Indentured Servitude

5 May 2017

The legacy of the slave trade revived in the aura of the Nineteenth Century. After the abolition of slavery forms of labor that inquired the exploitation of workers remained alive. The most prominent was indentured servitude, which became one of the driving forces for global interdependence. The necessity for cheap laborers and desire to strengthen the economy stimulated the exploitation and transportation of indentured servants from Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands and India, thus creating a self-sufficient and diverse environment in the world’s powerhouses.

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In response to the abolition of slavery, the importation of migrant laborers for agricultural work to the Americas was seen as a necessity. In Document 2, an editorial in the National Mercury on the visit of Sir George Grey, a British colonial governor, the author suggests that in order to gain profit from the sugar cultivation more laborers are needed to work. In this article, the servants as seen as an essential tool for their success, only valuing them for their own benefit. In addition, in Herman Merivale’s excerpt, Document 1, he explains that the indentured servants are not slaves, but are aised like recruits for the military service.

Both documents enforce the constant necessity for workers in countries like South America, North America and Britain. Further notion of the significance that indentured servitude had on the Americas could be obtained by government statistics on the economy in the Americas before and after the years of indentured servitude. The spread of indentured servitude in the years 1834-1919 connected Africa with the Caribbean and with Asia, as well as Asia with the Americas, as shown in the map in Document 3. The number of slaves working in Mauritius are shown in Document 6, mphasizing on the difference in gender.

The conditions and regulations of the indentured servants were ridged and strict. In the images shown in Document 5, the circumstances of Asian Indian indentured laborers in sugar plantations and harvesting sugar cane are explicitly shown as backbreaking. Various workers to fulfill the arduous work became the demand of Europeans, specifically Dutch. Document 7 also shows the limited rights and high demands for indentured servants in an agreement provided by a recruiter for British Guiana, which clearly explains the conditions and rights of an indentured servant.

The excerpt “Everyday except Sunday… Seven hours in field or ten hours in the factory buildings,” shows how strenuous the conditions were for a worker. The migration of servants marked global interconnectedness that reflected the power that countries held and the submission of workers for their own benefit. The mark that indentured servitude left on the countries exporting the servants could be explored more in depth with a diary or journal from a wife in Japan, China, or India showing her feelings and emotions toward the migration of her husband.

Also, an account of the economy in that country would show the financial position of countries exporting servants would how the effect that indentured servitude had on the other countries and not only the Americas. Although it was a mutual benefit, the profit gained by the servants was enjoyed. The migration of servants from one continent to another signified the cultural diversity in the Americas and did not fail to emphasize the subordinate position held by the indentured servants.

This wide spread of cultures was also perceived in demographics, depicted in a chart in Document 4. Document 4 displays the numbers of servants from Indian, China and Japan exported to tropical-like lands, such as Trinidad, Cuba, and Hawaii. The diaspora of Indians, Chinese, and Japanese to foreign lands resulted in ethnic and cultural diversity in later generations. In addition, as the chart in Document 9 shows the percentage of Asian, Japanese and Chinese migration to specific lands in the year from 1920-1921.

Although one of the essential results of the migration of indentured servants in the early Twentieth-Century was the diversity, the poor class of servants suffered from the aspects of indentured servitude. In a letter from an indentured servant, Document 8, the servant complains about the harsh and strict hours and low wage. The letter serves as a contradiction or opposite position as the document proposed in Document 7, in which the rights guaranteed and hours provided were lowered and diminished the servant’s right.

Although indentured servants enjoyed the title, “free workers,” reality proved that slaverys old ways were still set forth in the way indentured servitude was practiced. The rise in industry and desire improve the economy aroused the need for indentured servitude. This system not only forced the intermarriage of people creating diversity but also was a tremendous benefit for the developing capitalist ocieties in the Americas and Great Britain. The abolished system of slavery instigated the rise of indentured servitude.

People migrated with signed contracts from one continent to the other. Although they were considered free, it was only a title since they were subjugated to strict working hours and low wages, conditions too similar to those of a slave. The transformation that slavery had into indentured servants created a modifications to labor systems that are still seen today. Indentured servitude is still practiced nowadays, with the unjust and inhumane regulations.

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Indentured Servitude. (2017, May 17). Retrieved February 24, 2019, from https://newyorkessays.com/essay-indentured-servitude/
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