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The Legal Understanding of SlaveryFrom the Historical to the Contemporary$
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Jean Allain

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660469

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660469.001.0001

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To Indent Oneself: Ownership, Contracts, and Consent in Antebellum Illinois

To Indent Oneself: Ownership, Contracts, and Consent in Antebellum Illinois

Chapter:
(p.135) 7 To Indent Oneself: Ownership, Contracts, and Consent in Antebellum Illinois
Source:
The Legal Understanding of Slavery
Author(s):

Allison Mileo Gorsuch

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660469.003.0008

This chapter analyzes a certain practice in the Illinois Territory during the early 19th century where hundreds of people of African descent signed agreement contracts that bound them to a system similar to slavery. The discussion tries to distinguish slavery as a legal institution and as an exercise of powers connected to ownership. It considers legal documents in order to show the lives of these indentured servants, as well as the powers of ownership that were attached to the agreement contract. This chapter observes that while these contracts continued to highlight the voluntary nature of the master-servant agreement, these still remained to be a long-term tool of unpaid and forced labour.

Keywords:   agreement contracts, illinois territory, legal institution, ownership powers, indentured servants, voluntary, master-servant agreement

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