Introductory, Practice Comparison – the Content

Your Possible Topics about Servitude (Question 1 on the Possible Essays for Unit 1)

Resources for Self-testing

Background about the Term English Servant (Indentured Servant)

Forms of Servitude Shown in a Table So You Can Compare Them

What You Have to Read for Each Column in the Table

What You Have to Read for Each Column in the Table – If You Prefer to See Page Numbers


Reminder: the Comparison Topics and the Instructions are in the link above.


What You Have to Read for Each Possible Comparison and What the Terms Mean?

If you want to read dictionary definitions, you can find them beneath this link.

Areas in Time Order

What You Read

What to Observe and How to Pay Attention to Terms

African people in servitude from 1620s to about 1660

Chapter 2: “Africans in Early Virginia.”


What varied things happened to Africans sold in early Virginia?


Term: servant, see its use in Chapter 2: “Tobacco Boom.”

English people in servitude from 1620s to about 1660

Chapter 2: “Tobacco Boom” and “The Colony Expands” 


Chapter 3: “War in the Chesapeake”—but only for content about the years before about 1660.

How did availability of land at the end of their service change for English servants from early settlement to the 1660s?


Term: English servant or indentured servants in some locations is English servants—that is, from England.

African people in servitude after 1660

Chapter 3: “Systems of Slavery in North America.” Focus on the beginning of this section. Do not read about slavery outside of the South.

How did laws in the 1660s change what happened to Africans and African Americans in Maryland and Virginia?

Term: African Americans are people of African descent born in the English colonies on the Atlantic seacoast.

English people in servitude from the 1660s through Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676.

Chapter 3: “War in the Chesapeake”—but only for content about the years after about 1660.

What did the investigation say about these events and what happens to landless freemen? What happens about the slave trade and the planters (the owners of land)? The textbook makes some powerful statements at the end of that section. Notice carefully.


Term: freemen and landless freemen – English servants who had completed their term of service, with some having no land in return for their promised years of labor

Essential Background

Students fail at understanding history because they start writing before they have read enough and even tried to figure things out. The remaining things on this webpage cover where students have frequently misunderstood.

Background on Forced Labor (Servitude)


Caution: There is a difference in labor (something most of us have to do for our daily bread and a roof over our heads) and forced labor. With forced labor:

  • You cannot stop.
  • You may be doing things that will kill you (as your textbook covers)
  • Your master gains from your labor and you gain only that you live another day. 



Background about Slavery of Africans in Africa by Africans

The content and the quotations in the second column on Slavery in Africa of the table at the bottom of this link are from the 3rd edition. To see that page, click here. (It is also used with a reading example provided in the Good Habits for Evidence link (next to the last page from the Rubric with Links or directly by clicking here).


This link also shows an example of how I label in the margins any words I have to do something with—including explain the content to another person. I was taught to do this kind of marking years ago by a community college professor. Although I marked this page very quickly, it is shows two basic principles of any information where you have to do something:

1) Read once, but mark the facts with labels so you can:

2) When you use your marked text, you not only save time but also begin to understand it better and catch your own mistakes.

Background about the Term English Servant (Indentured Servant)

In the textbook, the phrase used for indentured servants in some locations is English servants. What’s the word indentured mean with the word servant? Merriam Webster Online explains it is “a person who signs and is bound by indentures to work for another for a specified time especially in return for payment of travel expenses [like a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to Virginia] and maintenance [like something to eat and a roof over your head].”  To sign a document indicates the signer is a free person who agrees to the terms of the indenture. What’s an indenture? “to divide (a document) so as to produce sections with irregular edges that can be matched for authentication.” Think of it this way: when you tear paper, the ragged edge is unique.

Backgrounds You Can Observe in the Table

Notice these things:

·         Column 1 – There was servitude before it occurred in the Americas

·         Column 2 – There was servitude in Africa before the slave trade—but their slavery was different.

·         Below Column 2 in blue – The Portuguese created two new systems that spread to the new world. Notice them both.

·         Column 3 – In the Americas, the English were not alone in trying servitude. The Spanish tried two forms of servitude in the Americas. Notice them both.

·         Columns 4, 5, and 6 – You can and should try to read the materials for these columns and fill them in on your own. Click here for a version you can download.
Click here to compare your answers with your instructor’s. Compare your meaning only. Do not worry about matching the exact words.

·         Column 7 – You need to read this content on your own, but the points listed may help you.

·         Column 6 and 7 - The Notice statements in blue. Look at the numbers. Don’t get fantasies about slavery. Notice how few slaves there are. It is white indentured (servitude for a period of years) who are the labor.


In the table, the content and the quotations on Slavery in Africa are from the 3rd edition, which has a few more details. To see the page, click here.

What You Have to Read for Each Column in the Table – If You Prefer to See Page Numbers

This link provides the page numbers where you can find these headings in the 3rd and 4th paperback editions.


If you need help finding the pages in other editions, just ask.


Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2014


WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

Contact Information:

281.239.1577 or

Last Updated:


WCJC Home: