What It Was Like Not To Be Free.

By: Madison Donahue


Have you ever wondered about slaves and indentured servants? There life was hard. They both had to work everyday. Slaves worked really hard and had a lot of grit. Indentured servants were luckier than slaves because in time, they could be free. Think about having to work everyday of your life for six to seven hours. What kind of jobs did they have? The answer is, any job that had to be done. You would saw them doing it all. Slaves and indentured servants had a lot of jobs and they did everyone of them.


A slave is someone who is forced to work without pay. Slaves were usually African Americans. Slaves could be capturedor kidnapped at any time. If you were captured you would get on a ship to the thirteen colonies. Twenty million people were kidnapped from Africa. During this time period there were also Indentured Servants. By early 1700's slaves became the main labor source because slaves would work until they died. In time slaves out numbered the colonist. Each colony had there own laws about slavery. If your father was bought by another colonist, he could not leave any time he wanted to see you. He would needed a pass. Some slaves were not allowed to learn how to read and write. The colonist were afraid that if slaves learned how to read or write, they would write themselves a pass to leave. Then the guards could not find out that they were trying to escape. If you knew how to read or write, you would get beaten or whipped. In the New England colony they educated young slaves. If you were under the age of ten you would do small jobs until you were ten. At the end of a long hard day you would come to the slave quarters. You were lucky if you got a mattress. I hope that you enjoyed learning about slaves. Slaves worked really hard. So the next time your mom asks you to take out the trash... do it!

Indentured Servents

Indentured servants are really lucky because after a period of time they could be free. In exchange they would get a free passage to America. That is one reason why they were different then slaves. Indentured servants were 15 - 25 years old. Indentured servants wanted to come to America to have a better life. They usually were orphans or sometimes they were kidnapped. Indentured servants started in the 1600's to provide labor to the colonies. Over time more then half of the colonist were indentured servants. Until the 1700's most indentured servants were English men and women. The majority of the the servants were men. Women and children made up 1/4 of the servants. At the end of their time as in indentured servant some of the owners gave them some clothes and a little bit of money. The indentured servants provided labor to the colony's to the 1800's.

Hard work

Slaves and indentured servants were kind of alike because they were forced to work for others. Some of the jobs that slaves and indentured servants had were to work on a plantation. A plantation is a large farm operation where usually a single crop is grown. The most common crops grown on the plantations were cocoa, coffee beans, rice, rubber and sugar cane. The colonist also had a lot of tropical fruit like bananas, pineapples and a lot of others. The colonies had really rich soil. Some other jobs that that slaves and indentured servants had were they dugout canals, built bridges and rail road tracks. They worked in houses and factories. Slaves and indentured servants also cleared land for more colonist to move in, built bridges and drained swamps for the rice fields. Speaking of the rice fields, every worker feared the rice fields because it was hot and you could get bitten by the water bugs and snakes. The water that they stood in was cold too. You could die from the snakes. But on the other hand, kids could not do these jobs. They would feed the chickens, scrub the floor, polish the brass, get a fan to swat the flies away when the family was eating, and they worked in the fields a little bit. They picked the worms off the plants and if they missed one, they had to bite all of the worms in half. Slaves and indentured servants worked super hard. I could never do that.


I hope that you enjoyed learnig about how slaves and indentured servents lived back then. I can not believe that slaves could not be free their whole life. They had to work. That would be the worst life ever. Would you have wanted to be an indentured servent because you would get a free passage to America and you would not have to work for a long time? I can not belive all of the jobs that indentured servents and slaves had to do. Think about how lucky you are that you don't have to work every day for you life.


Plantation - a large area of land especially in a hot part of the world where crops are grown.

- to take someone by force usually in order to keep the person prisoner.

English men -
of or relating to England or its people.



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