Recent work in global history has defined the long-distance labor migration of the nineteenth and early twentieth century, following the demise of Trans-Atlantic slavery, as a global phenomenon. Though an important component of migration studies as well as the history of globalization, this framework struggles to consider the significance of indentured migration from India to the sugar plantations overseas. In the view of Adam McKeown, the indentured were insignificant to global historical change, given that they constituted less than ten percent of global migration between 1846 and 1940. In order to establish the significance of indenture, this essay highlights the uniqueness of the indenture system in terms of workers' rights and welfare as well as the legal framework that provided a new language of freedom and contract. Under this system, laborers bargained with colonial authority, a process, which was fulfilled through the amendment in the legislations. By highlighting this element of the history of indentured labor, this essay aims to inspire further research into the detailed legal history of the process.


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pp. 19-28
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