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 ***** 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 *****ten, 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, 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 of the large l***** companies recognized that in order to increase the number of workers ***** had to offer free transportation. The English government quickly agreed, ***** they would have fewer unemployed individuals who "threatened to become criminals" (Geiser, *****, p. 5). This answered one of the major economic *****roblems 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 ********** terms. These two ***** differ depending on whether the immigr*****nt became a contr*****cted servant at embarkation, for *****, or at debark*****ion, for redemption. The former individuals, or ***** immigrants, signed contracts pre-voyage and, once arriving in America, 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 ***** "willing to serve a reasonable time for their passage (freight) money." Once they signed the servant, *****se redemptioners were then also called "servants." Although ***** went ***** the same name, it is important to distinguish between the two ways of ***** signing, which affected ***** incidence of contracting risk between shipper and servant and the flexibil*****y of contracting between servant and American master (xxx).

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

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