BOOK: Oakes on End of Slavery in the U.S.

Freedom National

James Oakes. Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012.

 

Via W. W. Norton:

Freedom National is a groundbreaking history of emancipation that joins the political initiatives of Lincoln and the Republicans in Congress with the courageous actions of Union soldiers and runaway slaves in the South. It shatters the widespread conviction that the Civil War was first and foremost a war to restore the Union and only gradually, when it became a military necessity, a war to end slavery. These two aims—”Liberty and Union, one and inseparable”—were intertwined in Republican policy from the very start of the war.

By summer 1861 the federal government invoked military authority to begin freeing slaves, immediately and without slaveholder compensation, as they fled to Union lines in the disloyal South. In the loyal Border States the Republicans tried coaxing officials into gradual abolition with promises of compensation and the colonization abroad of freed blacks. James Oakes shows that Lincoln’s landmark 1863 proclamation marked neither the beginning nor the end of emancipation: it triggered a more aggressive phase of military emancipation, sending Union soldiers onto plantations to entice slaves away and enlist the men in the army. But slavery proved deeply entrenched, with slaveholders determined to re-enslave freedmen left behind the shifting Union lines. Lincoln feared that the war could end in Union victory with slavery still intact. The Thirteenth Amendment that so succinctly abolished slavery was no formality: it was the final act in a saga of immense war, social upheaval, and determined political leadership…

Freedom National won the 2013  Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize.

EDITED: Fradera and Schmidt-Nowara on Slavery in Spain’s Atlantic Empire

SLAVERY AND ANTISLAVERY IN SPAIN'S ATLANTIC EMPIRE

Josep Maria Fradera and Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, eds. Slavery and Antislavery in Spain’s Atlantic Empire. New York: Berghahn Books, 2013.

via Berghahn Books:

African slavery was pervasive in Spain’s Atlantic empire yet remained in the margins of the imperial economy until the end of the eighteenth century when the plantation revolution in the Caribbean colonies put the slave traffic and the plantation at the center of colonial exploitation and conflict. The international group of scholars brought together in this volume explain Spain’s role as a colonial pioneer in the Atlantic world and its latecomer status as a slave-trading, plantation-based empire. These contributors map the broad contours and transformations of slave-trafficking, the plantation, and antislavery in the Hispanic Atlantic while also delving into specific topics that include: the institutional and economic foundations of colonial slavery; the law and religion; the influences of the Haitian Revolution and British abolitionism; antislavery and proslavery movements in Spain; race and citizenship; and the business of the illegal slave trade.

EDITED: Gleeson and Lewis on the Bicentennial of the International Slave Trade Bans

David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis, eds. Ambiguous Anniversary: The Bicentennial of the International Slave Trade Bans. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2012.

From University of South Carolina Press:

In March 1807, within a few weeks of each other, both the United States and the United Kingdom passed laws banning the international slave trade. Two hundred years later, Great Britain, an instigator of the slave trade and the chief source of slaves sold into continental North America, was awash nationwide in commemorations of the ban. By contrast the bicentennial
of the ban received almost no attention in the United States. Ambiguous Anniversary aims to remedy that omission and to explain the discrepancy between the two commemorative responses. Edited by David T. Gleeson and Simon Lewis, this volume examines the impact that closing the international slave trade in 1808 had on Southern American economics, politics,
and society.

Recasting the history of slavery in the early Republic and the memory of slavery and abolition in American culture, the foreword, introduction, and ten essays in this volume present a complex picture of an important but partial step in America’s long struggle toward the ambitious but ambiguous goal of liberty and justice for all….

ARTICLE: Milbrandt on Livingstone and the Law (via The Legal History Blog)

Jay Milbrandt, “Livingstone and the Law: Africa’s Greatest Explorer and the Abolition of the Slave Trade.” SSRN eLibrary (August 20, 2012).

Abstract:

Few historical events have had such tragic, widespread, and lingering consequences as the exportation of slaves from Africa. While the abolition of western Africa’s transatlantic slave trade is well documented, the events and legal framework that led to the abolition of the slave trade in East Africa remain practically untold. There, an unlikely hero championed abolition: Missionary and explorer Dr. David Livingstone. His method: an ambitious publicity stunt to dramatically change international law.

This article will illustrate how explorer David Livingstone’s advocacy profoundly affected the legal landscape to restrict the slave trade in East Africa, and eventually dealt the deathblow abolishing it forever. Further, this article will illustrate how a lack of enforcement of the law and a policy of incremental restrictions on the slave trade, in lieu of outright abolition, was destructive to East and Central Africa, intensifying the slave trade with ramifications that can still be felt today. Finally, it will demonstrate, by modern analog, how strict enforcement of the rule of law is necessary in the developing world today.

