Ties That Bound

Author: Marie Jenkins Schwartz
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226460727
Release Date: 2017-04-06
Genre: History

Behind every great man stands a great woman. And behind that great woman stands a slave. Or so it was in the households of the Founding Fathers from Virginia, where slaves worked and suffered throughout the domestic environments of the era, from Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Montpelier to the nation’s capital. American icons like Martha Washington, Martha Jefferson, and Dolley Madison were all slaveholders. And as Marie Jenkins Schwartz uncovers in Ties That Bound, these women, as the day-to-day managers of their households, dealt with the realities of a slaveholding culture directly and continually, even in the most intimate of spaces. Unlike other histories that treat the stories of the First Ladies’ slaves as separate from the lives of their mistresses, Ties That Bound closely examines the relationships that developed between the First Ladies and their slaves. For elite women and their families, slaves were more than an agricultural workforce; slavery was an entire domestic way of life that reflected and reinforced their status. In many cases slaves were more constant companions to the white women of the household than were their husbands and sons, who often traveled or were at war. By looking closely at the complicated intimacy these women shared, Schwartz is able to reveal how they negotiated their roles, illuminating much about the lives of slaves themselves, as well as class, race, and gender in early America. By detailing the prevalence and prominence of slaves in the daily lives of women who helped shape the country, Schwartz makes it clear that it is impossible to honestly tell the stories of these women while ignoring their slaves. She asks us to consider anew the embedded power of slavery in the very earliest conception of American politics, society, and everyday domestic routines.

Ties That Bound

Author: Marie Jenkins Schwartz
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226147550
Release Date: 2017-04-06
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Washington. The widow Washington ; Martha Dandridge ; Married lady ; Mistress of Mount Vernon ; Revolutionary war ; First lady ; Slaves in the president's house ; Home again -- Jefferson. Martha Wayles ; Mistress of Monticello I ; War in Virginia ; Birth and death at Monticello ; Patsy Jefferson and Sally Hemings ; First lady ; Mistress of Monticello II ; The Hemingses ; Death of Thomas Jefferson -- Madison. Dolley Payne ; Mrs. Madison ; First lady ; Mistress of Montpelier ; Decline of Montpelier ; The widow Madison ; Sale of Montpelier ; In Washington ; Death of Dolley Madison -- Epilogue inside and outside

Ties That Bind

Author: Tiya Miles
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520961029
Release Date: 2015-06-23
Genre: History

This beautifully written book, now in its second edition, tells the haunting saga of a quintessentially American family. In the late 1790s, Shoe Boots, a famed Cherokee warrior and successful farmer, acquired an African slave named Doll. Over the next thirty years, Shoe Boots and Doll lived together as master and slave and also as lifelong partners who, with their children and grandchildren, experienced key events in American history—including slavery, the Creek War, the founding of the Cherokee Nation and subsequent removal of Native Americans along the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War. This is the gripping story of their lives, in slavery and in freedom. Meticulously crafted from historical and literary sources, Ties That Bind vividly portrays the members of the Shoeboots family. Doll emerges as an especially poignant character, whose life is mostly known through the records of things done to her—her purchase, her marriage, the loss of her children—but also through her moving petition to the federal government for the pension owed to her as Shoe Boots's widow. A sensitive rendition of the hard realities of black slavery within Native American nations, the book provides the fullest picture we have of the myriad complexities, ironies, and tensions among African Americans, Native Americans, and whites in the first half of the nineteenth century. Updated with a new preface and an appendix of key primary sources, this remains an essential book for students of Native American history, African American history, and the history of race and ethnicity in the United States.

Born in Bondage

Author: Marie Jenkins Schwartz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674043340
Release Date: 2009-06-01
Genre: History

Each time a child was born in bondage, the system of slavery began anew. Although raised by their parents or by surrogates in the slave community, children were ultimately subject to the rule of their owners. Following the life cycle of a child from birth through youth to young adulthood, Marie Jenkins Schwartz explores the daunting world of slave children, a world governed by the dual authority of parent and owner, each with conflicting agendas. Despite the constant threats of separation and the necessity of submission to the slaveowner, slave families managed to pass on essential lessons about enduring bondage with human dignity. Schwartz counters the commonly held vision of the paternalistic slaveholder who determines the life and welfare of his passive chattel, showing instead how slaves struggled to give their children a sense of self and belonging that denied the owner complete control. "Born in Bondage" gives us an unsurpassed look at what it meant to grow up as a slave in the antebellum South. Schwartz recreates the experiences of these bound but resilient young people as they learned to negotiate between acts of submission and selfhood, between the worlds of commodity and community.

