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Slave Laws in Virginia by Phillip Schwarz

The five essays in Slave Laws in Virginia explore two centuries of the ever-changing relationship between a major slave society and the laws that guided it. The topics covered are diverse, including the African judicial background of African American slaves, Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with the laws of slavery, the capital punishment of slaves, nineteenth-century penal transportation of slaves from Virginia as related to the interstate slave trade and the changing market for slaves, and Virginia’s experience with its own fugitive slave laws. Through the history of one large extended family of ex-slaves, Philip J. Schwarz’s conclusion examines how the law shaped the interaction between former slaves and masters after emancipation.

Instead of relying on a static view of these two centuries, the author focuses on the diverse and changing ways that lawmakers and law enforcers responded to slaves’ behavior and to whites’ perceptions of and assumptions about that behavior.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820335162
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 05/15/2010
Series: Studies in the Legal History of the South Series
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

PHILIP J. SCHWARZ is a professor of history emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the author of numerous books including Migrants against Slavery: Virginians and the Nation and Twice Condemned: Slaves and the Criminal Laws of Virginia, 1705–1865.

TIMOTHY S. HUEBNER, an associate professor of history at Rhodes College, is author of The Taney Court: Justices, Rulings, and Legacy and coeditor, with Kermit L. Hall, of Major Problems in American Constitutional History, second edition. He and Paul Finkelman edit the series Studies in the Legal History of the South.

Table of Contents

List of Tables xi
Preface xiii
Introduction 1
1. "Lawlessness" 13
2. Thomas Jefferson and the Law of Slavery 35
3. Slaves and Capital Punishment in Virginia 63
4. The Transportation of Slaves from Virginia, 1800-1865 97
5. "The Full and Perfect Enforcement of Our Rights": Fugitive Slaves and the Laws of Virginia 120
Conclusion 150
Appendix: Selected Works by Observers and Ethnographers Concerning West African Precolonial Legal Systems 157
Notes 163
Index 243

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