H/T: Found at The Legal History Blog: Milbrandt on Livingstone the Explorer and the African Slave Trade

BOOK: Wallace and Smith on Early Photography and African American Identity

Maurice O. Wallace and Shawn Michelle Smith, eds. Pictures and Progress: Early Photography and the Making of African American Identity. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012.

via Duke University Press:

“The new book Pictures and Progress, co-edited by Duke Professor Maurice Wallace, looks at how the invention of photography was used for and against political gain for African Americans.”

(H/T NewBlackMan)

BOOK: Rael, et. al. on African-American Activism

Rael, Patrick, ed. African-American Activism before the Civil War: The Freedom Struggle in the Antebellum North. New edition. New York City, NY: Routledge, 2008.

From the Routledge website:

African-American Activism before the Civil War is the first collection of scholarship on the role of African Americans in the struggle for racial equality in the northern states before the Civil War. Many of these essays are already known as classics in the field, and others are well on their way to becoming definitive in a still-evolving field. Here, in one place for the first time, anchored by a comprehensive, analytical introduction discussing the historiography of antebellum black activism, the best scholarship on this crucial group of African American activists can finally be studied together.

Contents:

Chapter 1: “Emancipation of the Negro Abolitionist”, Leon Litwack

Chapter 2: “Black Power—The Debate in 1840″, Jane H. Pease, William H. Pease

Chapter 3: “Elevating the Race: The Social Thought of Black Leaders, 1827-1850″, Frederick Cooper

Chapter 4: “Black History’s Antebellum Origins”, Benjamin Quarles

Chapter 5: “Since They Got Those Separate Churches: Afro-Americans and Racism in Jacksonian Philadelphia”, Emma Jones Lapsansky

Chapter 6: “Interpreting Early Black Ideology: A Reappraisal of Historical Consensus”, George A. Levesque

Chapter 7: “Afro-American Identity: Reflections on the Pre-Civil War Era”, Ernest Allen, Jr.

Chapter 8: “Freedom’s Yoke: Gender Conventions among Antebellum Free Blacks,” James Oliver Horton

Chapter 9: “The Political Significance of Slave Resistance”, James Oakes

Chapter 10: “It was a Proud Day: African Americans, Festivals, and Parades in the North, 1741-1834″, Shane White

Chapter 11: “Ethiopia Shall Soon Stretch Forth Her Hands: Black Destiny in Nineteenth-Century America”, Albert Raboteau

Chapter 12: “The Emergence of Racial Modernity and the Rise of the White North, 1790-1840″, James Brewer Stewart

Chapter 13: “From Abolitionist Amalgamators to ‘Rulers of the Five Points’: The Discourse of Interracial Sex and Reform in Antebellum New York City,” Leslie M. Harris

Chapter 14: “The Redeemer Race and the Angry Saxon: Race, Gender, and White People in Antebellum Black Ethnology,” Mia Bay

Chapter 15: “The Market Revolution and Market Values in Antebellum Black Protest Thought”, Patrick Rael

BOOK: Mintz & Stauffer, et. al. on the Problem of Evil & Slavery

Mintz, Steven, and John Stauffer. The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom, And the Ambiguities of American Reform. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.

From the University of Massachusetts Press website:

Leading scholars explore the moral dimension of American history

A collective effort to present a new kind of moral history, this volume seeks to show how the study of the past can illuminate profound ethical and philosophical issues. More specifically, the contributors address a variety of questions raised by the history of American slavery. How did freedom—personal, civic, and political—become one of the most cherished values in the Western world? How has the language of slavery been applied to other instances of exploitation and depersonalization? To what extent is America’s high homicide rate a legacy of slavery? Did the abolitionist movement’s tendency to view slavery as a product of sin, rather than as a structural and economic problem, accelerate or impede emancipation?

Divided into four parts, with introductions to each section by editors Steven Mintz and John Stauffer, the essays provide succinct guides to the evolution of American slavery, the origins of antislavery thought, the challenges of emancipation, and the post-emancipation legacy of slavery. They also offer fresh perspectives on key individuals, from Benjamin Franklin and Frederick Douglass to Harriet Jacobs and John Brown, and shed new light on the differences between female and male critiques of slavery, the defense of slavery by the South’s intellectual elite, and Catholic attitudes toward slavery and abolition.

Above all, The Problem of Evil helps us understand the circumstances that allow social evils to happen, how intelligent and ostensibly moral people can participate in the most horrendous crimes, and how, at certain historical moments, some individuals are able to rise above their circumstances, address evil in fundamental ways, and expand our moral consciousness.

WEB: Levy on Failure of the Freedman’s Bank and the Gilded Age (LOC Webcast)

ACLS Mellon Fellow Jonathan Levy discusses the failure of the Freedman Savings and Trust Company at the Library of Congress:

In 1865, Congress chartered the non-profit “Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company,” a savings bank designed for a population of four million newly emancipated American slaves. By 1873, it had received a staggering $50,000,000 in deposits. But the banking house Jay Cooke & Co. was charged with investing the freedpeople’s savings, and when Jay Cooke & Co. failed during the panic of 1873, so did the Freedman’s Bank. Liberated from their former masters, the freedpeople had very suddenly come face to face with the frenzied finance of the Gilded Age.

