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The single best short survey in America, now es a New Preface and AfterwardIn terms of accessibility and comprehensive coverage, Kolchin’s. Peter Kolchin’s American Slavery, first published in in the widely acclaimed American Century Series edited by Eric Foner, is a useful and mas terly survey. peter kolchin’s american slavery: chapters and the economies of the british colonies that would eventually become the united states were not.

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Kolchin writes about slave life through the Civil War, and, not surprisingly, he sees slavery as leaving a legacy that has persisted throughout our own century. These decisions then shape the society, but the economy, life style slaverry ideology. Such a survey americzn does not have a single argument or thesis, but Kolchin does continually return to the theme that slavery in America was not a kolchinn institution but slvery constantly changing, from a system of indentured servitude in the early amedican era to a race-based, paternalistic model in the antebellum period.

Furthermore, he contextualizes American slavery by stepping outside the United States to compare and contrast it with slavery elsewhere in the world.

Return to Book Page. There are many compromises in the Constitution, but slavery become embedded in the south with the cotton gin and the fact that the enslaved African reproduced and that meant as tobacco or some crop was going under, the owner could then just sell the enslaved people.

Fritz Metsch Designed by. Although the book focuses primarily on slavery itself, Kolchin does a wonderful job of presenting a complete picture of that society. The origins of the slave trade, and the context in which it arose at a time when unfree labor was the norm for much of the world is not generally well understood, nor are the differences between slavery in what would be come the USA and the rest of the world.


By design, it relies almost exclusively on secondary sources, but this is not a weakness. To condense a topic as voluminous as slavery into pages is a Herculean task for any historian and some avenues are left unexplored or underexplored. The Revolutionary era saw slavery threatened by Enlightenment ideology, but the institution survived more strongly than ever in the South and, during the 19th century, came to be perceived as fundamental to the Southern economy and way of life.

I did like the comparative view, since there were many stages of unfreedom around the globe. A great foundation or jumping off point for further reading.

American Slavery: by Peter Kolchin

Americsn from a slave’s personal account, a This is a careful if occasionally dry one-volume overview of the “peculiar institution. His analysis of the topic is measured and insightful, in some petter supporting more common arguments and in others refuting them. Understanding kolchun context in which slavery grew from being unremarkable, to tolerated, to defended as a positive good is key to grasping the import of the “peculiar institution” as it was not commonly known until the antebellum era on the development of America, the identity of a distinct African-American culture distinct, that is, both from Africans and American whitesand the relevance of both religion and philosophy in it sustenance for example, religion was not routinely used to justify slavery until religious arguments became paramount in the abolitionist attack.

Mar 11, Nick Black rated it really liked it. The single best short survey in America, now updated.

Well balanced history that provides a ton of insight in the current African American akerican that is still practiced today. Kolchin cut his teeth on serfdom in Russia and knows a thing or two about writing about involuntary servitude.

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Mar 21, Elizabeth Higginbotham rated it really liked it. It presents the utter horrors of slavery, blunt and raw, but also presents balanced reasoning as to its justifications.



The final chapters of the book present useful explorations of slave resistance, mostly through passive means, and of disruption during the Civil War. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally.

The colonial era was a time when slavery was stressed in many colonies and the revolution also pushed many questions. The origins of the slave trade, and the context in which it arose at a time when unfree labor was the norm for muc For a brief survey, this was an excellent read.

Got to look into Gullah next. I was able to read this book pretty quickly, not only because I am greatly interested in the ameircan, but because it was a pretty easy read, even though academic in nature.

Of particular interest is the chapter on reconstruction, which highlights the ambivalent attitudes of some freed slaves and also highlights their increased agency in determining their fate. That happened a few times. Sep 17, Sean Sullivan rated it liked it Shelves: This is an excellent survey of the history and historiography of American slavery.

There was a problem adding your email address. His comparisons show, for example, that American slaves were held in much smaller holdings and had way more daily contact This is an excellent survey of the history and historiography of American slavery.

American Slavery

These two things particularly distinguish Kolchin from the rest of the field. Slaveowners feared that abolitionists would destroy their way of life, or that a slave insurrection could undermine the structure of their society. The American Revolution brought a number of changes in the system of slavery. Learn more about Amazon Prime.