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Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 by This volume is the first comprehensive history of the evolving relationship between American slavery and the law from colonial times to the Civil War. As Thomas Morris clearly shows, racial slavery came to the English colonies as an institution without strict legal definitions or guidelines. Specifically, he demonstrates that there was no coherent body of law that dealt solely with slaves. Instead, more general legal rules concerning inheritance, mortgages, and transfers of property coexisted with laws pertaining only to slaves. According to Morris, southern lawmakers and judges struggled to reconcile a social order based on slavery with existing English common law (or, in Louisiana, with continental civil law.) Because much was left to local interpretation, laws varied between and even within states. In addition, legal doctrine often differed from local practice. And, as Morris reveals, in the decades leading up to the Civil War, tensions mounted between the legal culture of racial slavery and the competing demands of capitalism and evangelical Christianity.
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 1999-02-22
Slavery in Florida by This important illustrated social history of slavery tells what life was like for bond servants in Florida from 1821 to 1865, offering new insights from the perspective of both slave and master. Starting with an overview of the institution as it evolved during the Spanish and English periods, Larry E. Rivers looks in detail and in depth at the slave experience, noting the characteristics of slavery in the Middle Florida plantation belt (the more traditional slave-based, cotton-growing economy and society) as distinct from East and West Florida (which maintained some attitudes and traditions of Spain). He examines the slave family, religion, resistance activity, slaves' participation in the Civil War, and their social interactions with whites, Indians, other slaves, and masters. Rivers also provides a dramatic account of the hundreds of armed free blacks and runaways among the Seminole, Creek, and Mikasuki Indians on the peninsula, whose presence created tensions leading to the great slave rebellion, the Second Seminole War (1835-42). Slavery in Florida is built upon painstaking research into virtually every source available on the subject--a wealth of historic documents, personal papers, slave testimonies, and census and newspaper reports. This serious critical work strikes a balance between the factual and the interpretive. It will be significant to all readers interested in slavery, the Civil War, the African American experience, and Florida and southern U.S. history, and it could serve as a comprehensive resource for secondary school teachers and students.
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 2009-03-15
The Laws of Slavery in Texas by The laws that governed the institution of slavery in early Texas were enacted over a fifty-year period in which Texas moved through incarnations as a Spanish colony, a Mexican state, an independent republic, a part of the United States, and a Confederate state. This unusual legal heritage sets Texas apart from the other slave-holding states and provides a unique opportunity to examine how slave laws were enacted and upheld as political and legal structures changed. The Laws of Slavery in Texas makes that examination possible by combining seminal historical essays with excerpts from key legal documents from the slave period and tying them together with interpretive commentary by the foremost scholar on the subject, Randolph B. Campbell. Campbell's commentary focuses on an aspect of slave law that was particularly evident in the evolving legal system of early Texas: the dilemma that arose when human beings were treated as property. As Campbell points out, defining slaves as moveable property, or chattel, presented a serious difficulty to those who wrote and interpreted the law because, unlike any other form of property, slaves were sentient beings. They were held responsible for their crimes, and in numerous other ways statute and case law dealing with slavery recognized the humanness of the enslaved. Attempts to protect the property rights of slave owners led to increasingly restrictive laws--including laws concerning free blacks--that were difficult to uphold. The documents in this collection reveal both the roots of the dilemma and its inevitable outcome.
Call Number: Online
Publication Date: 2010-02-15