Unfree Labor In Colonial America

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FRQ for Three World Collide (Chapter 1-3) What role did unfree labor play in colonial American society? Unfree labor systems have been around in America since the early 1600’s and can still be seen today. The first form of slavery started with the arrival of indentured servants, where people bound themselves to masters in return for passage to America, many of whom wanted to escape their turbulent homeland. Eventually, this turned into the slavery as we have come to know it- African Americans doing backbreaking work for little or no money. While many disregard this system as cruel and unfair, in reality it helped to shape America as it is today. Without the help of this system, economies would not be as developed as they are now. Unfree labor played a very important role in shaping the economy and society of colonial American through the use of indentured servants and slavery. The system of temporary servitude in the New World was established out of practices used in New England. In short, indentured servants were mainly poor British people without jobs. This process included young men/women binding themselves to masters for a fixed term of servitude in return for passage to America, food, and shelter. Some indentured servants chose to come to the colonies willingly, often trying to escape troubles in England, but not all. Some were convicts shipped to America while others were prisoners from battles. Regardless, the system of indentured servitude proved to be very appealing to those able to employ them. One reason this system was successful was because the Indian population could not be easily transformed into submissive work force. This indenture system provided a means of dealing with the severe labor deficiency in the New World. By the late seventeenth century, indentured servants and people formally working as indentures became one of the largest elements of
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