What was "headright" in the colonial period?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The headright system was a system that was used in parts of Colonial America, particularly the Chesapeake colonies.  In this system, a person would be given the right to some certain area of land in return for paying for another person to come over to the colony.  In practice, what this did was to create a system that favored rich people and contributed to the practice of indentured servitude.  The rich people got plenty of land because they could afford to bring indentured servants over to the colonies to work for them.  This helped set up the Southern system of large plantations run by a powerful elite.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial