Indentured Servant vs African Slave

654 Words3 Pages
Many are familiar with the Slave Trade within the US; I was very familiar with the life of the indentured servant. In New England, indentured servants were treated much more decently than they were in the Chesapeake colonies. After the New England indentured servants arrived in America, they worked on farms and in homes and sometimes, lived long enough to pay their servitude. After this, they went about living regular lives i.e. getting married and having children. However, the contrary was true with the indentured servants of the Chesapeake colony. The Chesapeake colony’s need for labor due to the tobacco boom demanded a flood of slave labor. Just as with African slaves, no one was overly concerned whether or not the Chesapeake indentured servants received decent food, adequate clothing or necessary medical attention. (Divine et al. 2011, pg 61) These indentured servants would not have been any better off if they remained in England. However, there was a dramatic demographic shift around 1680. Although the infant mortality rate remained high, the life expectancy the indentured servants increased. (Divine, et al. 2011, pg 61) The freemen of the colonies began to take a more active role in government and society. This situation is similar to that of the original African slaves brought over in 1619. The status of the colonies’ Africans was vague; some settlers made their slaves property for life while others worked as servants for a stated period of time. (Divine, et al. 2011, pg 62) It was even possible for Africans to purchase their own freedom. They went on to own their own property and farms. There was no reason for Virginia lawmakers to draw up legislation about the Africans’ status since there were so few of them. Close to the end of the 17th Century, there were approximately 1500 Africans within the Virginia colony. (Divine, et al. 2011, pg
Open Document