With terms of labor that typically lasted 4-7 years, at the end of which time laborers were granted so-called ‘freedom dues’, ______________________________ was the most prominent system by which work was furnished in the Chesapeake region throughout much of the 17th century.
The best term to use to fill in the blank in this question is “indentured servitude.” This was what the system was called. The workers themselves were called “indentured servants,” but the blank seems to call for the name of the system.
In the early days of colonization in the Chesapeake, there was a great need for labor. Free people generally did not want to work on plantations in the Chesapeake. If they were going to work hard, they wanted to work hard on their own land and there was relatively plenty of land to go around. Therefore, unfree workers were needed. Later, unfree work would be done by slaves. Early in the colonies’ history, though, it was done by indentured servants. They gave 4 to 7 years of their labor in exchange for being brought to the colonies, fed and clothed during their time as servants, and given the “freedom dues” when their contracts were up. Unfortunately for them, somewhat less than half of the indentured servants who came to the colonies are believed to have lived long enough to complete their indentures and become free.