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Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South

Keri Leigh Merritt
Format
Book
Published
Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 2017.
Language
English
Series
Cambridge Studies on the American South
ISBN
9781107184244, 110718424X
Summary
"Analyzing land policy, labor, and legal history, Keri Leigh Merritt reveals what happens to excess workers when a capitalist system is predicated on slave labor. With the rising global demand for cotton--and thus, slaves--in the 1840s and 1850s, the need for white laborers in the American South was drastically reduced, creating a large underclass who were unemployed or underemployed. These poor whites could not compete--for jobs or living wages--with profitable slave labor. Though impoverished whites were never subjected to the daily violence and degrading humiliations of racial slavery, they did suffer tangible socio-economic consequences as a result of living in a slave society. Merritt examines how these 'masterless' men and women threatened the existing Southern hierarchy and ultimately helped push Southern slaveholders toward secession and civil war"--
Contents
  • Introduction : The second degree of slavery
  • 1. The Southern origins of the Homestead Act
  • 2. The demoralization of labor
  • 3. Masterless (and militant) white workers
  • 4. Everyday life : material realities
  • 5. Literacy, education, and disfranchisement
  • 6. Vagrancy, alcohol, and crime
  • 7. Poverty and punishment
  • 8. Race, Republicans, and vigilante violence
  • 9. Class crisis and the Civil War
  • Conclusion : A duel emancipation
  • Appendix : Numbers, percentages, and the census.
Description
x, 361 pages ; 24 cm.
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View

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    a| Masterless men : b| poor Whites and slavery in the antebellum South / c| Keri Leigh Merritt.
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    a| Introduction : The second degree of slavery -- 1. The Southern origins of the Homestead Act -- 2. The demoralization of labor -- 3. Masterless (and militant) white workers -- 4. Everyday life : material realities -- 5. Literacy, education, and disfranchisement -- 6. Vagrancy, alcohol, and crime -- 7. Poverty and punishment -- 8. Race, Republicans, and vigilante violence -- 9. Class crisis and the Civil War -- Conclusion : A duel emancipation -- Appendix : Numbers, percentages, and the census.
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    a| "Analyzing land policy, labor, and legal history, Keri Leigh Merritt reveals what happens to excess workers when a capitalist system is predicated on slave labor. With the rising global demand for cotton--and thus, slaves--in the 1840s and 1850s, the need for white laborers in the American South was drastically reduced, creating a large underclass who were unemployed or underemployed. These poor whites could not compete--for jobs or living wages--with profitable slave labor. Though impoverished whites were never subjected to the daily violence and degrading humiliations of racial slavery, they did suffer tangible socio-economic consequences as a result of living in a slave society. Merritt examines how these 'masterless' men and women threatened the existing Southern hierarchy and ultimately helped push Southern slaveholders toward secession and civil war"-- c| Provided by publisher.
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    a| Poor whites z| Southern States x| Social conditions y| 19th century.
    650
      
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    a| Poor whites z| Southern States x| Economic conditions y| 19th century.
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    a| Slavery x| Social aspects z| Southern States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Slavery x| Economic aspects z| Southern States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Labor z| Southern States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Land tenure z| Southern States x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Southern States x| Race relations x| History y| 19th century.
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    a| Cambridge studies on the American South.
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    a| F220 .A1 M37 2017 w| LC i| X031818822 l| STACKS m| ALDERMAN t| BOOK
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