Chapter 1 Origins and Consolidation
1. How was modern Western slavery (New World Slavery) different from other types of slaver that had existed in history?
2. How did the development of colonial America as an agricultural settlement lead to a demand for labor?
3. Why weren’t Native Americans used for labor?
4. How did the system of indentured servitude serve the demand for labor in colonial America?
5. Why was there a shift from indentured servants to African slaves? In other words, what advantages did African slavery have over indentured servitude?
6. What are some of the historical debates involving the early relationship between slavery and race? How was race used to justify slavery?
7. Discuss the hardships that an African had to endure as he/she journeyed from Africa to the New World (“Middle Passage”).
8. What are the statistics that the author gives in terms of how many Africans were forced to the New World?
9. Where in colonial America did slavery become entrenched? And for what reasons?
Chapter 2 The Colonial Era
1. Discuss the “task system.”
2. How did non-slaveholders view slaveholders? View slaves?
3. Discuss the difference between absentee and resident “mentality.”
4. Discuss the debate over the “Americanization” of the slaves? How does the author view the debate?
5. What four topics does the author use when he argues that slaves were creating a distinct African-America culture?
6. Describe the “three essential developments” that the author lists that marked the transition from African to African American.
7. What does the author mean when he writes “Born in violence, slavery survived by the lash”?
8. Why did some slave owners refer to the slaves as their “people”?
Chapter 3 The American Revolution
1. Explain the following quote: “Where slavery did compel attention, it was almost always over pragmatic considerations involving the utility of particular policies, not the morality of human bondage.”
2. How would a capitalist argue against slavery? How would an evangelical Christian argue against it?
3. With the outbreak of the American Revolution what was the position of the British regarding slaves.
4. Discuss the Gabriel Prosser conspiracy?
5. What happened to slavery in the North during the decades following the American Revolution?
6. Why do you think the Founding Fathers avoided using the term “slavery” in the Constitution?
7. The challenge to slavery that occurred during the American Revolution was short-lived. How does the author illustrate this point using Thomas Jefferson?
8. What two themes did the Revolution accentuate that would be central to Southern white thought in the antebellum years?
Chapter 4 Antebellum Slavery: Organization, Control, Paternalism
1. How did the production of cotton after the American Revolution ensure that slavery would continue to exist as an institution in the United States?
2. What four factors restricted both social stratification among slaves and attendant group tensions?
3. How were antebellum slave relations marked by “dualism”?
4. Define “paternalism” as it was used to describe master-slave relationships?
5. What two methods of master interference in the lives of slaves caused the most resentment? Why?
6. In addition to whippings what other forms of punishment were administered to slaves?
7. In addition to labor exploitation, what other form of exploitation were slave women susceptible? What evidence does the other give to support that it was commonplace in southern plantations?
8. What were some ways that defenders of slavery justified the breaking up of families?
9. What was the main goal of Southern legislation directed at slaves?
Chapter 5 Antebellum Slavery: Slave Life
1. How have scholars differed in their evaluation of slavery?
2. Discuss some of the ways that slaves used family relationships and religion to create a community separate from that of the master-slave relationship.
3. How does the author make a distinction between autonomy and community?
4. List the most noted “conspiracies” and rebellions that slaves organized to rebel against their masters. Why did all of them fail?
5. What were “silent sabotage” and “day-to-day resistance”? List some examples. How did silent sabotage reinforce stereotypes?
6. Discuss the two intermediate forms of resistance that occurred with great frequency and represented direct challenges to slave owners and their employees.
7. Why was resistance largely the work of individuals?
Chapter 6 The White South: Society, Economy, Ideology
1. What is Southern “distinctiveness”?
2. In what ways did Southern slave owners differ from Northern capitalists?
3. The author compares modern Saudi Arabia with Southern economic wealth. What parallels does he draw?
4. How did Northerners and Europeans view the South?
5. What economic indicators was the South lacking in compared to the North?
6. Why did non-slaveholders, who constituted an increasing majority of the white population in the era of universal white manhood suffrage, tolerate and often support ,the continued existence of slavery?
7. What kind of attacks on slavery emerged in the years leading up to the Civil War (1820s-1850s)?
8. What arguments/justifications did Souther slaveholders use to defend slavery? (there are 5)
Chapter 7 The End of Slavery
1. According to the author, why was the Civil War fought?
2. What two catalysts led to a revolutionary effort to remake the South?
3. Why didn’t the Emancipation Proclamation immediately end slavery? What significance did the Proclamation have?
4. What were “black codes”?
5. What were some of the most important Reconstruction legislation that was passed in the years following the Civil War? (there are 5)
6. What developments exacerbated the former slaves’ general disillusionment with freedom and Reconstruction?