Bibliographical Essay for Slavery

The most comprehensive guides to the literature on slavery are Joseph C. Miller, Slavery: A Worldwide Bibliography, 1900-1996 (1999) and John David Smith, Black Slavery in the Americas: An Interdisciplinary Bibliography, 1865-1980 (1982). Updated bibliographies appear annually in Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Comparative Studies, which also publishes important articles and debates on slavery and antislavery.

General reference works that include succinct essays on important topics are Seymour Drescher and Stanley Engerman, eds., A Historical Guide to World Slavery (1998); Paul Finkelman and Joseph C. Miller, eds., Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery (1998); Randall M. Miller and John David Smith, eds., Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery (updated ed., 1997); and Junius P. Rodriguez, eds., The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery (1997).

On the historiography of slavery in the United States, see Charles B. Dew, "The Slavery Experience," in John B. Boles and Evelyn Thomas Nolen, eds., Interpreting Southern History (1987), Peter J. Parish, Slavery: History and Historians (1989), John David Smith, Slavery, Race, and American History: Historical Conflict, Trends, and Method, 1866-1953 (1999), and Mark M. Smith, Debating Slavery: Economy and Society in the Antebellum American South (1998).

An institution that began in prehistoric times, slavery was practiced on virtually every continent. Orlando Patterson, Slavery and Social Death (1982) compares and contrasts the forms that slavery took in diverse societies around the world. For Asian slavery, see Anthony Reid, ed., Slavery, Bondage, and Dependency in Southeast Asia (1983) and James L. Watson, ed., Asian and African Systems of Slavery (1980). On Middle Eastern slavery, see Bernard Lewis, Race and Slavery in the Middle East (1990). An incisive overview of the origins, nature, and abolition of Islamic and New World slavery is David Brion Davis, Slavery and Human Progress (1984).

On African slavery and the African slave trade, see Patrick Manning, Slavery and African Life (1990); Paul E. Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa (1983); Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (1988); and John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680 (2nd ed., 1998), a study which also examines the critical role of Africans in the development of New World economies and cultures.

The literature on U.S. slavery is vast. Among the important general studies that have emphasized slaves' capacity to resist slavery and establish separate communities are John B. Boles, Black Southerners (1983); John D. Blassingame, The Slave Community (1979); Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan Roll (1974); Charles Joyner, Down by the Riverside (1984); Peter Kolchin, American Slavery (1993); and Leslie Howard Owens, This Species of Property (1976).

Valuable studies of slaves' culture and world views include Daniel J. Crowley, ed., African Folklore in the New World (1977); Dena J. Epstein, Sinful Tunes and Spirituals (1977); Joseph E. Holloway, Africanisms in American Culture (1990); Lawrence Levine, Black Culture and Black Consciousness (1977); Albert J. Raboteau, Slave Religion (1978); Mechal Sobel, Travelin' On: The Slave Journey to an Afro-Baptist Faith (1979); Sterling Stuckey, Slave Culture (1987); Michael Vlach, The Afro-American Tradition in Decorative Arts (1978); and Thomas L. Webber, Deep Like the Rivers: Education in the Slave Quarter Community (1978).

A number of historians have penetrated America's national boundaries to compare southern slavery with other systems of slavery and forced labor. Important works that locate southern slavery in a comparative perspective include Carl N. Degler, Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the United States (1971); Richard S. Dunn, Sugar and Slaves (1972); George M. Frederickson, White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History (1981); Herbert S. Klein, Slavery in the Americas (1967); and Peter Kolchin, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom (1987).

Not all of the scholars who have studies slavery are historians. Many economists, who are interested in the impact of slavery on economic growth, also conducted intensive research on the institution. The modern debate over the profitability of slavery and its impact on the southern economy began with an article by Alfred H. Conrad and John R. Meyer entitled "The Economics of Slavery in the Antebellum South," which appeared in the Journal of Political Economy in 1958. Among the scholars inspired by Conrad and Meyer's approach were Robert William Fogel and Stanley L. Engerman, who used sophisticated econometric and statistical techniques in their highly controversial reinterpretation of the slave economy, Time on the Cross (1974). Relying on a wide array of quantitative data, this book argued that slavery was a highly profitable institution; that slave labor was highly efficient; that masters promoted stable nuclear families; and that slaves were healthy, well fed, rarely whipped, and seldom sold away from their spouses. The volume produced withering criticism that challenged the book's evidence, methods, and interpretations, including Herbert B. Gutman, Slavery and the Numbers Game (1975) and Paul A. David et al., Reckoning with Slavery (1976). Fogel responded to his critics in 1989 with a volume entitled Without Consent or Contract, which synthesizes much recent quantitative research on slavery.

