Serving Time In Virginia Analysis Essay

This research will begin with the statement that Serving Time in Virginia tries to explain and explore the reasons for what went wrong in the Virginia Colony by skillfully using a general perspective to analyze the situation. Sir Edwin Sandys has tried to rebuild the Jamestown in three ways. He attracted the new investors by granting them the head rights for introducing and bringing in new tenants. He grabbed the attention of new settlers by introducing lotteries. He tried to make the colony a more peaceful and pleasant place to settle down in by abolishing martial law. Citizens were extended the rights to select two members of the colony as their representatives or spokespersons. Even after the years of struggle and reconstruction, Jamestown was lacking a lot of attention. Citizens were legally enforced to grow corns. Insufficient food, the arrival of unprepared settlers, inadequate housing facilities and presence of contaminated wells were becoming the reason for spreading disease. People were more interested in growing tobacco than corn despite food scarcity. The chapter, ‘From Rosie to Lucy’ revolves around the changes that occurred in the role of women in the 1950 and also, how media played an important role in this transformation. The author discusses that it was mainly because of World War II that brought massive changes in the lives of American women. Many of the women got an opportunity to work and live independently. ... As a result, with the help of tenants and new

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laborers, colonists looked forward to becoming richer by producing more tobacco. Gradually, tobacco became the economic trademark of the colony. Serving Time in Virginia also raises some questions as to why slavery didn’t grow well during the time when labor was valued greatly. It is worth mentioning that only 5 percent of the Africans constituted the population in Virginia during the first half of the century in the colony. And it wasn’t until 1660 that a law was passed that secured the rights of the laborers and condemned slavery as well as race discrimination. So, the next thing that comes to the mind is why weren’t slaves introduced as an article of trade during the 1620s? Historians believed that it could be due to non-availability of slaves in the colony as compared to other places where slavery was high in demand such as St.Kitts or Barbados. It was also believed that colonists had a preference for white slaves. However, it is hard to comment on the prices of slaves were very high and the economic downfall in West Indies gave a blow to the prices of slaves in the area. The chapter, ‘From Rosie to Lucy’ revolves around the changes that occurred in the role of women in the 1950 and also, how media played an important role in this transformation. The author discusses that it was mainly because of World War II that brought massive changes in the lives of American women. Many of the women got an opportunity to work and live independently.

The Virginia Company of London always had more land than labor to work it. At first, the company attempted to entice investors by offering them shares in the company that were redeemable for land. But when profits failed to materialize and the colony became infamous for its high mortality rate, the company began shipping servants to Virginia at its own expense and placing them on company-owned land. (An Englishman willing to risk his life in order to work someone else's acreage was not usually someone who could afford transatlantic passage.) Once the servants arrived, the company could rent them out to planters for a year at a time, requiring the planters to take responsibility for the workers' food, shelter, and health.

With the introduction of marketable tobacco, however, demand for labor skyrocketed. Private investors who, alongside the company, had shipped servants at their own expense continued to do so while the company rid itself of its role as rental agent. Instead, it sold servants directly to planters at a price based on the cost of passage. Planters, mariners, and merchants then fixed the servants' years of service based on the labor required to recoup their purchase price and subsequent care.

Servants, who ranged from convicted criminals to skilled workers, in time came to occupy the lowest rung on the social ladder in Virginia. While tenants kept half of what they earned, servants kept nothing and were almost entirely at the mercy of their masters for the terms of their indentures. Movement up the ladder was limited, even once a term of service had been completed, although servants with marketable skills had a greater chance of success. Few servants were like , who arrived as an apprentice in 1620 and eventually served in the House of Burgesses.

In the summer of 1620, the Virginia Company of London announced that it would send to Virginia, at "publike charge," "eight hundred choise persons," half of whom were assigned to be tenants of company land. One hundred "yong Maides" were sent to "make wives for these Tenants," and one hundred boys to serve as apprentices. Finally, "one hundred servants [were] to be disposed amongst the old Planters, which they greatly desire, and have offered to defray their charges with very great thankes."

Soon, however, the company found it unnecessary to continue incurring the "publike charge" of transporting servants. Instead, it implemented a system by which it used the prospect of land to entice new colonists, and with them laborers. Headrights, first described in the so-called Great Charter of 1618, awarded 100 acres of land each to planters who had been in the colony since May 1616, and 50 acres each to anyone who covered the cost of transporting a new immigrant to Virginia. These newcomers, more often than not, were indentured servants, allowing successful planters simultaneous access to land and labor, with no upfront cost to the company. Merchants and mariners reaped a benefit, too, for they recruited prospective servants, bargained their indenture terms with them, and then sold the contracts to planters in Virginia. Merchants also accumulated headrights that could be used to acquire land. In time, these headrights, or land certificates, were bought and sold much like modern-day stock certificates.

Early Virginia
Colonists

Sometimes groups of investors collectively absorbed the cost of outfitting and transporting workers to the colony. Virginia Company of London stockholders were entitled to 100 acres per share, and high-ranking officials were furnished with indentured servants as part of their stipend. In some instances groups of investors promised to give land to their indentured servants after they fulfilled their contracts. The 's investors offered their skilled servants parcels that ranged from 25 to 50 acres, to be claimed once they had fulfilled their contracts.

Various factors fueled the need for new servants. One was demographics. Approximately 50,000 servants—or three-quarters of all new arrivals—immigrated to the colonies between 1630 and 1680. The ratio of men to women among servants in the 1630s was six-to-one. Between 1640 and 1680, the ratio dropped to four-to-one, but even then, many men could not find wives to marry and therefore could not establish families. As a result of this and the high mortality rate among new servants, company officials and English merchants were forced to constantly replenish the Virginia colony's servant population.

Another factor creating a need for new servants was the rapidly expanding tobacco market. It created substantial opportunities for would-be planters, but because tobacco was a demanding, labor-intensive crop, it also required a large number of laborers. At the same time, tobacco's acceptance as a medium of exchange prompted planters to enhance their productivity. Between the 1620s and the 1670s, the annual output of tobacco per hand rose from approximately 710 pounds to around 1,600 pounds; during the same period, shipping costs decreased. Although tobacco prices had begun to decline sharply by late in the 1620s and continued to fall, production remained profitable because planters were able to produce larger crops with fewer hands. Yet even as they technically required fewer servants, planters demanded more. That's because tobacco consumption rose in response to lower prices, and planters, eager to meet that demand, increased their production.

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