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Describe The Shift From Indentured Servitude To Slavery (Essay Sample)


The history of the United States dates back to the time Christopher Columbus and his Spanish crew members landed into the Bahamas after a two-month voyage into the Atlantic. After Columbus visit, Spain grew a deep interest for the new region that had been established.  Even though other Europeans had been to the newfound land before, it was not until Columbus visit that intent to settle in the land developed.  Settling in a new land was important for any nation as it grew its power


yujie zhang
first draft
The Shift from Indentured Servitude to Slavery
The question of who built America has elicited the interest of researchers for many years. While many people think that African slaves were actively involved in the provision of labor in the colonies, the fact is that slaves were brought in to the picture much later. At first, the planters relied on indentured servants from England to provide labor but this proved ineffective thus forcing the planters to turn to the slaves to work in their farms. Just like the indentured servants, African slaves were only required to work for a certain period before gaining their freedom. While the Southern colonies of Virginia and Maryland were tolerant towards slaves at first, the growing racial rigidity saw the emergence of racially based slavery as a distinctive labor system and its extension into Virginia and Maryland.
According to Clark and Hewitt, an estimated 130,000 migrants had journeyed from North America to Virginia and Maryland by 1700 (63). These new migrants developed ways to survive in Virginia and Maryland. To do so, the new migrants developed their way of life that made the region economically viable. To survive in the region, the settlers began growing tobacco for export to Europe. Even though tobacco had been grown in most regions, the planters had relied on indentured servants for the provision of labor. However, this trend began to change in the early 18th century as more planters began relying heavily on slaves for labor. This period was also marked by a significant increase of slaves. While the Chesapeake region had initially been a “society with slaves,” it was soon transformed into a “slave society”. In this new society, slaves were essential to the financial and social fabric and in which the two most important groups were slaves and the master class who owned them (Clark and Hewitt 63).
In order to understand how planters started relying on slaves for labor, it important to go back in time and examine the course of events that brought these changes. At first, the hope of the planters was that the Native Americans would be willing to provide labor. However, the availability of land to the Native Americans made them less willing to work in other people’s farms. By 1617, the colonists had the hope that the English goods and civility would entice and domesticate the Virginian people a move that would see them agree to work in the farms. However, the Virginian people refused to play this role a move that saw the planters want to enslave them. However, enslaving the Virginian people was not as easy due to their good knowledge of the terrain and the fact that they were well armed. The 1622 and 1644 wars with the Powhatans convinced the planters that it was necessary to chase them away from the areas inhabited by the Englishmen (Clark, & Hewitt 68).
In order to get laborers, the planters turned to the English authorities who gladly helped by transporting some of the London’s orphans to work in the tobacco fields. Between 1617 and 1624, a large number of orphans, most of who did not want to go to Virginia, were forcibly turned over to the planters to labor until they attained the age of twenty-one. After attaining the age of twenty-one, the orphans could be allowed to go back to their countries. However, the severity of the working conditions saw most of them die before attaining their freedom (Clark, & Hewitt 78). Since the need for labor was still there, the only option left for the planters was to sign contracts with young men to work for four to seven years before given free passage to the colonies. This indentured servitude worked mostly becau

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