The Great Stain Witnessing American Slavery

Author: Noel Rae
Publisher: The Overlook Press
ISBN: 9781468315141
Release Date: 2018-02-20
Genre: History

Comprising personal accounts from an intensely consequential chapter in our country’s history, The Great Stain tells the story of American slavery from its origins in Africa to its abolition with the end of the Civil War. In this “essential” (Kirkus) new work, Noel Rae integrates firsthand accounts into a narrative history that brings the reader face to face with slavery’s everyday reality, expertly weaving together narratives that span hundreds of years. From the travel journals of sixteenth-century Spanish settlers who offered religious instruction and “protection” in exchange for farm labor, to the diaries of poetess Phillis Wheatley and Reverend Cotton Mather, to Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s book about traveling through the “cotton states,” to an 1880 speech given by Frederick Douglass, Rae provides a comprehensive accounting of parties from throughout the antebellum history of the nation. Rae also draws on a wide variety of accounts from less distinguished individuals: a surgeon describes the brutal treatment and squalid conditions onboard a slave ship as he made his daily rounds to collect the dead; an Englishman visiting Haiti observes violent uprisings as, separated from the population on the mainland, slaves were able to overpower their captors. Most significant are the texts from and interviews with former slaves themselves, ranging from the famous Solomon Northup to the virtually unknown Mary Reynolds, who was sold away from her mother and subsequently bought back not for sentiment or kindness, but because after losing her daughter, the family’s wet nurse began to waste away from grief. Surpassing a dispassionate listing of atrocities, Rae places the reader within the era. Drawing on thousands of original sources, The Great Stain tells of repression and resistance in a society based on the exploitation of the cheapest labor and fallacies of racial superiority. Meticulously researched, this is a work of history that is profoundly relevant to our world today.

New England Bound Slavery and Colonization in Early America

Author: Wendy Warren
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9781631492150
Release Date: 2016-06-07
Genre: History

A New York Times Editor’s Choice "This book is an original achievement, the kind of history that chastens our historical memory as it makes us wiser." —David W. Blight Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Widely hailed as a “powerfully written” history about America’s beginnings (Annette Gordon-Reed), New England Bound fundamentally changes the story of America’s seventeenth-century origins. Building on the works of giants like Bernard Bailyn and Edmund S. Morgan, Wendy Warren has not only “mastered that scholarship” but has now rendered it in “an original way, and deepened the story” (New York Times Book Review). While earlier histories of slavery largely confine themselves to the South, Warren’s “panoptical exploration” (Christian Science Monitor) links the growth of the northern colonies to the slave trade and examines the complicity of New England’s leading families, demonstrating how the region’s economy derived its vitality from the slave trading ships coursing through its ports. And even while New England Bound explains the way in which the Atlantic slave trade drove the colonization of New England, it also brings to light, in many cases for the first time ever, the lives of the thousands of reluctant Indian and African slaves who found themselves forced into the project of building that city on a hill. We encounter enslaved Africans working side jobs as con artists, enslaved Indians who protested their banishment to sugar islands, enslaved Africans who set fire to their owners’ homes and goods, and enslaved Africans who saved their owners’ lives. In Warren’s meticulous, compelling, and hard-won recovery of such forgotten lives, the true variety of chattel slavery in the Americas comes to light, and New England Bound becomes the new standard for understanding colonial America.

Never Caught

Author: Erica Armstrong Dunbar
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781501126413
Release Date: 2018-01-09
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

"A revelatory account of the actions taken by the first president to retain his slaves in spite of Northern laws. Profiles one of the slaves, Ona Judge, describing the intense manhunt that ensued when she ran away."--NoveList.

