Clash of Cultures
November 20, 2012
Clash of Cultures
Regardless of their country of origin, many early immigrants were indentured servants, people who sold their labor in exchange for passage to the New World and housing on their arrival. Initially, most laws passed concerned indentured servants, but around the middle of the seventeenth century, colonial laws began to reflect differences between indentured servants and slaves. More important, the laws began to differentiate between races: the association of “servitude for natural life” with people of African descent became common. Re Negro John Punch (1640) was one of the early cases that made a racial distinction among indentured servants.
The expansion of American Slavery began in Europe when the need for labor arose in the New World during the late 1500s and 1600s. When the Europeans discovered that sugar was incredibly labor intensive it led their search for labor towards African slaves. This led to the trade of goods especially guns for slaves whom were brought back to Europe and eventually the New World.
During the early 1600s, the North American colonies relied on indentured servants for labor. However, by the 1680s the indentured servants were replaced with slaves and by the 1700s there was little to none left for they had all been replaced with slave labor. Despite the variety of benefits of indentured servitude (the ability of landowner and laborer to communicate easily, similarities in culture and religion between the two), it posed several problems in North America. Many servants ran away once they landed in North America and blended in easily once they escaped. Most servants also died shortly after arriving in America due to a wet climate since most were native to West Africa. Those who did end up surviving finished their seven years of indenture servitude and earned their freedom. This freedom led to less indentured servants because the economy in England...