Workforce of British Colonial America

Feb 3rd, 2012
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College-Level American History Essay detailing the different labor systems that existed in colonial America under British rule and how conditions among workers differed between New England/ Middle, Tidewater, and Low Country Colonies. Key Terms : Slavery, Indentured Servants, Sharecropping, Chattel Slavery, Low Country, Tidewater, New England, Middle Colonies, Tobacco, Cash Crop

Word Count: 960
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Katherine JohnsonRex EtheridgeHIS 131N7 November 2014Labor in British Colonial AmericaWhen Europeans first came to the Americas, there were no farms, houses, roads, or other infrastructure. It all had to be built, and the colonies needed a workforce. "The labor of choice was indentured servants imported from England... Later, slaves would replace servants..." (Beck, 3) Colonies built up around the most fertile areas and ports, creating a diverse array of work available to the labor force. Conditions and treatment varied largely by the cash crop of the area coupled with the climate. As slavery replaced indentured servants, ways of managing the new influx of workers began to vary by region.It is important to note how the early colonial workforce was staffed. Indentured servitude was the primary source of labor, most of whom were the poor migrants from England. These workers signed contracts, or indentures, promising to work for the planters in set terms. Most commonly, terms were seven years in length. In exchange for their work, servants would receive passage to America, food, clothing, and a place to live. Servants usually received half of what they earned and had s

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