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Indentured Servitude

Paula Petrik, Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University



Read the following two documents that provide glimpses into indentured servitude:


Answer the following questions about each particular document and the documents in comparison:

  1. From the Confession, describe the nature of the servants’ crimes. Who was involved in the illegal activities? Who was the ringleader? What evidence could you supply to support your choice? Why do you think that indentured servants took part in the crimes?
  2. Describe John Frethorne’s personal situation. What has happened to the colony? What are the relationships between colonists? What does Frethorne want from his father?
  3. What do these passages contribute to our understanding of the institution of indenture in seventeenth-century Chesapeake?

Updated | April 2004