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Slave Country tells the tragic story of the expansion of slavery in the new United States. In the wake of the American Revolution, slavery gradually disappeared from the northern states and the importation of captive Africans was prohibited. Yet, at the same time, the country's slave population grew, new plantation crops appeared, and several new slave states joined the Union. Adam Rothman explores how slavery flourished in a new nation dedicated to the principle of equality among free men, and reveals the enormous consequences of U.S. expansion into the region that became the Deep South.
Rothman maps the combination of transatlantic capitalism and American nationalism that provoked a massive forced migration of slaves into Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. He tells the fascinating story of collaboration and conflict among the diverse European, African, and indigenous peoples who inhabited the Deep South during the Jeffersonian era, and who turned the region into the most dynamic slave system of the Atlantic world. Paying close attention to dramatic episodes of resistance, rebellion, and war, Rothman exposes the terrible violence that haunted the Jeffersonian vision of republican expansion across the American continent.
Slave Country combines political, economic, military, and social history in an elegant narrative that illuminates the perilous relation between freedom and slavery in the early United States. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in an honest look at America's troubled past.
Adam Rothman is Associate Professor of History, Georgetown University.
Table of Contents
1. Jefferson's Horizon
2. Civilizing the Cotton Frontier
3. Commerce and Slavery in Lower Louisiana
4. The Wartime Challenge
5. Fulfilling the Slave Country
What People are Saying About This
For too long, scholars have taken the expansion of slavery in the Old South as a given. Adam Rothman challenges us to consider how and why slavery expanded into newly acquired territory in the Old Southwest. Thoughtful, provocative, and innovative, Slave Country illuminates the rise of the Cotton Kingdom with all its tragic consequences.
Adam Rothman's marvelous Slave Country breaks the mold. Rothman is able to trace connections between imperial violence, global capitalism, and the history of slavery in the United States which have escaped the attention of legions of his forebears. The future of scholarship on American slavery starts right here. Walter Johnson, author of Soul by Soul: Life inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Adam Rothman's Slave Country addresses the critical matter of how the slave plantation regime that had been created along the Atlantic seaboard in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was transported to the interior in the half century prior to the Civil War. Important and provocative, it will become essential to any understanding of the antebellum South. Ira Berlin, author of Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slavery
Adam Rothman's, Slave Country gives dramatic conceptual and narrative life to the often forgotten years of the early republic. Most important, he offers us a powerful perspective on the making of a new slave society in the nineteenth century.
Steven Hahn, author of A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration
In this deeply-researched study, Adam Rothman provides a compelling narrative survey of the expansion of American power--and slavery--into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It is an important story that will attract widespread interest. Peter Kolchin, author of American Slavery, 1619-1877
John B. Boles
Adam Rothman significantly revises and enhances our understanding of how the slave society of the older seaboard South spread westward to reshape what had been the territories of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, creating what we know as the Old South. The result will be essential reading for scholars of the Early National Period and southern historians. John B. Boles, author of The South through Time: A History of an American Region