University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
I. Frethorne, Richard. On Indentured Servitude. Edited by Howard Zinn, Anthony Arnove. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press, 2009
II. Frethorne talks about his miserable experience to be an indentured server. He writes the letter to his parents and describes the horrendous conditions he is in. Frethorne states some vital facts. He also writes that people who suffer as indentured servants are willing to lose either leg or arm but to move back to England. According to Frethrone he is working on plantation somewhere in Virginia that is located about ten miles away from Jamestown. He is begging his parents to either send him some money for good living or help him to return to England. Richard Frethorne emphasizes that his life depends on his parents and he hopes that his family is doing fine.
III. Richard Frethorne’s letter provides and illuminating picture of the hardships of colonization in the early seventeenth century, especially for the class of indentured servants. Combating isolation, disease, homesickness, hunger and discomfort, Frethorne and his fellow settlers struggled to make a success of their fledgling community. Life in early Virginia was particularly challenging because of the shortage of supplies, the prevalence of disease, and tense relations with the Native Americans. The source is relevant to our course because it describes the social issue that was discussed in our class. Indentured servitude was cheaper for the rulers of British Empire before the moment when indentured servants became capable of surviving the seven-year period and acquiring the land that was promised to them. After that moment slavery of African Americans was demanded.
IV. This source influences the interpretation of the historical narrative by providing extra information about the real situation in the colonies. People in England thought that indentured servitude was not a dangerous thing and was an easy way of claiming some land in America. However, Frethorn’s letter to his parents proves the opposite of what was thought. By provided examples of harsh conditions he states that all the servants who already arrived to America had desire to move back to England. He has no money to live. He is starving and afraid of the Indians invading, he begs his parents to hurry up and help his soon for his life depends on it. Of course there is possibility of poor Frethorne to exaggerate because the letter was addressed to his parents; therefore, he has a good discretion of what it might have been like to live in New England at the time he was there in 1623. Indentured Servitude was a form of slavery but with a better name instead of calling things with its names.