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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.
"Thoughtful, suggestive and highly readable."—New York Times Book Review In the American Revolution, Virginians were the most eloquent spokesmen for freedom and quality. George Washington led the Americans in battle against British oppression. Thomas Jefferson led them in declaring independence. Virginians drafted not only the Declaration but also the Constitution and the Bill of Rights; they were elected to the presidency of the United States under that Constitution for thirty-two of the first thirty-six years of its existence. They were all slaveholders. In the new preface Edmund S. Morgan writes: "Human relations among us still suffer from the former enslavement of a large portion of our predecessors. The freedom of the free, the growth of freedom experienced in the American Revolution depended more than we like to admit on the enslavement of more than 20 percent of us at that time. How republican freedom came to be supported, at least in large part, by its opposite, slavery, is the subject of this book. American Slavery, American Freedom is a study of the tragic contradiction at the core of America. Morgan finds the keys to this central paradox, "the marriage of slavery and freedom," in the people and the politics of the state that was both the birthplace of the Revolution and the largest slaveholding state in the country.
The men who came together to found the independent United States either held slaves or were willing to join hands with those who did. George Washington, hero of the Revolution, was the master of several hundred slaves. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, owned more than 200 men, women, and children while eloquently defending the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In this classic work, originally published in 1976, through a meticulous history of Virginia from its earliest settlement through the seventeenth century boom in tobacco, the gradual replacement of servitude with slavery, and the rise of republican ideology, historian Morgan reveals the deep and interlocking relationship between these seemingly contradictory ideas--From publisher description.
Chronicles the history of America's pursuit of liberty, tracing the struggles among freed slaves, union organizers, women rights advocates, and other groups to widen freedom's promise
Scope and method of study. The thesis of this dissertation is that northerners feared slavery, in part, because the rationales for black slavery were inherently subjective and therefore posed a threat to the liberty of all Americans, irrespective of color. Anyone could fall victim to the argument that they were "inferior," that they would be better off enslaved, that they posed a threat to society, or that their subjugation was justified by history and religion. In the course of my research, I examined hundreds of newspapers and printed sources. Given the broadness of my topic, I saw no value in confining my research to a particular state or region---although a significant portion of my material emerged from the Old Northwest, which was the heart of the early Republican Party. Most of my sources will fall within the period of rapidly escalating tensions (1854-1860); however, some arguments will reach back into the nation's first half century, a period in which many aspects of the proslavery and antislavery arguments initially took shape. Findings and conclusions. Many northerners understood that the perpetuation of slavery, and its attendant rationales, made their own liberty, indeed everyone's liberty, contingent on circumstance---namely, the ability to defend oneself against those who would seek to subjugate. Freedom would depend on an individual's economic status, the prejudices of the majority, or the caprice of an aristocracy. They therefore held that the only effective safeguard of individual liberty was universal liberty, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. As long as Americans believed that "all men" were endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, everyone's liberty would be self-evident, regardless of circumstance. Furthermore, the capriciousness of these rationales, which was confirmed by historical evidence, proved that American slavery was simply another example of "might makes right." Like other forms of tyranny, it was determined by the desire and ability of the strong to oppress the weak. As a result, even through the lens of bigotry, white northerners could look upon the slaves' condition and wonder if a similar fate could ever befall them. Black skin had been stigmatized as a badge of servitude, yet there was nothing to guarantee that white skin would always serve as an unimpeachable badge of freedom.
In American Taxation, American Slavery,Robin Einhorn shows the deep, broad, and continuous influence of slavery on America’s fear and loathing of taxes. From the earliest colonial times right up to the Civil War, slaveholding elites feared strong and democratic government as a threat to the institution of slavery. Einhorn reveals how the heated battles over taxation, the power to tax, and the distribution of tax burdens were rooted not in debates over personal liberty but rather in the rights of slaveholders to hold human beings as property. Along the way, she exposes the antidemocratic origins of the enduringly popular Jeffersonian rhetoric about weak government, showing that state governments were actually more democratic—and stronger—where most people were free. A strikingly original look at the role of slavery in the making of the United States, American Taxation, American Slavery will prove essential to anyone interested in the history of American government and politics. “For those seeking to understand complex and ever-changing systems of taxation, their relationship to local and national politics, and how the state and local systems were shaped by the ‘peculiar institution,’ this seminal and innovative investigation will provide many answers.”—Loren Schweninger, American Historical Review “[Einhorn] tells what might have been a complicated story in an engaging and accessible manner. It is her contention that slavery and the reaction to it to a great extent shaped the kind of nation we are today, because it shaped the kind of tax policies we constructed to fund the kind of government we got. . . . Required reading for anyone who ponders the impact of slavery on our lives today.”—James Srodes, Washington Times
In American Slavery, Irish Freedom, Angela F. Murphy examines the interactions among abolitionists, Irish nationalists, and American citizens as the issues of slavery and abolition complicated the first transatlantic movement for Irish independence. For Irish Americans, the call of Old World loyalties, perceived duties of American citizenship, and regional devotions collided as the slavery issue intertwined with their efforts on behalf of their homeland. By looking at the makeup and rhetoric of the American repeal associations, the pressures on Irish Americans applied by both abolitionists and American nativists, and the domestic and transatlantic political situation that helped to define the repealers' response to antislavery appeals, Murphy investigates and explains why many Irish Americans did not support abolitionism.

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