The Stepping Stones of Labor in America Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 30 November 2016

The Stepping Stones of Labor in America

Throughout time, in all places, there is an upper class and a lower class. During the 16th to 19th century in America people came from all over Europe. People from Europe found America as an escape from their life; a new start. Some could not afford to take a boat ride across the Atlantic with their whole family. Because of this, some people became indentured servants. Later on, the South revolutionized America by bringing in black slaves and getting rid of indentured servitude. Slaves generated the economy for the South, but was also the main cause of the civil war. Both slaves and indentured servants were treated badly, however, black slaves were much more expensive and had to work for life, whereas indentured servants worked for a reward.

Both the indentured servants and black slaves did very similar agricultural work. They were treated dreadfully and were not able to change their employer. They didn’t get to choose what labor they did and they were not able to own the product from their labor. Black slaves were captured in Africa and brought on boats to come to America. A lot of black slaves didn’t make it to America because of sickness and diseases on the boat. Indentured servants were often forced to go with their owner or were kidnapped and put on ships, where the boats were unsanitary.

During this time in America there was too much land for the amount of people so when they servants and slaves were brought over they had to sustain the crops and the fields. They worked long hours in the cold winters and in the brutal summer days in the fields. Both the indentured servants and black slaves were scarred mentally for being taken from their families and coming to a new land. They were physically beaten if they tried to escape or didn’t do their work well. Sometimes they were beaten without a reason. Both groups were treated badly and couldn’t do anything about it.

Indentured servants had a certain amount of time they had to work to get a reward so they had more motivation for becoming free and had hope during tough times whereas black slaves were forced into labor for their whole life and didn’t have any hope to escape. After the indentured servants had did their time depending how long their contract was, they were given money, land and often a sustainable job.

Black slaves were permanently slaves and didn’t have as much hope as indentured servants because they had no family and they knew that they were stuck living their life the way it was forever. Also, indentured servants often had learned some economically valuable skills, so when their contract was up, they were more prepared for the outside world, while black slaves were not usually and were not let out. Indentured servants were slaves and dehumanized during their time of their contract, but often had a better life because of what they learned from being a servant and their reward.

While both slaves and servants typically did similar work, slaves were bought and put into work whereas indentured servants signed a contract and the owner didn’t give up any money value until the end of contract. During this time the cost of a black slave was about 130,000 dollars. This was a lot higher because this is when there was no more indentured servitude and the South’s economy relied on black slaves for cotton. Paying 130,000 dollars for a slave seems like a bad investment, but they got the slaves for life and the slaves could reproduce and have more slaves in the future.

The biggest reason why black slaves were a better investment was that they were permanent and were with the owner forever or could be sold whereas white servants were short term and had to give up land and money in the land. Indentured servants were like a loans; you’d get them and at the end you would have to give up some money. Black slaves were worth so much more at the time then indenture servants and because of this indentured servants no longer existed.

The ultimate purpose of slaves and indentured servants are identical, however, the conditions on which they worked was completely different. Slaves had no hope for any freedom unless they risked the danger of escaping while indentured servants would one day be free from their masters, once they fulfilled there contracts which stated how long they would work for. Slaves were worth a lot more money and helped generate the economy for the South. Eventually indentured servitude disappeared and slavery had become one of the biggest forms of labor in America. While indentured servitude had little impact in the making of America, slavery become one of the most controversial issues of the 1800s, and the issues over racial discrimination
which had started in America in the 1600s, would continue on into the mid-twentieth century.

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