Differences between indentured servants and slaves

During the early years of the 1600’s many Europeans and Africans moved over from England and became indentured servants. Indentured servants were employed by wealthy people and were used mainly for cheap labor. Some types of labor consisted of working in the fields and helping farmers. Around the 1680’s is when the employment of indentured servants slowly dropped. The reason for the drop was due to the rise of slavery. This was masterminded by European and euro-American colonist who created a slave based community. There were even laws that made slavery race dependent. There were some differences between indentured servants and slaves. Indentured servants were used for cheap labor. They communicated easily with their masters due to having the same religious views and cultures. Indentured servants were under a contract that banded them to their master for 7 years. Once the contract expired after 7 years they were freed.

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They were then allowed to acquire their own land. Slaves were also used for labor but there were laws that were put in place that treated them differently. One law they had was the “Anti-amalgamation law, which outlawed interracial sex and marriage, rendering any relationship between a male colonist and a female slave illegal, and any relationship between an African American male slave and a female colonist intolerable”. (Schultz, 2014). If an African American mother was to have a child, that child was born into slavery and thus made the child a slave as well, once he or she was old enough. The slaves did not have a contract that expired after 7 years. Slaves were permanently owned by their masters. This meant that their masters could punish them any way he saw fit for anything they did wrong. There were also no laws that oversaw the killings of someone’s own slave. The reason I chose this topic for my journal entry is because I did not know anything about indentured servants. I did not know such practice existed. I knew about slavery but did not have much knowledge about the subject until I read Chapter 3.

Schultz, K.M. (2014). U.S. History through 1877 (3rd ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

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