was too great for most individuals. In the mid 1500s, the owners of ***** large l***** companies recognized that in order to increase the number ***** workers ***** 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 major economic *****roblems of ***** 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 that describes both these terms. These two ***** differ depending on whether the immigrant became a contracted servant at *****, for indenture, or at debark*****ion, for redemption. The *****er individuals, or indentured immigrants, signed contracts pre-voyage and, once arriving in *****, were called "*****s... whose ***** are 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 ***** their ***** (freight) money." Once ***** *****ed the servant, ********** redemptioners were then also called "servants." Although they went by the same name, it is imp*****tant to distinguish between the two ***** of ***** signing, which affected ***** incidence of contracting risk between shipper and servant and the flexibil*****y ***** contracting between servant and American master (xxx).

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

***** was believed to be


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