Slaves and Indentured Servants

In theory, at least, indentured servitude and slavery were two different practices in the American colonies. Class groups conduct a close reading of two primary source documents, one written by a slave and one by an indentured servant, about their experiences. Individuals then create a Venn diagram indicating the common and the unique elements of each man's experience. Designed to be used as part of the study of American colonization, settlement, and the Triangle Trade, the approach serves to introduce readers to the analysis of primary source materials.

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Concepts

Pros

  • Both first-hand accounts eloquently describe the conditions the writers witnessed and experienced
  • The worksheet directs readers to key elements in the documents
Cons

  • The exercise assumes that class members are aware of social, political, and economic conditions in Europe, Africa, and America at the time