For a long time, Jamestown, VA took in many indentured servants—a worker who is under contract of an employer for up to seven years in exchange for transportation and many necessities (clothing, food, drink, and lodging)—in order to fulfill the duties that the owners couldn’t. Though employers made Jamestown seem like a loving and welcoming place, it was just the opposite. These indentured servants were treated equally to slaves, but many were willing to risk their lives in order to gain their own land. Once they obtained land of their own, they could grow their own tobacco and become extremely wealthy.
George Alsop’s memoir of his service as an indentured servant in the colony of Maryland provides an insightful look into the lives of indentured servants in Maryland during the middle of the 17th Century. Throughout this period of colonial America the British were notorious in their use of propaganda to attract young British men into indentured servitude as the use of slaves was not yet perpetual, and would not be until 1670. Alsop depicts an idealistic view of indenture servitude in Maryland during his own time of service, which may have been the case, however this view can be contested by Nathaniel
Contrary to the pilgrims of New England, those who settled in the Chesapeake area colonized the region for more economic purposes. Many people who settled in the Chesapeake were down-on-their-luck English citizens living in swamps and slums hoping to stake it out in the New World, because it couldn’t be much worse than the conditions they faced back in England. Most received their tickets to America through indentured servitude, paying for their trip with a few years of free labor for a wealthy master. Document C is a roster of indentured servants bound for Virginia who are all set to work for the same master. Indentured servitude had long lasting effects on the colonies, the most impactful being Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 (Document H). This uprising was caused former indentured servants who had no land or property of their own once their work contracts expired. Because the land westward was populated by Natives and therefore almost impossible to acquire, the dissenters focused against the rich and powerful members of the colonies. The successful uprising led to reforms such as work regulations explained in Document E, as well a shift away from indentured servitude and towards slavery of blacks. Other settlers besides indentured servants were aspiring traders and gold-hunters mentioned in Document F. While traders had little success early on and treasure hunters definitely didn’t find their fields of
During the 18th century, indentured servitude had become very common in British North America; this was one way many poor Europeans could come to America for a “better” life. In order to emigrate to the American colonies, they would sign long-term labor contracts, to pay off the debt they picked up when they wanted to come to the American colonies. The primary source, “Gottlieb Mittelberger on the Trade in Indentured Servants” is written by Mittelberger himself in 1750, who was an emigrant that arrived in British North America as an indentured servant. In this source, he explains the negatives of coming to British North America; the ups and downs he faced, for instance: the long and horrible voyage conditions, and the sale of human beings once they had landed.
The poem America by Claude McKay is on its surface a poem combining what America should be and what this country stands for, with what it actually is, and the attitude it projects amongst the people. Mckay uses the form of poetry to express how he, as a Jamaican immigrant, feels about America. He characterizes the bittersweet relationship between striving for the American dream, and being denied that dream due to racism. While the America we are meant to see is a beautiful land of opportunity, McKay see’s as an ugly, flawed, system that crushes the hopes and dreams of the African-American people.
In the 18th century, there was a huge migration of people from Europe and Germany into the new land, America. Some fled war, discrimination, some came in as slaves, and others migrated in search of a new beginning, and new opportunities. According to the letter by Elizabeth Sprigs of Maryland to her father, there was a cost of immigration. Only a few of the immigrants like Johannes Hanner, were fully free. Others traded their freedom for a specific period of time in exchange for passage to America. In her letter, Elizabeth expresses the harsh conditions that they went through to earn the passage by working as indentured servants. Johannes, on the other hand, expresses the good life he was experiencing compared with the situation in his former
Tobacco was a main crop in colonial America that helped stabilize the economy (Cotton 1). Despite the fact that tobacco took the place of the other crops in Virginia, as well as replacing the hunt for gold with tobacco cultivation. It proved to be a major cash crop, especially in Virginia and Maryland (Weeks 3). Tobacco left many people financially troubled because other occupations were disregarded or not as profitable as tobacco farmers (Randel 128). The unemployment that tobacco brought about made many colonists poor and homeless (128). After the tobacco boom started, many men signed themselves to indentured servitude hoping to be freed and given land along with other promised goods (Tunis 79). Three hundred and fifty thousand
Consequently, when Maryland, the second colony, was founded, the king at the time gave them an ally, Cecilius Calvert, who was the second Lord Baltimore. He was a Roman Catholic himself, and he promised "refuge for his fellow Roman Catholics," as well as Protestants to set a model for toleration. (Alan Taylor page 58) Not everyone was able to travel to the colonies, so there were two classes the free men and the indentured servants. The free men and women that travelled did so because they would have "an immense head start in the race for wealth and political influence." (Alan Taylor page 59) The indentured servants however did not have to pay rather sell themselves for about four to seven years to work, then be released and given freedom dues which are "a new set of clothes, tools, and food," sometimes they are even given fifty acres of land. (Alan Taylor page 59) Some did not survive their terms, and died of either too much labor or the numerous diseases.
Life in England during the early 1600’s was harsh for a multitude of the poor. The country was just coming out of the Thirties Year’s War with a flood of citizens and laborers displaced. In fact, PBS (2015) indicated that “the timing of the Virginia colony was ideal.” The Thirty Year 's War had left Europe 's economy depressed, and many skilled and unskilled laborers were without work. A new life in the New World offered a glimmer of hope; this explains how one-half to two-thirds of the immigrants who came to the American colonies arrived as indentured servants” (para. 3). This opportunity for those willing to receive free passage to the New World and start a new life was enticing. Granted, the work was difficult it was not without reward.
Throughout the time of the Roanoke catastrophe and the hardships of Jamestown, tobacco made its grand introduction as America’s newest cash commodity that would allow success to flourish in Virginia, with a permanent English presence. Tobacco was formally popularized by a man named John Rolfe in the year 1610 and became the top resource that helped the future of this colony thrive. Tobacco did all of this by turning an
Many colonies would not have survived if it wasn’t for the discovery and growing of tobacco, as this plant enabled the colonies to thrive, and even have a surplus of profit, therefore they could afford more servants, thus, creating a continuous travel of immigrants into the colony, overall creating stable colonies.
One may ask, how could anyone benefit from being a servant? Even though this may seem like a very logical question, to those involved in this life style, it all made sense. Let?s take a look at it from their point of view. When early settlers were attempting to colonize here in the new land, the first successful colony wasn?t actually established by the English government. In fact, it had been the successful venture of a privately owned business, The Virginia Company of London. This company was actually comprised of investors with seemingly good intentions. Their end goal was to extend
By the 1670’s prices for tobacco entered a fifty-year period of inactivity and decline, as land became limited and costly. Thereafter, in 1681, Maryland abandoned its requirement for servants to obtain land with their freedom dues. This made the Chesapeake land less of an opportunity for immigrants (Norton, 42). Furthermore, the restoration of the colonies provided mirgrants other settlement options (65). As time passed throughout the 1680’s, the cost for indentured servants rose by nearly sixty percent in some colonial regions. In Europe and England with the increase of income; It then took a smaller share of one’s annual salary to purchase voyage to the colonies, enabling immigrants to refrain from entering indentured contracts. For many of
This selection, Letter by a Female Indentured Servant, really gives you incite as to what life was like in the 1700s as an indentured servant. (Foner, 2011) The reader can really feel the pain she is going through while she was in America trying to pay her dues for passage to what they thought was the promise land. She wanted to ensure her father really knew what kind of horrible life she was living because of the details she included like she was whipped to the degree that she now serves the animals. Apparently, you didn’t speak of the horrible things that would occur as an indentured servant because she writes to her father that she hopes he will pardon the boldness of her complaints and she also hope