Indentured Servants Dbq

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During the 19th and 20th centuries the practice of slavery gave way to indentured servitude. Although these indentured servants were paid for their work, their lifestyle wasn’t much better than that of the slaves. There were three main factors that shaped the system of indentured servitude: the economy, the treatment of the indentured servants, and the backgrounds and destinations of the servants. The economy was a direct cause for indentured servitude, the treatment of the servants deeply affected their lifestyles, and their backgrounds as well as their destinations helped to explain how they came to be an indentured servant and explain what areas were the most in need of indentured servitude. Therefore, the economy of North America caused…show more content…
In this group I included documents one, seven, and eight. Document one is a statement written by Herman Merivale, the British Undersecretary of the Colonies in the 1850’s. This statement tells about how the indentured servants weren’t your ordinary immigrants. He also stated that they were constantly working to try and improve the conditions they’re working under. His point of view on this subject matter may not be that correct because he probably never really interacted with the indentured servants. If and when he did he also would have only seen how indentured servants were treated when a man of authority was around, not how they were treated on a day to day basis. Document seven shows a conditions agreement that the masters of indentured servants are supposed to uphold. It shows that the servants have to work for five years, six days a week, and that they’re paid very little for their services. This document shows bias in favor of the masters and the government because the agreement was written by a recruiter for British Guiana. The indentured servants didn’t really get a choice of what kind of life they were going to live. Instead, the government officials included things in the agreement that were fair from their perspective, but in all reality they were really only concerned about the cheap labor they were getting, not about the lives of the servants emigrating from Asia. Lastly, document eight is a letter written by an indentured servant trying to notify a government official about the terrible conditions he is working under. This letter shows that indentured servants were worked extremely hard and given practically nothing in return for what they did, not even good meals. The bad treatment of the indentured servants is a major effect of the practice of indentured servitude that affected many
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