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

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

by Sally E. HaddenSally E. Hadden


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674012349
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/30/2003
Series: Harvard Historical Studies , #138
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 164,368
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Sally E. Hadden is Associate Professor of History at Western Michigan University.

Table of Contents


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





What People are Saying About This

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.
Bernard Bailyn, author of Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, Enlarged Edition (Harvard)

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.
Winthrop D. Jordan, University of Mississippi

Customer Reviews