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Slave vs. Servant: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sumera Saeed || Published on February 12, 2024
A slave is a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them, while a servant is a person employed to perform household or other duties, typically with some personal freedom and compensation.

Key Differences

A slave is owned by another person, lacking personal freedom and autonomy. They are considered property and have no right to refuse work or leave their situation. A servant, however, is an employee who chooses to work for someone else, often in exchange for wages, and retains personal freedoms, including the right to leave their employment.
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
Slaves are not compensated for their labor, as they are considered the property of their owners. Their living conditions and treatment are determined solely by their owners. Servants, in contrast, typically receive wages or other forms of compensation for their work and have agreements or contracts outlining their duties and rights.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
Slavery has a long, global history, often associated with extreme exploitation, human rights abuses, and racial oppression. It has been legally abolished in most countries. Servant work, while it can vary widely in terms of conditions and treatment, is a form of employment and is regulated by labor laws in many countries.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
Slavery is typically an involuntary and lifelong condition, with freedom only possible through emancipation or escape. Servitude, however, is a contractual employment that has a specified duration or terms under which the servant can choose to end their employment.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
Slavery is universally considered a violation of human rights and is illegal in most parts of the world. Servanthood, when conducted under fair and legal conditions, is an accepted form of employment, although it can be subject to abuses that require legal intervention.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Legal Status

Considered property without personal rights.
Employed with rights and personal freedom.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Compensation

No compensation for labor.
Typically receives wages or other benefits.
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Freedom and Autonomy

No freedom or autonomy; cannot leave at will.
Free to leave or terminate employment.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Historical Context

Associated with oppression and human rights abuses.
A form of employment, varied historically.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Duration of Service

Often lifelong and involuntary.
Contractual and for a specific duration.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
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Slave and Servant Definitions

Slave

A slave is forced to work without pay.
Slaves on plantations were forced to work long hours without any compensation.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Servant

A servant has the freedom to leave employment.
The servant chose to leave her position for a better opportunity.
Janet White
Dec 21, 2023

Slave

A slave has no personal freedom or autonomy.
The life of a slave was characterized by a complete lack of freedom.
Harlon Moss
Dec 21, 2023

Servant

A servant’s work is contractual.
The agreement outlined the servant's duties and rights.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Slave

A slave is considered the legal property of another.
Under slavery, a slave could be bought, sold, or traded.
Harlon Moss
Dec 21, 2023

Servant

A servant can negotiate working conditions.
The servant negotiated her working hours and benefits.
Harlon Moss
Dec 21, 2023

Slave

A slave is a person who is owned by someone else.
The abolitionist movement fought to end the practice of keeping slaves.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Servant

A servant is an employee working in domestic service.
The family employed a servant to help with household chores.
Huma Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Slave

A slave's status is often inherited.
In many societies, children born to slaves became slaves themselves.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Servant

A servant is typically paid for their labor.
The servant received a monthly wage for his work.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 21, 2023

Slave

One who is owned as the property of someone else, especially in involuntary servitude.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Servant

One who is privately employed to perform domestic services.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

Slave

One who is subservient to or controlled by another
His boss's slave.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 20, 2023

FAQs

Is slavery legal anywhere today?

Slavery is illegal in all countries but still exists in illegal forms.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Can a servant choose their employer?

Yes, a servant can choose whom to work for.
Huma Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Can a slave legally leave their owner?

Historically, slaves had no legal right to leave their owners.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Do servants have legal rights?

Yes, servants have legal rights, including labor protections.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Can servants negotiate their wages?

Yes, servants can negotiate wages and conditions.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What types of jobs do servants do?

Servants typically perform household tasks like cleaning, cooking, or childcare.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Do servants live with their employers?

In some cases, yes, but not always.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Were slaves ever paid for their work?

Generally, no, slaves were not compensated.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Was education available to slaves?

Often, slaves were denied education.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Was slavery based on race?

In many historical contexts, particularly in the Americas, slavery was racially based.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Can a servant quit their job?

Yes, a servant can typically quit their job.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Are servants part of a social class?

Servanthood is a job, not a social class, though historically it was often associated with lower social status.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

Were slaves considered citizens?

In most historical contexts, slaves were not considered citizens.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

How was slavery abolished?

Through legal actions and abolition movements.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Were slaves allowed to marry?

This varied, but often slaves had limited rights to marry.
Aimie Carlson
Feb 12, 2024

Do servants have set working hours?

This can vary, but many have set hours or negotiate them.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

What led to the end of slavery?

A combination of political, legal, and social factors.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024

Are modern servants protected by labor laws?

Yes, in many countries, servants are protected by labor laws.
Janet White
Feb 12, 2024

Did all societies practice slavery?

Many, but not all, historical societies had some form of slavery.
Harlon Moss
Feb 12, 2024

Can servants have other jobs?

Yes, servants can have other employment.
Sumera Saeed
Feb 12, 2024
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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