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The End of European Immigrant Servitude in the United States: An Economic Analysis of Market Collapse, 1772–1835

  • Farley Grubb (a1)
Abstract

Europeans stopped using servitude to finance passage to America sometime in the early nineteenth century, but exactly when and why immigrant servitude disappeared is a mystery. Hypotheses abound, but no consensus has emerged nor have scholars tested hypotheses. In this study, quantitative evidence for the final sixty years of immigrant servitude establishes when and why it disappeared. Servitude did not end because of insufficient demand, legal restrictions, or declines in passage fares. It ended because superior methods of financing migration developed. Chance historical events, however, determined the exact timing of the end.

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