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The growth of the slave culture in america

Beginning in the 1660s, England, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal systematically devoted state resources to establishing plantation societies that used slave labor to produce cash crops. Growing demand for sugar, coffee, tobacco, and cotton produced a broad, hemispheric trend that saw more slaves, producing more cash crops, in places that were marginal to the 18th-century Atlantic plantation complex.

The United States—dominated politically by slaveholders—emerged as one of several imperial powers competing for supremacy over the peoples and places of the North American continent. In the roughly fifty years between the 1760s and the 1810s, slavery expanded tremendously on the North American continent. In North America, slaveholders and would-be planters used state power to expand plantation operations into the trans-Appalachian West, the southern interior, and the Lower Mississippi Valley.

  • Conditions on these ships were cruel;
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  • Consistently good work was rewarded by extra food, a pass to visit friends or family on another plantation, or the privilege of having a vegetable garden.

By the 1820s, the United States had emerged as the preeminent imperial power on the North American continent. The century stretching from the 1760s to the 1860s would be an age of empires and slavery, but it would also become an age of antislavery movements, emancipation, and abolition.

The Story of America’s First Slaves

Slavery expanded rapidly in the United States between the 1770s and the 1830s, with few sustained challenges. By the 1840s, however, political antislavery had emerged as an important political force. The 1840s through the 1870s became an extended period of imperial rivalries, conflicts, and conquests, as Republicans and Democrats sought to impose free labor or slave labor regimes on the regions and peoples of the trans-Mississippi West, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. As the North and South sought to impose their particular forms of sovereignty concerning race, slavery, and labor on various borderland regions, both sections began formulating rival imperial ideologies.

From the 1840s through the start of the American Civil War, Republicans and Democrats developed aggressive, competing imperial visions for the trans-Mississippi West, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America.

Union victory ended the acquisition of new territory by the United States and led directly to the abolition of slavery. As a newly powerful imperial nation-state, the federal government fostered development in the Great Plains, the Mountain West, and the Pacific Coast along lines advocated by free-labor Republicans. General Overviews Since the mid-1990s, historians have entirely rewritten our understanding of the rise and fall of slavery in the United States, and of the emergence of the United States as the dominant imperial power on the North American continent.

As late as the 1990s, historians tended to treat the expansion of slavery and the emergence of the United States as a continental power as close to inevitable. But a generation of scholarship on the Atlantic world, African American history and slavery, the politics of slavery, and Native American history, frontiers, and empire has entirely rewritten that narrative. Historians now treat the growth and expansion of slavery as a process driven by state and imperial needs, where peoples from Europe, Africa, and the Americas all played crucial roles in determining the shape and contours of the Atlantic and North American plantation complexes.

The late 1990s saw the appearance of the first in a series of broad, synthetic surveys that built on specialized scholarship. Blackburn 1998Eltis 2000and Davis 2006 synthesize much of the specialized the growth of the slave culture in america from the 1980s and the 1990s, with a focus on enslavers rather than the enslaved. More recently, Drescher 2009 and Rael 2015 synthesize much of the specialized literature that appeared since 2000, with a focus on abolition and the emergence of organized abolition movements in the late 1700s, while Hammond 2014 examines the expansion of slavery in North America as an imperial-driven process.

AMERICAN HISTORY: Slavery in the American South

A History of African-American Slaves. Harvard University Press, 2003.

  • Once the soil was ready usually in March , tobacco seedlings were transplanted to the fields;
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  • The United States—dominated politically by slaveholders—emerged as one of several imperial powers competing for supremacy over the peoples and places of the North American continent.

The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492—1800. Argues that New World slavery grew as a result of consumer demand for slave-produced cash crops. Focuses on how slavery proved instrumental to both European colonization and European economic growth.

Oxford University Press, 2006. Examines the emergence of racial ideologies and their differences across time and space, the emergence of the early Atlantic plantation complex, the Age of Revolutions, the lives of slaves and slaveholders, the abolition movement, and the politics of slavery in the United States. A History of Slavery and Antislavery. Cambridge University Press, 2009. Focuses on the ways that ideology—Anglo-American liberalism in particular—drove abolition.

The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas.

Slave Society and Culture

Cambridge University Press, 2000. Using an economic model to analyze slavery by examining supply and demand for labor and cash crops in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, along with transatlantic transportation costs.

  • Lovejoy, Transformations in Slavery;
  • Black men and women—slave as well as free—traded independently and accumulated property;
  • White residents of New Amsterdam protested the enslavement of the children of half-free slaves, holding that no one born of a free person should be a slave;
  • Their work days were not ruled by the sun; instead, they were set by tasks;
  • Claims that the American Revolution led to a massive divergence between the northern and southern states and initiated a larger Atlantic abolition movement.

Notable for its attention to the slave trade in West African ports. Analyzes the Civil War as an imperial war, the culmination of two centuries of imperial rivalries fueled by challenges to slavery and sovereignty in the borderlands of North American.

University of Georgia Press, 2015. Claims that the American Revolution led to a massive divergence between the northern and southern states and initiated a larger Atlantic abolition movement.

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Frequently compares slavery and abolition in the United States to slavery and abolition elsewhere in the Americas. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page.

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