View it here.

Paton on Enslaved Women and Slavery circa 1807 (and more)

Posted at History in Focus, a 14 volume journal published by the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London.  [On the main page, the link to the issue on slavery is broken.  Access it here.]

Excerpt below:

This year’s commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the passage of the British Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade have tended to focus on those exceptional individuals who led movements against the trade and against slavery itself. (1) For some, those individuals have been located primarily in Britain: people like Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and – finally being given his due in recent years – Olaudah Equiano. Others have countered that it is more appropriate to examine the frequently revolutionary actions of enslaved people themselves, whose ‘200 Years’ War’ against slavery, as Barbadian historian Hilary Beckles describes it, ultimately increased the economic and political costs of that system to the point where it could no longer be sustained. (2) On both sides, the emphasis has largely been on men, despite some efforts to include a token woman or two: a Hannah More here, a Nanny or a Mary Prince there. This concentration on men is almost inevitable when historical narrative becomes a search for heroic leaders, for the social conventions of most societies have tended to limit women’s capacity to become prominent leaders.

Yet this attention to the exceptional threatens to obscure the quotidian. What about the men and women who lived through slavery without taking up arms against it? Their experience was the norm for slave societies and, I would argue, is as important, as interesting and as full of political struggle as the lives of those who became rebels. This essay focuses on the everyday lives of enslaved people, especially enslaved women, in the British colonies in the Caribbean, and asks what difference the abolition of the slave trade meant to them. It focuses in particular on two issues: labour and reproduction. Drawing on secondary work as well as my own research in Jamaican archives, it shows the complex results of the end of importation of enslaved Africans. One outcome of the end of the slave trade was increased pressure on enslaved women, and thus increased conflict between them and those who sought to exploit them.

Read it in its entirety here.

The index of articles for the issue on slavery:

Britain, slavery and the trade in enslaved Africans

by Marika Sherwood

Enslaved women and slavery before and after 1807

by Diana Paton

British links and the West Indian proslavery argument

by Christer Petley

Reading the rebels: currents of slave resistance in the eighteenth-century British West Indies

by Natalie Zacek

Runaway slave communities in South Carolina

by Tim Lockley

Abolishing the slave trade

by James Walvin

The Big Disappointment. The economic consequences of the abolition of slavery in the Caribbean, 1833-1888

by Pieter C. Emmer

Political uses of memories of slavery in the Republic of Benin

Ana Lucia Araujo

How could we do without sugar and rum?

Graham Ullathorne

JAAH 93:4: Special Issue on the End of the Slave Trade

The Journal of African American History volume 93:4 is a special issue commemorating the bicentennial of the outlawing of the Atlantic slave trade by the United States.

First paragraph steal from the introduction by journal editor and Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Riverside V. P. Franklin:

“The year 2008 marks the bicentennial of the end of legal participation of United States citizens in the transatlantic slave trade. Under the terms of compromises that were made to gain southem slaveholders’ support for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, members of the Congress were banned from prohibiting the importation of enslaved Africans into the United States until 1808. In light of the successful slave revolt on Saint Domingue leading to the birth of Haiti, the second republic in the New World (1791-1804); Gabriel Prosser’s unsuccessful slave insurrection in Virginia in 1800; and the

decision by the members of Parliametit in 1807 to outlaw British participation in the transatlantic slave trade, the Congress voted to ban the importation of enslaved Africans into the United States as of 1 January 1808.”

Articles:

INTRODUCTION: ENDING THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: BICENTENNIAL RESEARCH, REFLECTIONS, AND COMMEMORATIONS.
Franklin, V. P.

“I NEVER HAVE SUCH A SICKLY SHIP BEFORE”: DIET, DISEASE, AND MORTALITY IN 18TH-CENTURY ATLANTIC SLAVING VOYAGES
Mustakeem, Sowande’

RESISTANCE AND COLLABORATION: POLITICAL STRATEGIES WITHIN THE AFRO-CAROLINIAN SLAVE COMMUNITY, 1700-1750
Kyles, Perry L.

THE SLAVING BRIG HENRIQUETA AND HER EVIL SISTERS: A CASE STUDY IN THE 19th-CENTURY ILLEGAL SLAVE TRADE TO BRAZIL
Tinnie, Dinizulu Gene

REFLECTIONS ON THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE ABOLITION OF THE BRITISH SLAVE TRADE
Kerr-Ritchie, J. R.

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMEMORATION: FROM THE SLAVE TRADE ABOLITION BICENTENNIAL TO CARNIVAL MESSIAH
Franklin, V. P.

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