The role of indentured servants vs. slaves
The growth in the agricultural sector led to the demand of labor that was to be provided by both the indentured servants and slaves. This was as a result of poor technological advancement in the field of agriculture-there was no modern machinery. Therefore, the roles of both the indentured servants and slaves are to provide labor for planting, cultivating, and harvesting of cash crops (tobacco, rice, among others).The major role that they played was to offer cheap labor to their masters. They were responsible for providing labor in their masters’ farms.
The difference between indentured servants and slave as illustrated from the book.
Looking at the differences between the two, slaves were confined for perpetuity, while indentured servants had the chance of becoming free members of society upon completion of their services. Slaves were never compensated for their services, while indentured servants were working in exchange for a previously agreed upon amenity. They worked in exchange for shelter, clothing, food, and transportation and other amenities with agreed upon terms that their labor would be compensated for- getting to foreign lands or similar terms. When the commitment was satisfied, they would be delayed free. Slaves were well thought-out as possessions of their masters and had no privileges. They worked for many years with no assurances of being unchained.
Why and how did slavery outlast indentured servitude?
As time passed by, Indentured servitude proved less than superlative for meeting grand labor requirements. Indentured servants worked in contracts- approximately 5yrs. After successfully completing their contract, they were confirmed free. Their contracts also specified the rewards that were to be given to them by their masters-land. This fact increased the cost of having them and hence the need for cheaper alternatives. The use of slaves was the only left alternative. The maintenance of a slave was friendly, and one could even keep a slave forever. Indentured servants had more rights than a slave and so the master was more restricted in punishing them or working them, hence the need to look for a better alternative that he or she could have total control. Indentured servants were more likely to run away and look for better employers who offered more enticing rewards. It is argued that only 40% completed the contracts. But, Slaves were easier to bring back in case they ran away in view of the fact that they were all black.
Servants vs. Slaves Hisory#2 Form week 2, Reading; chapter three