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Let's go then to the Library of Congress:
Before the Civil War, slaves and indentured servants were considered personal property, and they or their descendants could be sold or inherited like any other personalty. Like other property, human chattel was governed largely by laws of individual states. Generally, these laws concerning indentured servants and slaves did not differentiate between the sexes. Some, however, addressed only women. Regardless of their country of origin, many early immigrants were indentured servants, people who sold their labor in exchange for passage to the New World and housing on their arrival. Initially, most laws passed concerned indentured servants, but around the middle of the seventeenth century, colonial laws began to reflect differences between indentured servants and slaves. More important, the laws began to differentiate between races: the association of "servitude for natural life" with people of African descent became common. Re Negro John Punch (1640) was one of the early cases that made a racial distinction among indentured servants.
The page emphasizes the racist distinction between black and white servants.

Also, under a marketista narrative, "people who sold their labor in exchange for passage to the New World and housing on their arrival" is just a form of 'labour market', isn't it? In a discussion with my sister a few months ago, she emphasised that modern understanding is that human rights cannot be renounced, that is, indentured servitude contracts in which one agrees to become someone else's slave in exchange for some good or service would be unenforceable. But I'm sure one can find libertarian theorists who would argue that they should be.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 07:01:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a Heinlein book (that I can not remember the title of) that starts with the discussion of two rich upper-class guys - one leftie and one rigthie - who can not agree on wheter the long-term contracts of the Venus laborers are fair or not. The discussion ends with them getting drunk and waking up the next morning on the way to Venus as contract-laborers...

Dum de di dum...

Made some good points about contracts and slavery, as well as empire and labor market.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 08:49:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Logic of Empire is a science fiction novella by Robert A. Heinlein. Part of his Future History series, it originally appeared in Astounding Science Fiction (March 1941), and was collected in The Green Hills of Earth (and subsequently The Past Through Tomorrow).

Ostensibly a tale about a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, and his struggle to free himself from the oppressive circumstances in which he is plunged, this story also serves to explain how slavery develops in a new colony.

Two well-off Earth men are arguing about whether there is slavery on Venus, and one of them gets shanghaied there. Upon his arrival, he finds his contract sold to a farmer. His discovery that it will take him years to work off his debt is compounded by his realization that he cannot get to sleep at night without rhira, an expensive local narcotic.



"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 19th, 2007 at 03:51:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the one!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Mar 19th, 2007 at 07:31:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You were just helped by an omniqærent utopian.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 19th, 2007 at 07:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think there was some stuff at the beginning of the People's history of the United States about how white and black labor wasn't much divided in the seventeenth century, and how they were subsequently segregated with regards to create a racism and keep african-americans in much worse conditions

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 09:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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