River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom

River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom

3.3 3
by Walter Johnson
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0674045556

ISBN-13: 9780674045552

Pub. Date: 02/28/2013

Publisher: Harvard

When Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory, he envisioned an “empire for liberty” populated by self-sufficient white farmers. Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andrew Jackson, the Mississippi Valley was transformed instead into a booming capitalist economy commanded by wealthy planters, powered by steam engines,

Overview

When Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory, he envisioned an “empire for liberty” populated by self-sufficient white farmers. Cleared of Native Americans and the remnants of European empires by Andrew Jackson, the Mississippi Valley was transformed instead into a booming capitalist economy commanded by wealthy planters, powered by steam engines, and dependent on the coerced labor of slaves. River of Dark Dreams places the Cotton Kingdom at the center of worldwide webs of exchange and exploitation that extended across oceans and drove an insatiable hunger for new lands. This bold reaccounting dramatically alters our understanding of American slavery and its role in U.S. expansionism, global capitalism, and the upcoming Civil War.

Walter Johnson deftly traces the connections between the planters’ pro-slavery ideology, Atlantic commodity markets, and Southern schemes for global ascendency. Using slave narratives, popular literature, legal records, and personal correspondence, he recreates the harrowing details of daily life under cotton’s dark dominion. We meet the confidence men and gamblers who made the Valley shimmer with promise, the slave dealers, steamboat captains, and merchants who supplied the markets, the planters who wrung their civilization out of the minds and bodies of their human property, and the true believers who threatened the Union by trying to expand the Cotton Kingdom on a global scale.

But at the center of the story Johnson tells are the enslaved people who pulled down the forests, planted the fields, picked the cotton—who labored, suffered, and resisted on the dark underside of the American dream.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674045552
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
02/28/2013
Pages:
560
Sales rank:
271,002
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Boom 1

1 Jeffersonian Visions and Nightmares in Louisiana 18

2 The Panic of 1835 46

3 The Steamboat Sublime 73

4 Limits to Capital 97

5 The Runaway's River 126

6 Dominion 151

07 "The Empire of the White Man's Will" 176

8 The Carceral Landscape 209

9 The Mississippi Valley in the Time of Cotton 244

10 Capital, Cotton, and Free Trade 280

11 Tales of Mississippian Empire 303

12 The Material Limits of "Manifest Destiny" 330

13 "The Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny" 366

14 The Ignominious Effort to Reopen the Slave Trade 395

Notes 423

Acknowledgments 509

Index 515

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River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Mybookreview More than 1 year ago
A powerful, revealing book about an industry (cotton and slavery) that foretold the development of modern industry that operates under extreme capitalistic methods. At times wondered a little off topic, and  challenging writing but worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like what?..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried and cried annnnd cried. Basically he cried for a VERY long time. And the people around him screamed...--***--ok im sorry about skipping the last res. Its just my mom would flip if she looked at my "Recently Viewed" list and saw that book on there. Peace for now Silverstream/Lilyflower