Essay on African Slaves and Indentured Servants

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Despite being held at the bottom of the social pyramid for throughout colonial times, the labor of the colonies would prove to be far from useless. While vast, open land was turned into numerous plantations in the colonies by rich planters, the plantations could not purely be run by their owners, creating a great need for labor. This lack of labor would eventually be solved through the use of African slaves, but after the first shipment of slaves to Jamestown in 1619, few were purchased due to high prices for an extended amount of time. The planters, however, would be able to fulfill their need for labor through English indentured servants. Through the use of indentured servants, basically free labor was provided to land owners, while …show more content…
This allowed the freed servants to be self sufficient, and in some cases, these servants would even hire their own indentured servants. However, when these dues were not sufficient and did not include land, some servants had no choice other than continue in servitude. As such, the “freedom dues” would directly affect the colonial economy, determining whether or not there would be additional land owners. The indentured servants would also prove to help the already existing landowners to gain more land. The head right system, implemented in southern colonies such as Virginia and Maryland, gave a landowner or planter 50 acres of land for each servant he paid for to come with him to live in that colony. Here, the indentured servants helped the economy by allowing landowners to expand their territory, and produce more goods/crops. While at work, the servants also had a major and direct effect on the economy. From the early 1600s to the early 1700s, indentured servants comprised the majority of labor on the plantations and farms of the colonies. Without the use of indentured servants, the colonial economy would have crashed, as there would have been no labor to work on the vast plantations. Until African slaves became a more cost-efficient option for colonial landowners, the use of indentured servants was a very much viable alternative. Despite being quite familiar to the use of African slaves, and having African slaves introduced
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