The historical non-fiction novel, American Slavery: , by Peter Kolchin, describes the overview of slavery in America. This novel specifically focuses on the life of a slave throughout the colonial period all the way through the abolition of slavery. Kolchin has specialized in slavery and labor in the American South before, and after the Civil War. Stop Using Plagiarized Content. Get Essay In the beginning, he describes how America was heavily dependent on coerced labor.
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This paper is divided in two sections. Stop Using Plagiarized Content. By about , American slavery was concentrated mostly in the South, though it existed in all of the American colonies, and, as time passed, relationships between slaves and masters changed as second- generation slaves lost much of their African culture and became Americanized.
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. Kolchin also 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. Their free labor established the agricultural foundation of the New World.
From hereon, Kolchin follows the escalation of slavery through citing statistics and providing information of conditions of the lives and times of slaves and slave owners. Kolchin narrates tales of hardship and provides a condemning opinion of slavery. At the same time, however, he focuses on the facts of daily living of slaves in America. Furthermore, Kolchin delves deeply into the oddly fascinating dynamics of the slave-master relationship, which allows incidents such as a master whipping his slave for working sluggishly and then the evening of the same day, gathering all of the slaves for a bible reading session.
A person who provides basic needs for others but forces them to provide him free labor in return is evaluated repeatedly in the book with interesting outcomes. The irony of this is that slave owners saw no wrong in what they were doing, regardless of how they treated their respective slaves.
Slavery, as an institution, was from the perspective of the slave owners, justified. Kolchin describes that, in response, slaves were overtly resistive to their predicament at times, while others provided less obvious resistance in the form of slow work, feigning illness, and even sabotage. In addition, Kolchin gives the readers the catalysts for the events in the history of slavery. Economic, religious, and social factors are made prevalent, which renders the book well organized and able to reach depths that a few other books with the same topic failed to achieve.
Even though the war ended, hatred for blacks remains. Thus, segregation evolves in full force throughout the nation, but mainly in the south. He also explains the struggle of the south to compete with the north as far as industrialization which was the new course of America straying away from agriculture, and until today they still suffer a lack of industry opposed to the northern states.
The bibliographical essay lists hundreds of books that pertain to the writing in a sectional format and describes particular topics covered in each book. This is easy to see in the straightforward and matter-of-fact way that the author discusses topics from whipping of slaves, to the selling of slaves resulting in the breakup of families.
Kolchin effectively used statistics in writing this book, in that, at the start of most sections or chapters the reader was able to ascertain the slave population and distribution, as well as growth rates and comparison to white population. When the author wanted to explain the horrors of these situations, he used quotes from slaves themselves, not a personal soapbox that many authors use. By using these comparisons the reader can see how the treatment of slaves was paramount to production, controllability, and even reproduction.
It is a clear and briskly written survey that puts slavery in context and explains its continuing impact on American life. Overall, Kolchin displays an excellent work of literature which provides many sources and well-thought-out information.
Reference Kolchin, Peter American Slavery,
American Slavery: 1619-1877
Shelves: civil-war , 19thc-us On the first page of American Slavery, historian Peter Kolchin states that The sheer volume of historical work on slavery has become so cast that keeping up with it is a task of herculean proportions even for experts in the field. For everyone else, it is simply impossible. The book attempts to address that problem by providing both a broad survey of current views of slavery and a guide to the historiography of the topic. The results are outstanding. Kolchin has produced an incredible work that serves as both an introduction to the history of American slavery and a guide to the literature. Such a survey naturally does not have a single argument or thesis, but Kolchin does continually return to the theme that slavery in America was not a static institution but was constantly changing, from a system of indentured servitude in the early colonial era to a race-based, paternalistic model in the antebellum period. Kolchin begins the work with a study of the colonial period, focusing on how indentured servitude of Europeans was the norm until around , when the amount of labor required far exceeded the amount of servants that Europe could provide.
Book Review American Slavery: 1619-1877 by Peter Kolchin
This paper is divided in two sections. Stop Using Plagiarized Content. By about , American slavery was concentrated mostly in the South, though it existed in all of the American colonies, and, as time passed, relationships between slaves and masters changed as second- generation slaves lost much of their African culture and became Americanized. 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. Kolchin also 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.