Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas / Edition 1

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Overview

Obscured from our view of slaves and masters in America is a critical third party: the state, with its coercive power. This book completes the grim picture of slavery by showing us the origins, the nature, and the extent of slave patrols in Virginia and the Carolinas from the late seventeenth century through the end of the Civil War. Here we see how the patrols, formed by county courts and state militias, were the closest enforcers of codes governing slaves throughout the South.

Mining a variety of sources, Sally Hadden presents the views of both patrollers and slaves as she depicts the patrols, composed of "respectable" members of society as well as poor whites, often mounted and armed with whips and guns, exerting a brutal and archaic brand of racial control inextricably linked to post-Civil War vigilantism and the Ku Klux Klan. City councils also used patrollers before the war, and police forces afterward, to impose their version of race relations across the South, making the entire region, not just plantations, an armed camp where slave workers were controlled through terror and brutality.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist

Hadden offers insights into a part of U.S. history that has been little studied, despite the fact that it is an integral fact of that history...[Slave] patrols became part of the violent force used to react to slave revolts, the threat of such revolts, and runaways. Despite the bravado attached to their image, slave patrols were "an unequivocal manifestation of white fear."
— Vanessa Bush

Research in Review
Slave Patrols studies the roots, rules, procedures, progress, disintegration and legacy of Southern slave patrols in Virginia and the Carolinas in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is perhaps the most all-encompassing view yet of a long overlooked chapter of Southern history. The paucity of research done on slave patrols is seemingly out of proportion to the large role they played in the perpetuation of the slavery system in the South.
New York Voice
Sally Hadden...has written the first definitive book on slave patrols...The book studies the roots, rules, procedures, progress, disintegration and legacy of Southern slave patrols during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the most all-encompassing view of a long overlooked chapter of Southern history.
Bernard Bailyn
No one has examined slave patrols in such detail, unearthed the whole world of racial control they represented, and linked them to post-Civil War vigilantes and the KKK. The details on the recruitment of the patrols, their procedures and effect, and their shifting roles in different circumstances of public safety and disturbance are very well done. This is a real contribution to the history of race relations in the United States, and helps explain developments long after the patrols had died out.
Winthrop D. Jordan
The book is impressively researched and carefully written. Slave patrols did in fact constitute an important aspect of the history of slavery in the United States, but this is the first time that slave patrols have received undivided attention as to their origins and actual implementation.
Booklist - Vanessa Bush
Hadden offers insights into a part of U.S. history that has been little studied, despite the fact that it is an integral fact of that history...[Slave] patrols became part of the violent force used to react to slave revolts, the threat of such revolts, and runaways. Despite the bravado attached to their image, slave patrols were "an unequivocal manifestation of white fear."
Library Journal
Using a variety of sources, Hadden (history, Florida State Univ.) thoroughly analyzes the public regulation of slavery in Virginia and the Carolinas, focusing on slave patrols between 1700 and 1865. Adding new details, the author's in-depth analysis provides an understanding of the daily enforcement of slave laws and an awareness of how Southern police forces were influenced by slavery and white dominance. The book is thematically organized, with chapters addressing topics that range from the formation of the original patrol groups, responses during crises like slave revolts, and the impact of the Civil War on patrols. She concludes that after the Civil War, the oppressive and brutal roles of the slave patrols were absorbed by other Southern institutions, such as police forces and the Ku Klux Klan. Hadden employs lots of primary sources and detailed notes on each chapter in this excellent, long-needed synthesis to supplement works like H.M. Henry's The Police Control of the Slave in South Carolina (1914. o.p.). This is essential reading, with much to offer all scholars interested in American history, slavery, and race relations. Edward G. McCormack, Univ. of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Lib. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674012349
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Series: Harvard Historical Studies Series , #138
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 331,882
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally E. Hadden is Associate Professor of History and Assisant Professor of Law at Florida State University.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Of Perpetrators and Police

1. Colonial Beginnings and Experiments

2. Supervising Patrollers in Town and Country

3. Patrol Personnel:"They Jes' Like Policemen, Only Worser"

4. In Times of Tranquility: Everyday Slave Patrols

5. In Times of Crisis: Patrols during Rebellions and Wars

6. Patrollers No More: The Civil War Era

Epilogue: Black Freedom, White Violence: Patrols, Police, and the Klan

Abbreviations

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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