An indentured servant is a laborer under contract to an employer for a limited time-- normally about three to seven years. They work for specific wages for the period of time stated. The contract that binds them to their employer is called an indenture. Commonly, the indentured servants were Europeans who would work in exchange for payment for their voyage, food, clothing, and shelter. Indentured servants were very helpful by providing cheap labor, especially to the American colonists. The practice of using indentured servants began in the 1600's and indentured servants slowly ceased to be used in the early 1800's.

It was usually men between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five that became indentured servants. Most indentured servants were volunteers, but some were kidnapped persons or deported criminals. In Colonial America, the employer had to pay for the servant's passage across the Atlantic Ocean. Just like a slave, an indentured servant could be bought, sold, and physically punished. If the indentured servant survived the time of promised labor in the contract, they were released and paid "freedom dues." An indentured servant was required to work the whole amount of time designated by the contract.

Most significantly, indentured servants were very important as a means of cheap labor. Many colonists could not afford to pay very much for a helper or servant. Indentured servants would help American colonists in exchange for only food and board. Throughout early America, indentured servants proved to play an important role in the labor force.