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Voices of Freedom Critique

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This selection, Letter by a Female Indentured Servant, really gives you incite as to what life was like in the 1700s as an indentured servant. (Foner, 2011) The reader can really feel the pain she is going through while she was in America trying to pay her dues for passage to what they thought was the promise land. She wanted to ensure her father really knew what kind of horrible life she was living because of the details she included like she was whipped to the degree that she now serves the animals.

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Apparently, you didn’t speak of the horrible things that would occur as an indentured servant because she writes to her father that she hopes he will pardon the boldness of her complaints and she also hope that he will take pity on her. I feel like she would have been an indentured servant for a very long time because she writes to her father that she is banished forever from his sight and is practically begging for sympathy.

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However, I am surprised that she was even allowed to write to her family because she describes her life as working very hard almost day and night and often in the horse’s drudgery with the slave masters saying that she doesn’t do half enough work. She also feels that this is the type of work she needs to do for the respect of her father, uncles, aunts, and all friends. On the complete and opposite side of the spectrum, the Letter by a Swiss-German immigrant to Pennsylvania shows that this immigrant was very content with his decision to come to America. Foner, 2011) He now lives in a free country where one can settle anywhere he wants when the land is bought or leased. He thinks a free country is where a person has the right to own property and he focuses on this one freedom and doesn’t even think about the other statues. This immigrant really feels he has in fact found the promise land and that he wants his family to come and join him. In my opinion, I think he comes from a wealthier family, so maybe he didn’t have to work as an indentured servant because he could just pay for his travel to America.

He also states he can buy things like shoes for more reasonably in Pennsylvania than in Germany. These two letters are taken from two very different perspectives and shows you how some people were treated inhumane and some were treated very kindly depending on their social statuses in the 1700s. In the except from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, he did not talk about the horrible treatment of a slave like beatings they would receive or how they were not fed but rather how they were ripped away from their family and friends. (Foner, 2011) The author wanted the reader to realize that they were parted from family and friends because of the greed of the white man and that this is the new refinement in cruelty during those times. He made it known that the only positive aspect of being a slave was at least they were able to be with their friends and family, but now the white man had taken that away. He is asking the white men to live up to their perceived belief in liberty and that all men are created equal according to their god.

He also is asking, why the African people should give up their comfort of being together because the white men want their luxuries. In the excerpt taken from Pontiac, Speeches the author makes it known that the Indians were not backing down from the Englishmen because they were before the Englishmen and their ancestors had passed down the land to them. . (Foner, 2011) The Indians followed the Great Spirit which was like their idea of a god. The Great Spirit had told Neolin that the Indians had forgotten their customs and traditions and now had become more comfortable with the Englishmen which shamed their ancestors.

Their god is basically trying to inform the Indians that if they get too close to the enemies then they will take all the land and food that they had worked so hard for and once they eliminated the English then they would be back in good graces with the Great Spirit. The moral of the story is to not let your guard down for a second, or the enemy will consume you and everything you own. From the article Petition of Committee in Behalf of the Freedmen to Andrew Johnson shows the author of the letter is pleading with the President not to take away their land that they worked so hard to keep after they were freed. (Foner, 2011) The freedmen are saying that they were abused and oppressed on the land and now should be allowed to purchase any land. Basically the freedmen now wanted equal rights because every other free person were allowed to purchase a home in their hometown so why shouldn’t the freed slaves be allowed to purchase land also.

They felt like President Johnson was not upholding President Lincoln’s proclamation. Even though the freedmen tried so hard President Johnson did not change his policy. A Sharecropping Contract, shows that few former slaves were allowed to acquire land but not without completing hard labor on their part. Foner, 2011) Essentially, the former slaves were still working in the same capacity as they were before except this time they were able to sell some of the crops. They also had to pay for any damages made to the stock and had to supply everything that was needed to harvest the crops. The Freed men were the land owner’s employees instead of slaves. They also had to harvest one half of the crops for the land owner. This contract is very one sided, and I’m not sure that this is any better than being a slave.

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