The Involuntary Migration of Indentured Servants and Enslaved Africans to the America Colonies – Assignment Example

The paper "The Involuntary Migration of Indentured Servants and Enslaved Africans to the America Colonies" is a great example of an assignment on history. The involuntary migration of indentured servants and enslaved Africans to the American colonies share significant similarities and differences among them. Significantly, one half to two-thirds of all immigrants to Colonial America arrived as indentured servants and they were basically slaves who were enforced to be servants by the laws of the courts. The indentured servants, as well as the enslaved Africans, experienced harsh and brutal treatment in the American colonies. The Virginia Colony set down bodily punishment for the indentured servants who would not pay attention to the commands of the master and several the servants died due to such punishments. Similarly, the enslaved Africans also experienced harsh treatment and they were often beaten and raped by their masters. Slavery always followed indentures and it was a means to alleviate labor shortages. “Eventually, the final attempt to ease labor shortages was the enslavement of Africans. Wherever you find slavery, you first find indentures… In theory, the person is only selling his or her labor. In practice, however, indentured servants were basically slaves and the courts enforced the laws that made it so. The treatment of the servant was harsh and often brutal.” (Barker, 2004). However, there were basic differences between the involuntary migration of indentured servants and enslaved Africans to the American colonies. Whereas the indentured servants sold themselves to an agent or ship captain before leaving the British Isles, the African slaves did not sell themselves for debts and they were enslaved, i.e. it was not voluntarily. Whereas the indentured servants who worked their full indenture received freedom dues, the African slaves did not have the fortune to receive freedom dues as they did not sell themselves for debts. “If a servant worked their full indenture, they received freedom dues, which were based on Hebrew law from the Old Testament. Many colonies also granted land to the newly freed servant.”