Indentured Servitude Essay

968 words - 4 pages

Most historians believe that the first Africans to arrive in America in 1619 were the indentured servants. The author of Beneficiaries of Catastrophe: The English Colonies in America demonstrates a far different perspective about the first Africans to arrive in America. This author believes that the first Africans to arrive in America were treated despicably and were very beneficial to the colonists in work labor; and through historical data and research historians can see how many Africans were brought to the colonies. The recent school of thought believes that, "never can the advantages it brought about compensate for the harm it has caused." (P.3) Even though the general theme ...view middle of the document...

In their motivation to obtain material possessions, the settlers did not consider limiting the freedom of African slaves to obtain their futuristic goals. This viewpoint that the Africans who first arrived were slaves and therefore not indentured servants, expresses an analytical and realistic view of this historical period.The article sets forth numerical data which shows that the vast majority of Africans that arrived in then to the Americas came here in chains and unwillingly. The slave trade provided an ample work force for the colonists who needed hard labor to maintain their settlements. The slaves knowledge in cultivation also was an added bonus. This historical writer believes that the vast majority of people that left Africa and came to the Americas were brought over as slaves so that the Europeans could satisfy their greed, in their "quest for material improvement."(P.12) This desire to improve their material position caused many settlers to deprive many Africans of their freedom in order to achieve their ends. The slave trade began in the sixteenth century and continued for a number of centuries. The trade composed the largest group from migration. It was understood that "more than 8 million came against their will in chains." (P.5) Africans were the largest group that migrated to the Americas. Many could not withstand the grueling trip across the ocean. As a result, these Africans perished. This authors' viewpoint that the first Africans to be brought over were not indentured servants is predicated upon historical data that was calculated through numerical research. The historical data is based upon educated estimates of the number of people involved in the African slave trade. The data...

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