Until remarkably recently, there was a tendency to treat slavery as a static, unchanging institution. A number of recent volumes chronicle the historical evolution of American slavery. Valuable studies of colonial slavery include Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (1998); Timothy H. Breen and Stephen Innes, "Myne Owne Ground": Race and Freedom on Virginia's Eastern Shore (1980); Allan Kulikoff, Tobacco and Slaves: Southern Culture in the Chesapeake (1986); Daniel C. Littlefield, Rice and Slaves: Ethnicity and the Slave Trade in Colonial South Carolina (1981); Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom (1975); Philip D. Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Low Country (1998); Robert Olwell, Masters, Slaves, and Subjects: The Culture of Power in the South Carolina Low Country, 1740-1790 (1998); Mechal Sobel, The World They Made Together: Black and White Values in Eighteenth-Century Virginia (1987); Lorena S. Walsh, From Calabar to Carter's Grove: The History of a Virginia Slave Community (1997. and Donald R. Wright, African Americans in the Colonial Era (1990).

For slavery during the revolutionary era, see Ira Berlin and Ronald Hoffman, eds., Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution (1983); Paul Finkelman, Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson (1996); Sylvia R. Frey, Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age (1991); and Shane White, Somewhat More Independent: The End of Slavery in New York City (1991).

A large number of important recent studies have explored slavery's aftermath. Among the important recent works that focus on the African American experience during the Civil War and Reconstruction are Ira Berlin, ed., Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867 (1982); Barbara Jean Fields, Slavery and Freedom on the Middle Ground: Maryland (1985); Eric Foner, Reconstruction (1988); Joseph T. Glatthaar, Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance Between Black Soldiers and White Officers (1990); Leon Litwack "Been in the Storm So Long" (1979); and Jay R. Mandle, Not Slave, Not Free (1992).

No aspect of slavery has gone unexamined. For the origins and implications of racism, see George M. Fredrickson, The Black Image in the White Mind (1971) and Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black (1968). On the nature of antislavery movements and comparative emancipations, see Ira Berlin, et al. Slaves No More (1992); David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture (1967) and The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution (1975); Eric Foner, Nothing But Freedom (1983); Thomas C. Holt, The Problem of Freedom: Race, Labor and Politics in Jamaica and Britain, 1832-1938 (1992); and Robert Brent Toplin, The Abolition of Slavery in Brazil (1975).

There are many specialized studies worthy of note. The law of slavery is analyzed in Paul Finkelman, ed., Slavery and the Law (1996); A Leon Higginbotham, Jr., In the Matter of Color (1978); Mark Tushnet, The American Law of Slavery (1981); and Alan Watson, Slave Law in the Americas (1989).

On slave resistance in the Americas, see Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts (1979). On fugitive slaves, see John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves (1999).

Women's lives under slavery are skillfully explored in Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women in the Old South (1988); Jacqueline Jones, Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow (1985); Melton A. McLaurin, Celia: A Slave (1991); and Deborah Gray White, Ar'n't I a Woman (1985).

On slave families, see Herbert G. Gutman, The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom (1976) and Brenda Stevenson, Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South (1996). For slave children, see Wilma King, Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America (1995) and Marie Jenkins Schwartz, Born in Bondage (1999).
Medical histories of slavery include Kenneth F. Kiple and Virginia Himmelsteib King, Another Dimension to the Black Diaspora: Diet, Disease, and Racism (1981) and Todd L. Savitt, Medicine and Slavery (1978).

For urban slavery, see Claudia D. Goldin, Urban Slavery in the American South (1976) and Richard C. Wade, Slavery in the Cities (1964). On free blacks, see Ira Berlin, Slaves Without Masters (1974); and Michael P. Johnson and James L. Roark, Black Masters (1984) and No Chariot Let Down: Charleston's Free People of Color (1984).

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