Richard Frethorne: Indentured Servitude In American History

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Slavery and Servitude America in the 1670s and 1680s was becoming a new land with new world problems, especially in the Chesapeake. Tobacco cultivation was imperative to the regions prosperity, and in order to have a successful tobacco crop you must have an ample labor force. Indentured servitude by English men and women was in short supply, and for good reason considering indentures could be stretched from three to ten years of hard work with little to no luxury. In Chapter 2 of Major Problems in American History, Richard Frethorne expresses in a letter to his parents his absolute anguish for being an indentured servant in Virginia. Frethorne writes of his struggles and treatment while fulfilling his servitude. He writes of scurvy, dysentery, and other diseases that make his servitude experience even more excruciating. (Problems, 34) His first hand account helps us understand why indentured servitude was becoming so unpopular in the early settlements. Frethorne’s account also helps us understand why wealthy Chesapeake tobacco growers looked to the sugar islands located in the Caribbean where planters had purchased slaves since the 1640s. (People, 46) Although the slave trade was fully established in the Caribbean by the mid 1650s it…show more content…
In this document, Equiano recounts the day he was taken from his home; bound, gagged, and brought to the shore where he would ultimately be sold and shipped away forever. He was astonished when he first arrived to the shore where he describes the sight of a slave ship anchored in the harbor, but after he was forced aboard he truly believed that he was in a world of spirits. (Problems, 43) From the moment Equiano stepped foot on the slave ship, a truly horrific experience unfolded before him. As he recounts the voyage across the Atlantic a person can only imagine what an awful experience it must have
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