Essay on Peter Kolchin, American Slavery

In: Section 7 – history essay

Essay on Peter Kolchin, American slavery

American slavery is one of the most popular topics assigned by teachers in the United States. Why?  Because slavery was an important part of our history!  While there is no slavery today, its impact on the formation of our society has been tremendous. The following sample essay on Peter Kolchin, American slavery, is written to give you some insights into the possible development of your own essay on this topic. If you need personal help with writing American slavery essay, do not hesitate to try our custom college essay writing services. Our writers can handle assignments of any complexity and we can definitely write an original (customized) essay on Peter Kolchin and American slavery! Our prices are adjusted to the urgency and we do not charge extra for an outline and cover pages. These pages are delivered for free! More on our free extras here: customcollegeessays.com/blog/free-essay-paper-writing.

Sample essay on Peter Kolchin

One of the problems left behind by Elkins stems from the emphasis on slave treatment as a standard of comparison. Of course it remains one perfectly proper focus of such investigations, but surely it should not be the exclusive or dominant one. As Peter Kolchin has pointed out, the priority given to slave treatment in comparative studies has been increasingly at odds with the emphasis in modern studies of Southern slavery on the interior life of the slave community and the development of a distinct African-American culture. (It is ironic that much of this work was sparked as part of the response to Elkins's major thesis concerning the slave personality.) Clearly there are many other topics apart from slave treatment which offer scope for revealing comparisons--or contrasts--between the Old South and other parts of the New World, and even beyond. Some of the major modern historians of Southern slavery--notably John Blassingame and Eugene Genovese--have always been at pains to place all their work in an international or comparative context. Genovese, in particular, excels in this grasp of the wider American or Atlantic or world perspective, whether he is discussing slave revolts, the master-slave relationship, or the economics of slavery.

Understandably, many comparative studies have centered upon other slave societies in the Western Hemisphere. A few examples may suffice to illustrate some of the major themes. Despite geographical proximity, the Caribbean offers some of the most striking contrasts with Southern slave society. It is true that Herbert S. Klein has compared slavery in Virginia and Cuba in a way which broadly follows the Elkins line of argument, but most historians have stressed the extreme harshness of Caribbean slavery. One of the most authoritative of such studies, Richard Dunn Sugar and Slaves, explores the sharp contrast between West Indian planters and their English counterparts on the mainland of North America. Whereas the island planters plunged into the slave business, he says, the mainland colonies inched into it--and much of the divergent character of the two systems flowed from that initial distinction. Dunn concludes that slavery in the sugar islands became "one of the harshest systems of servitude in Western history." The differences from the Southern pattern were enormous. Small islands with large sugar plantations, often with absentee owners; slaves being worked to exhaustion and death and then replaced by fresh imports from Africa; a slave population with a preponderance of young males--all this may have been the state of affairs only a few hundred miles from the Southern coast, but it belonged to another world.

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