2. Compare the treatment of slaves and indentured servants.

HIS 161


It is made clear in the first clause “That all servants imported and brought into this country, by sea or land, who were not christians in their native country…shall be accounted and be slaves.” The comparison with this statement can be seen as though a servant would be looked upon as a slave making the comparison between a slave and an indentured servant identical. Although some were seen as indentured servants coming into the New World, and not labeled as a slave, they were still treated as one. The bottom line was that both slaves and indentured servants were looked upon as property and therefore treated as property by whomever had a license to do as they pleased upon them.

In an analytical sense, both slaves and indentured servants were treated as property and nothing more. All masters, owners, and leaders on the ships that bring the slaves and servants over, all take extreme advantage of their ability to do what they want to them. This act concerning servants and slaves also restricts what the servants and slaves could do to defend themselves. The act also gives the authority to whomever owes the slave’s or servant’s license to do practically whatever they wish expect for persons without license to “buy, sell, or receive of, to, or from, and servant, or slave, any coin or commodity whatsoever.” Portraying them both as animals just goes to show how savagely people treated others based upon status in which they were born into or what they believed in.

As far as how they were treated in the working conditions, both slaves and servants worked side by side on the plantations. It was said that this was done to keep the servants in their place and not to let them get out of hand in any way. For both the slaves and the servants, the smallest petty crime was treated with harsh punishment to keep both in their place. The masters and owners of the slaves and servants did not want them to think that they would get any special treatment over anyone else or each other.

A reason for the actions taken upon the slaves and servants is most likely due to the responsibility laid upon their masters. Basically the law states that the master is to take responsibility of the slave or servant as if it were they themselves doing the act. Therefore they treat the slaves and servants with such harsh treatment in order to prevent them from committing any crime that would hold their master responsible and liable for any damages that the slave or servant caused. The treatment put upon them was harsh in a sense of physical punishment in that they were repeatedly lashed and the number of lashes depended on what they did and its severity. It was unjust either way because most people would not even be looked upon as having done anything wrong whereas a slave or servant would be tried for the harshest of punishments.

The law also viewed slaves and servants as a ‘lesser’ person. It states “And if any slave resist his master, or owner, or other person, by his or her order, correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction, it shall not be accounted felony.” Not being accounted a felony and if a slave or servant were to do such an act, they would be put to death without any question. These were part of the strict guidelines that were set but show no moral justice in anyway whatsoever.

The written act limits the rights and actions of what slaves, servants, masters, owners, or persons can or can’t do. This act is clear evidence as to what a person higher than a servant or slave could get away with doing to a slave or servant. It states that in defense of a slave or servant, the actions taken are easily justified since the county would take the defense’s word over a slave or servant in any matter. Any harsh treatment posed upon another human being for no reason is immoral and any possession of another human being is immoral and there is no justification in the world