Indentured Servants and Slavery

By: Michael Kavelish


Indentured Servants and Slaves were used in the Colonies. They were forced to do work. Indentured Servants were mostly children who worked. Slaves were African people of all age groups who worked. Apprentices were colonists who work to learn a trade. Both Indentured Servants and Slaves were both used for jobs. Apprentices worked to learn jobs.

Indentured Servants

Indentured Servants were mostly children who were under an indenture. Indentured Servants were young men and women under the age of 21. Most of them were children. They had to work until either they were 21 OR for five to seven years. They were given food, clothes, and shelter. However, they earned NO WAGES. At times, the Servants could escape their master, but they could get caught unless they ran away with Pirates. Sometimes, they were kidnapped and forced to work against their will. This was because most children were orphans. All indentured servants came from England. They then rode a ship, like slaves, to the Colonies. Sadly, children aged one through seven barely survived the long sea voyage to the Colonies. The servants had to sign an indenture in order to work in the Colonies. Indentured servants wern't treated too much as slaves.


Fun fact: Slaves were around since ancient times.

Slaves were African people who had to go on a ship to the Colonies against their will. Millions of unlucky souls were sent through the Triangular Trade. As soon as they arrived to the Colonies, they were sent right to work on Southern Plantations. The slaves were treated like trash. The punishments from their masters were cruel. The master could make the slave work ALL day without rest, beat them, or KILL them! This was legal! Another reason why is that they were black and they had NO RIGHTS at ALL. This was a reason why they weren't treated like a Colonist. Oh, they weren't Christians as well. Slaves and Slave Labor were more important in the South for Household Help. They weren't much needed in the Middle and New England Colonies.

Slavery was indeed cruel. Very cruel indeed.


Fun fact: Most apprentices were boys

Apprenticeship first starts when a young Colonist wants to learn a trade from a skilled master. The Colonists chooses to learn trades such as Construction, Blacksmithing, Printing, and more! Then, the master sets their hours. Unlike Indentured Servants, they EARNED WAGES set by their masters. Then, when they finished, they became journeymen. This is how the apprentice system worked in the Colonies. Historical figure Ben Franklin was also an apprentice in his younger years. He learned printing from his older brother, James Franklin.

This is how apprentices like Ben Franklin learn skills and trades.


Slaves, Indentured Servants, and Apprentices wre people who worked at the Colonies. Indentured Servants worked for five to seven years and were mostly children. Slaves from Africa worked all their life. Apprentices worked to learn a trade. All people worked, no matter if Servant or Slave.


indenture - a contract binding one person to work for another for a given period of time.

journeymen - a worker who works for another person.

wages - an amount of money that a worker based on the number of hours, days, etc., that are worked



The Slave Trade in America, Cruel Commerce. Worth, Richard

Online Resources: "Not Everyone Was Free" SIRS Discoverer

"Slavery" Brainpop

About The Author

Hi, I'm Michael Kavelish, and I'm in Miss Stonis's 5th Grade LA class. My favorite hobby is playing Minecraft, writing books, and playing with Angry Birds Plush toys. Hope you've enjoyed!