White Servitude in Colonial America: An economic analysis
White servitude was one of the major institutions in the economy and society of early colonial British America. In fact more than half of all the white immigrants to the British colonies sold themselves into bondage for a period of years in order to migrate to the New World. Professor Galenson's study of the system of indentured servitude analyses rigourously the composition of this labour force and provides a quantitative description of the demographic, social and economic characteristics of more than 20,000 indentured immigrants. The author examines the interactions between indentured, free and slave labour and provides a framework for analysing why black slavery prevailed over white servitude in the British West Indies and the southern mainland colonies and why both types of bound labour declined to insignificance in the northern colonies of the mainland.
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