Indentured servitude was one of the ancient labor systems that existed in the colonial era. It was a form of labor system where people paid for their passage to the New World by working for an employer for a number of years. The New World mainly consisted of the many American colonies that had better living standard and jobs. Indentured servitude was mostly practiced during the 18century by the poor in Britain and Germany to get passage to the American colonies. Normally, they would work for their master for a number of years, and later be free to work on their own. The employer would have purchased an indenture from the sea captain who would have brought the laborers over. After the time of working for the employer passed, the indenture worker would be paid “freedom dues” as a sign of being a free member of the society. The right to the indentured servants would change hands since indentured contracts could change hands, but not to the point where a person was considered a piece of property.The American Revolution had the greatest impact towards the decline of indenture services. Coupled with the economic crisis that happened during the American Revolution, indentured servitude became unattractive and uneconomical for the employers. In 1803, the English Passenger Vessel Act was passed. It was meant to make transportation of laborers difficult by introducing regulations on travel conditions in order to reduce emigration. Additionally, in 1833 in America, there was an abolishment towards employers imprisoning their debtors who had run away from servitude duties. Therefore, it increased the risk of purchasing indentured contracts.Slavery on the other hand is simply forced labor. Its genesis dates back to 8000 BC in Egypt and was equally practiced in almost all civilizations. Majority of the slaves originated from Africa and shipped to the different colonies across the world. During the American Revolution, the economy slumped and having slaves was not viable. The slave masters that needed the slaves no longer had businesses or farms to attend to so the slaves were unnecessary. During this era, there was a decline in the need for slaves which had an effect on the transportation of slaves.However, in 1793, a northerner by the name Eli Whitney made a successful invention of the cotton gin and this led about the demand of cotton. Cotton was easy to grown and cultivate, which in turn increased the population of cotton farmers. As a result, the practice of slave trade resurfaced due to the demands of cotton as then it proved economical. Their arguments faced challenges from many quarters but majority of the farmers stuck their ground. Majority of them insinuated that slavery was the only best solution towards accommodating the black people. They argued that black people, who were brought as slaves, were like children, and could not care for themselves. Therefore, slavery emerged as a benevolent institution of keeping them fed, clothed, cared for and occupied.Wage labor was not so different from slave labor only that the ownership of the slave was retained to the slave themselves. Many socialists argued that wage labor was worse than chattel slavery but slaves became more accustomed to it as time went by. Compared to a slave laborer who is sold to his master once and for all, the wage laborer sells themselves in parts, and continues to look for a better buyer in the capitalist class. In summary, all the three labor systems above had a slavery aspect in their composition. They were not conducive working environments but the American Revolution emerged as a critical reminder of how inhuman and punitive it was to the society.
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