Indentured Servanthood in the Colonies Paper
During the Colonial period many people from Europe arrived in America to live as indentured servants. There were many reasons why immigrants made their way to the colonies, but the most prominent reason was a simple one – a chance at a better life. Documented accounts give us various perspectives of the men and women who took the risk of travelling the dangerous ocean (in a questionable vessel), to live a life of servitude in America. Most indentured servants were treated with disdain, and when we look at the written accounts of these individuals, it’s evident that those who left their homeland in search of a new beginning often got more than they bargained for. Physical, mental and sexual abuse, starvation, extreme neglect, violence and corrupted land-owners awaited them.
Those who came to America for the purpose of service believed that working for the Master of a home would give them a life of opportunity. Many European immigrants financed their migration by signing a contract that obligated them to a certain amount of time or a ;fixed term; of service. After completion of their commitment, they were told that they’d receive freedom, a foot in the door of independence and the success that comes from living as a free man or woman in America.Unfortunately, these promises were empty and misleading. Mittelberger stated that those who had no formal contracts "were auctioned off to the highest bidder upon arrival". The immigrant became property, losing the affects and respect that should be given to every human being.
Personal accounts of indentured servants give us a grim view of their quality of life with their problems and hardships beginning well before they arrived in America. Once they boarded the ship that would take them to their new life, troubles began. Many became sick and died on the six month journey. Those who lost a loved one at sea were indentured not only for themselves, but also for the one…