social conditions which would foster (or at least not discourage)
The juxtaposition of two features--rigidity and harshness on one
hand, a measure of concern for slave living standards on the
other--helps to explain one of the inner contradictions of the whole
system.19 Southern slavery sought to combine two apparently incompatible elements. It totally denied any rights to the slave, aimed to
reduce the slave to a state of total dependence, and tried to confine
him or her inescapably within the system. Yet, at the same time, it
made material provision for the slave superior to that provided by
other systems of bondage, moderated the severity of the system in its
practical day-by-day application, made room for an element of
paternalism in the master-slave relationship, and used the mediating
influence of tacit compromise and "double-think." The slave society
of the double standard was the product of a very distinctive historical
and demographic background which had been evolving over at least
Ira Berlin, "Time, Space and the
Evolution of Afro-American Society on
British Mainland North America," American Historical Review 85 ( 1980):
The most authoritative analysis of
the slave trade is Philip D. Curtin, The
Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census ( Madison, Wis., 1969). Herbert S. Klein, The Middle
Passage: Comparative Studies in the Atlantic Slave Trade ( Princeton, N.J., 1978)
includes discussion of the importation of
slaves into the North American mainland
A useful modern treatment of the whole
subject is James A. Rawley, The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History ( New York, 1981).
Winthrop D. Jordan, White over
Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812 ( Chapel Hill, N.C., 1968), 80-2.
The debate among historians about
the evolution of slavery in the Chesapeake
Bay area during the seventeenth century
is skilfully summarized in Boles, Black
Southerners, chapter 1, with references to
important articles in various journals on 217-8. Edmund S. Morgan, American
Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of
Colonial Virginia ( New York, 1975) is a
study of major importance. See especially
chapter 15 for the switch of emphasis
from indentured servitude to slavery in
the late seventeenth century.
Peter H. Wood, Black Majority:
Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from
1670 through the Stono Rebellion ( New
York, 1974), 96.
6. Ibid., 326. The brief account in
this chapter of the development of slavery
in South Carolina relies heavily on
Wood's authoritative study. 7.
are discussed in the later chapters of Morgan, American Slavery, American
Freedom, and in Ira Berlin, Time, Spaceand the Evolution of Afro-American Society.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Slavery:History and Historians.
Contributors: Peter J. Parish - Author.
Publisher: Westview Press.
Place of publication: Boulder, CO.
Publication year: 1989.
Page number: 24.
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