Slaves and Indentured Servants

By Calinda Evankovich


Do you know what Indentured Servants are? What about Slaves? Indentured Servants usually wanted to start a new life and throw away the old one to start something new. Slaves don't look forward to a whole life of work but they could look forward to maybe being freed in the future. The laws of punishment for slaves and servants trying to run away were severe. A slaves life was hard you would have to work for life for somebody that bought you from the person that kidnapped you from your home. Indentured servants could at least look forward to starting a new life.

How long do Indentured Servants work?

Indentured servants want a passage to a new land they've never been to. So then they agree to work for 3-7 years and their masters in return will get them a passage. Indentured labor was a form of work. People hoping for a passage to another land and possibly a little bit of land would agree to work without wages and sign a indenture. Some people called indentured servants unfree workers which meant the same thing as indentured servants also they were considered personal properties if they had a master. Indentured servants basically had what they had and got what they needed like shelter,food,water, and clothing. Indentured servants could look at the positive side to getting released. A slaves life was full of work and the most cruel of punishments.

How Long Do Slaves Serve?

Have you ever wondered what slavery was like? Well let me tell you it was torturous. Slaves didn't want to work it wasn't their choice they were forced. Slaves were kidnapped from Africa then shoved on a ship from their homes to a auction in a new place before they could know what was going on. The chance they were going to see their family again were slim to none. On the voyage some slaves were upset so they refused to eat so they would threaten to make them eat a shovel full of coals. Most of the time conditions were poor so on the voyage many slaves were lost. They slept below decks where it was cramped and uncomfortable there was almost no room they usually couldn't stand up unless they were children. Most slaves or servants tried to run away at least once maybe just to get away from work.

What Do Masters and Owners do When Slaves or Indentured Servants Run Away?

Slaves and indentured servants usually ran away from abusive owners, they were trying to find family members, or their work was back-breaking labor and just really hard. But in some cases people that want more work done or work done faster try to l lure away servants and steal them. There were laws for punishing slaves and servants most if them were cruel and cold blooded things like branding,whipping, or cutting their hair. This might be so that their own family members wouldn't recognize them or most people really cared about hair back then. Masters wouldn't stop until their slave was returned and working again they would hire slave catchers then if they still couldn't find that slave they would put up rewards for the capture and return of their slave. Most fugitive slaves and servants fled to Maryland sometimes very far away like New Nether land, or New England probably to higher e chances of them not being captured. As you can see slaves didn't have a fair life they didn't get to choose for themselves an indentured servants just needed a passage and possibly a new land and to start over in life.


There are many facts about slave and indentured servants but you already know them now. Most identured servants were trying to start something new so they decided to work and in return a brane-new life. Slaves had to work for all of their life imagine having to work every single day of your life without a break unless your told. If you had to work every day and treated really poorly you would try to run away right? but you should know there are punishments for this acts. As you can tell indentured servants and slaves had a very different and much much harder life than all of us do now.


wages-An amount of money that a worker is paid based on the number of days, hours, minutes, etc.

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

branding-To burn a mark on the skin of (an animal) to show the ownership.

masters-Owners of slaves or indentured servants.

slave catcher-One who is paid to bring fugitive slaves to their masters.


Books: The Slave Trade in America

Online: Indentured Servant, 21st Century Slavery