Examine the Evidence Activities

An Indentured Servantís Contract, 1746 ††Legal documents, such as this contract signed in Virginia in 1746, not only provide evidence about the ever-changing rules by which societies have regulated their affairs, but also furnish rich information about the conditions of life and the terms of human relationships in the past. This agreement between Thomas Clayton and James Griffin provides a reminder that not all indentured servants in early America came from abroad. Indentured servitude could be equivalent to an apprenticeship, in which a young person traded several years of service to a master in exchange for instruction in the masterís craft. Here Clayton pledges himself to five years in Griffinís employ in return for a promise to initiate the young man into the "Mystery" of the masterís craft. Why might the masterís trade be described as a "mystery"? From the evidence of this contract, what are the principal objectives of each of the parties to it? What problems does each anticipate? What obligations does each assume? What does the consent of Claytonís mother to the contract suggest about the young manís situation?
Examine the Evidence Activities