Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Apr 1, 2006 - History - 464 pages
3 Reviews
David Brion Davis has long been recognized as the leading authority on slavery in the Western World. His books have won every major history award--including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award--and he has been universally praised for his prodigious research, his brilliant analytical skill, and his rich and powerful prose. Now, in Inhuman Bondage, Davis sums up a lifetime of insight in what Stanley L. Engerman calls "a monumental and magisterial book, the essential work on New World slavery for several decades to come." Davis begins with the dramatic Amistad case, which vividly highlights the international character of the Atlantic slave trade and the roles of the American judiciary, the presidency, the media, and of both black and white abolitionists. The heart of the book looks at slavery in the American South, describing black slaveholding planters, the rise of the Cotton Kingdom, the daily life of ordinary slaves, the highly destructive internal, long-distance slave trade, the sexual exploitation of slaves, the emergence of an African-American culture, and much more. But though centered on the United States, the book offers a global perspective spanning four continents. It is the only study of American slavery that reaches back to ancient foundations (discussing the classical and biblical justifications for chattel bondage) and also traces the long evolution of anti-black racism (as in the writings of David Hume and Immanuel Kant, among many others). Equally important, it combines the subjects of slavery and abolitionism as very few books do, and it illuminates the meaning of nineteenth-century slave conspiracies and revolts, with a detailed comparison with 3 major revolts in the British Caribbean. It connects the actual life of slaves with the crucial place of slavery in American politics and stresses that slavery was integral to America's success as a nation--not a marginal enterprise. A definitive history by a writer deeply immersed in the subject, Inhuman Bondage offers a compelling narrative that links together the profits of slavery, the pain of the enslaved, and the legacy of racism. It is the ultimate portrait of the dark side of the American dream. Yet it offers an inspiring example as well--the story of how abolitionists, barely a fringe group in the 1770s, successfully fought, in the space of a hundred years, to defeat one of human history's greatest evils.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rivkat - LibraryThing

A history of slavery in the Western hemisphere, from the African and Mediterranean antecedents, including Biblical arguments, to abolition, including the Haitian revolution (the only successful slave ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - billiecat - LibraryThing

An important book, even a great one. Anyone with any interest in this subject (and that should include anyone who lives in the United States) should read this book. This book has as its kernel a ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
1 The Amistad Test of Law and Justice
12
2 The Ancient Foundations of Modern Slavery
27
3 The Origins of Antiblack Racism in the New World
48
4 How Africans Became Integral to New World History
77
Brazil and the Caribbean
103
6 Slavery in Colonial North America
124
7 The Problem of Slavery in the American Revolution
141
From Slaveholder Treatment and the Nature of Labor to Slave Culture Sex and Religion and Free Blacks
193
11 Some NineteenthCentury Slave Conspiracies and Revolts
205
12 Explanations of British Abolitionism
231
13 Abolitionism in America
250
14 The Politics of Slavery in the United States
268
15 The Civil War and Slave Emancipation
297
Epilogue
323
Notes
333

8 The Impact of the French and Haitian Revolutions
157
Illustrations
175
From Contradiction to Defense
175
Acknowledgments
415
Index
419
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

David Brion Davis is Sterling Professor of History Emeritus at Yale University and Director Emeritus of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, also at Yale. Best known for his highly acclaimed books The Problem of Slavery in Western Culture, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823, Slavery and Human Progress, and most recently, Challenging the Boundaries of Slavery, Davis has won a Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award for History and Biography, the Bancroft Prize, the Albert J. Beveridge Award, and the Bruce Catton Prize for Lifetime Achievement, among other honors.

Bibliographic information