Among regional landed elites in the Western World of the mid-1800s, the two most formidable were the owners of slave plantations in the Southern states of the U.S. and the proprietors of manorial estates in the provinces of Prussian East Elbia. Masters and Lords surveys the economic, social, and political histories of the two classes from the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries respectively, and pays particular attention to Southern planters during the secession crisis of 1860-61 and to Junkers during the revolutionary crisis of 1848-49. In the process, Bowman grapples with such ambiguous and contentious concepts as capitalism, conservatism, and paternalism. Despite very different labor systems, antebellum planters and contemporaneous Junkers alike presided over landed estates that functioned as both autocratic political communities and agricultural enterprises exporting valuable commodities to industrializing England. This book also highlights important geographic, demographic, and political contrasts between the American South and East Elbia as regional societies. Bowman concludes that the crucial distinction between the two landed elites is to be found in the Junkers' militarist and estatist monarchism versus the planters' libertarian but racist republicanism. A compelling work in comparative history, Masters and Lords will appeal to all those interested in Southern history, European history, agricultural history, and slavery.