Freedom: Volume 2, Series 1: The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: The Upper South: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861?1867

Overview

As slavery collapsed during the American Civil War, former slaves struggled to secure their liberty, reconstitute their families, and create the institutions befitting a free people. This volume of Freedom presents a documentary history of the emergence of free-labor relations in different settings in the Upper South. At first, most federal officials hoped to mobilize former slaves without either transforming the conflict into a war of liberation or assuming responsibility for the young, the old, or others not ...

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Overview

As slavery collapsed during the American Civil War, former slaves struggled to secure their liberty, reconstitute their families, and create the institutions befitting a free people. This volume of Freedom presents a documentary history of the emergence of free-labor relations in different settings in the Upper South. At first, most federal officials hoped to mobilize former slaves without either transforming the conflict into a war of liberation or assuming responsibility for the young, the old, or others not suitable for military employment. But as the Union army came to depend on black workers and as the number of destitute freedpeople mounted, authorities at all levels grappled with intertwined questions of freedom, labor and welfare. Meanwhile, the former slaves pursued their own objectives, working within the constraints imposed by the war and Union occupation to fashion new lives as free people. The Civil War sealed the fate of slavery only to open a contest over the meaning of freedom. This volume of Freedom documents an important chapter in that contest.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"There is so much in these documents that scholars, teachers, and students of history will literally lose themselves in the incredible story before them. Everyone associated with this project is to be commended for a marvelous job well done indeed." Ronald L. F. Davis, The Journal of Southern History

"...(pxxi), the authors state: 'Taken together, these records provide the fullest documentation of the destruction of a dependent social relationship, the release of a people from their dependent status, and the simultaneous transformation of an entire society. As far as is known, no comparable record exists for the liberation of any group of serfs or slaves or for the transformation of any people into wage workers' (xix). Ira Berlin, Steven Miller, Joseph Reidy, and Leslie Rowland are to be commended for their effort." Edmund L. Drago, Georgia Historical Quarterly

"The skillfully written essays that introduce this volume as a whole as well as the individual state chapters significantly advance our understanding of this pivotal period. Superbly crafted and accessible, these essays would make splendid supplementary reading for undergraduates....The scholarly community owes the editorial team its gratitude, especially Ira Berlin who returned to teaching with the completion of this volume after setting a new standard of excellence for documentary history with the Freedman and Southern History Project." Barbara L. Bellows, Labor History

"...certainly qualifies as another landmark achievement....All serious students of the war owe a mounting debt to the editors of this magisterial project." Civil War

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Editorial methods; Symbols and abbreviations; Part I. The Wartime Genesis of Free Labor: 1. Tidewater Virginia and North Carolina; 2. The district of Columbia; 3. Middle and East Tennessee and Northern Alabama; 4. Maryland; 5. Missouri; 6. Kentucky; Index.

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