The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812

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St. Martin's Press, Jan 22, 2013 - History - 272 pages
7 Reviews
Images of American slavery conjure up cotton plantations and African American slaves locked in bondage until the Civil War. Yet early on in the nineteenth century the state of slavery was very different, and the political vicissitudes of the young nation offered diverse possibilities to slaves. In the century's first two decades, the nation waged war against Britain, Spain, and various Indian tribes. Slaves played a role in the military operations, and the different sides viewed them as a potential source of manpower. While surprising numbers did assist the Americans, the wars created opportunities for slaves to find freedom among the Redcoats, the Spaniards, or the Indians. Author Gene Smith draws on a decade of original research and his curatorial work at the Fort Worth Museum in this fascinating and original narrative history. The way the young nation responded sealed the fate of slaves for the next half century until the Civil War. This drama sheds light on an extraordinary yet little known chapter in the dark saga of American history.

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User Review  - schwager - LibraryThing

This is an important work of the history of slavery and the War of 1812. I think Smith did an excellent job of explaining how fear of slave rebellions during this period had a longstanding impact on ... Read full review

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User Review  - hadden - LibraryThing

An interesting examinination of the issue of slavery during the early years of the republic. Written in an interesting and informal style, the book is composed of a number of anecdotes and biographies ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

Gene Allen Smith is a professor of History and the director of the Center for Texas Studies at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas. The author of numerous books, he is also the curator of History at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Smith has received research awards from TCU and Montana State University-Billings, as well as fellowships from the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Virginia Historical Society, the US Department of the Navy, the US Military Academy at West Point, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

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