Thousands of people arrived in the British-American colonies as indentured servants, transported felons, and kidnapped children forced into bound labor. Others already in America, such as Indians, freedmen, and poor whites, placed themselves into the service of others for food, clothing, shelter, and security; poverty in colonial America was relentless, and servitude was the voluntary and involuntary means by which the poor adapted, or tried to adapt, to miserable conditions. From the 1600s to the 1700s, Blacks, Indians, Europeans, Englishmen, children, and adults alike were indentured, apprenticed, transported as felons, kidnapped, or served as redemptioners.
Though servitude was more multiracial and multicultural than slavery, involving people from numerous racial and ethnic backgrounds, far fewer books have been written about it. This fascinating new study of servitude in colonial America provides the first complete overview of the varied lives of the dispossessed in 17th- and 18th-century America, examining colonial American servitude in all of its forms.
- Illustrates how a majority of residents in Colonial America at any given time from 1607 to 1776 were dispossessed of basic freedoms
- Explains how the dispossessed Colonial American, deprived of basic rights, generated principles of freedom and equality that resulted in the American Revolution
- Shows that the basic rights of children were ignored in Stuart and Georgian England, which resulted in their transportation to America
- Describes how thousands of inhabitants of Colonial America were felons reprieved of the death penalty and prisoners of war