What was life like for indentured servants in the colonies?
Servants typically worked four to seven years in exchange for passage, room, board, lodging and freedom dues. While the life of an indentured servant was harsh and restrictive, it wasn’t slavery. There were laws that protected some of their rights.
How were female indentured servants treated?
Indentured servants could not marry without the permission of their master, were sometimes subject to physical punishment and did not receive legal favor from the courts. Female indentured servants in particular might be raped and/or sexually abused by their masters.
How were indentured servants treated in Colonial America?
Indentured servants were frequently overworked, especially on the Southern plantations during planting and harvesting season. Corporal punishment of indentured servants was expected for rule infractions but some servants were beaten so severely they later died. Many servants were disfigured or disabled.
What made an indentured servants life so difficult?
The life of indentured servants was very hard. Poor living conditions and back-breaking labor made it difficult to live even long enough to finish their contract. Indentured servitude declined because slavery became more economically advantageous since they served for life.
What is an indentured servant Where were they used?
Indentured servants were men and women who signed a contract (also known as an indenture or a covenant) by which they agreed to work for a certain number of years in exchange for transportation to Virginia and, once they arrived, food, clothing, and shelter.
What role did indentured servants and the development of slavery play in Colonial America?
As a carryover from English practice, indentured servants were the original standard for forced labor in New England and middle colonies like Pennsylvania and Delaware. These indentured servants were people voluntarily working off debts, usually signing a contract to perform slave-level labor for four to seven years.
Did indentured servants receive land?
Although some indentured servants completed their contracts and received land, livestock, tools, and other necessities to set out on their own, many others did not live to pay off their contracts because they perished from diseases or work-related accidents; some also ran away before completing their terms of service.
Did indentured servants get paid?
No, indentured servants did not get paid. In exchange for their labor, they received nominal food and board.
What is one way slaves were treated differently from indentured servants in colonial North America?
Indentured servitude differed from slavery in that it was a form of debt bondage, meaning it was an agreed upon term of unpaid labor that usually paid off the costs of the servant’s immigration to America. Indentured servants were not paid wages but they were generally housed, clothed, and fed.
Why were indentured servants treated better than slaves?
Some masters considered their indentured servants as personal property and made these individuals work difficult jobs before their contracts expired. Other masters treated their slaves more humanely than their servants because slaves were regarded as a lifetime investment, whereas servants would be gone in a few years.
Can indentured servants vote?
Indentured servants in colonial British America could not vote.
Could indentured servants be sold?
Indentured servitude in Virginia was a kind of temporary slavery. While still serving their time, servants were under the total authority of their masters and they could be bought and sold like slaves.