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American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (1975)

af Edmund S. Morgan

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9071017,325 (4.12)8
"If it is possible to understand the American paradox, the marriage of slavery and freedom, Virginia is surely the place to begin," writes Edmund S. Morgan in American Slavery, American Freedom, a study of the tragic contradiction at the core of America. Morgan finds the key to this central paradox in the people and politics of the state that was both the birthplace of the revolution and the largest slaveholding state in the country. With a new introduction. Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize and the Albert J. Beveridge Award.… (mere)
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This book doesn't deal so much with American slavery as it does with slavery in Virginia in colonial times, and the gist of the book seems to have been that none of the white Englishmen who arrived on our shores to set up colonies seemed to want to work very hard. They seem to have spent most of their time looking for others to do their hard labor for them - first with indentured servants, then with Native Americans, and finally with Africans - the latter decided on after observing the success of slavery on the Caribbean islands. Not a very enlightening book. ( )
  etxgardener | Nov 14, 2020 |
Virginia was the largest slave holding colony. Their lead on slavery and independence is what caused this democracy to embrace slavery. This book seeks to show how that came about. Starting with the failure of Roanoke through Jefferson there is a tension the author gets to the roots of. Well written and with notes where they should be, this is very readable ( )
  Richj | May 7, 2019 |
This book is not so much a history of slavery as it is an economic history of Colonial Virginia. In a sense, understanding the conditions of Colonial Virginia is important to understanding how this English community came to adopt chattel slavery based on race. But reading the book the topics vary far and wide from the concepts of slavery and their contrasts with the American ideals of freedom. In short, it's an interesting book albeit not necessarily the one I expected. ( )
  Othemts | Nov 21, 2016 |
I was looking forward to this book because the concept seemed pretty interesting. The relationship between the American founding principle of freedom and the harsh contradiction of slavery has always fascinated me. I thought this book would give me some insight into the subject, but I'm sorry to say that the book had little to do with slavery or freedom, at least as far as I could tell. While it was a nice chronicle of the early struggles of the Virginian settlers and the tobacco industry there, it didn't mention slavery or the value of freedom of the settlers that often. It would have been better titled "Jamestown: 1550 to 1700" ( )
  mdtwilighter | Aug 21, 2011 |
This powerful book leads the reader through the degrading time of slavery and the efforts required to end it. I would recommend this book to anyone who would desire an insight into the mind of the slave owner and the courage of those who would destroy that horrible mark on America's history. ( )
  LarrySouders | Feb 10, 2011 |
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"If it is possible to understand the American paradox, the marriage of slavery and freedom, Virginia is surely the place to begin," writes Edmund S. Morgan in American Slavery, American Freedom, a study of the tragic contradiction at the core of America. Morgan finds the key to this central paradox in the people and politics of the state that was both the birthplace of the revolution and the largest slaveholding state in the country. With a new introduction. Winner of the Francis Parkman Prize and the Albert J. Beveridge Award.

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