Debating Slavery

Debating Slavery : Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South

3.57 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Even while slavery existed, Americans debated slavery. Was it a profitable and healthy institution? If so, for whom? The abolition of slavery in 1865 did not end this debate. Similar questions concerning the profitability of slavery, its impact on masters, slaves, and nonslaveowners still inform modern historical debates. Is the slave South best characterized as a capitalist society? Or did its dogged adherence to non-wage labor render it precapitalist? Today, southern slavery is among the most hotly disputed topics in writing on American history. With the use of illustrative material and a critical bibliography, Dr Smith outlines the main contours of this complex debate, summarizes the contending viewpoints, and at the same time weighs up the relative importance, strengths and weaknesses of the various competing interpretations. This book introduces an important topic in American history in a manner which is accessible to students and undergraduates taking courses in American more

Product details

  • Online resource
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 3 maps 6 tables
  • 1139171127
  • 9781139171120

Review quote

'... a clear and interesting survey of much of the recent voluminous writing on the institution.' Economic History Reviewshow more

Table of contents

Author's preface; 1. The contours of the debate; 2. Slaveholders and plantations; 3. Yeoman and non-slave-owners; 4. Slaves; 5. The profitability of slavery as a business; 6. The profitability of slavery as a system; 7. New directions, toward consensus; more

Rating details

7 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 14% (1)
4 29% (2)
3 57% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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