Birthing a Slave

Author: Marie Jenkins Schwartz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674022025
Release Date: 2006
Genre: History

The deprivations and cruelty of slavery have overshadowed our understanding of the institution's most human dimension: birth. We often don't realize that after the United States stopped importing slaves in 1808, births were more important than ever; slavery and the southern way of life could continue only through babies born in bondage. In the antebellum South, slaveholders' interest in slave women was matched by physicians struggling to assert their own professional authority over childbirth, and the two began to work together to increase the number of infants born in the slave quarter. In unprecedented ways, doctors tried to manage the health of enslaved women from puberty through the reproductive years, attempting to foster pregnancy, cure infertility, and resolve gynecological problems, including cancer. Black women, however, proved an unruly force, distrustful of both the slaveholders and their doctors. With their own healing traditions, emphasizing the power of roots and herbs and the critical roles of family and community, enslaved women struggled to take charge of their own health in a system that did not respect their social circumstances, customs, or values. Birthing a Slave depicts the competing approaches to reproductive health that evolved on plantations, as both black women and white men sought to enhance the health of enslaved mothers--in very different ways and for entirely different reasons. Birthing a Slave is the first book to focus exclusively on the health care of enslaved women, and it argues convincingly for the critical role of reproductive medicine in the slave system of antebellum America.

Most Blessed of the Patriarchs Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination

Author: Annette Gordon-Reed
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9781631490781
Release Date: 2016-04-13
Genre: History

A groundbreaking work of history that explicates Thomas Jefferson’s vision of himself, the American Revolution, Christianity, slavery, and race. Thomas Jefferson is often portrayed as a hopelessly enigmatic figure—a riddle—a man so riven with contradictions that he is almost impossible to know. Lauded as the most articulate voice of American freedom and equality, even as he held people—including his own family—in bondage, Jefferson is variably described as a hypocrite, an atheist, or a simple-minded proponent of limited government who expected all Americans to be farmers forever. Now, Annette Gordon-Reed teams up with America's leading Jefferson scholar, Peter S. Onuf, to present an absorbing and revealing character study that dispels the many clichés that have accrued over the years about our third president. Challenging the widely prevalent belief that Jefferson remains so opaque as to be unknowable, the authors—through their careful analysis, painstaking research, and vivid prose—create a portrait of Jefferson, as he might have painted himself, one "comprised of equal parts sun and shadow" (Jane Kamensky). Tracing Jefferson's philosophical development from youth to old age, the authors explore what they call the "empire" of Jefferson's imagination—an expansive state of mind born of his origins in a slave society, his intellectual influences, and the vaulting ambition that propelled him into public life as a modern avatar of the Enlightenment who, at the same time, likened himself to a figure of old—"the most blessed of the patriarchs." Indeed, Jefferson saw himself as a "patriarch," not just to his country and mountain-like home at Monticello but also to his family, the white half that he loved so publicly, as well as to the black side that he claimed to love, a contradiction of extraordinary historical magnitude. Divided into three sections, "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" reveals a striking personal dimension to his life. Part I, "Patriarch," explores Jeffersons's origins in Virgina; Part II, " 'Traveller,' " covers his five-year sojourn to Paris; and Part III, "Enthusiast," delves insightfully into the Virginian's views on Christianity, slavery, and race. We see not just his ideas and vision of America but come to know him in an almost familial way, such as through the importance of music in his life. "Most Blessed of the Patriarchs" fundamentally challenges much of what we’ve come to accept about Jefferson, neither hypocrite nor saint, atheist nor fundamentalist. Gordon-Reed and Onuf, through a close reading of Jefferson’s own words, reintroduce us all to our most influential founding father: a man more gifted than most, but complicated in just the ways we all are.

Gateway to Freedom The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

Author: Eric Foner
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393244380
Release Date: 2015-01-19
Genre: History

The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America's history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga of American slavery and freedom. A deeply entrenched institution, slavery lived on legally and commercially even in the northern states that had abolished it after the American Revolution. Slaves could be found in the streets of New York well after abolition, traveling with owners doing business with the city's major banks, merchants, and manufacturers. New York was also home to the North’s largest free black community, making it a magnet for fugitive slaves seeking refuge. Slave catchers and gangs of kidnappers roamed the city, seizing free blacks, often children, and sending them south to slavery. To protect fugitives and fight kidnappings, the city's free blacks worked with white abolitionists to organize the New York Vigilance Committee in 1835. In the 1840s vigilance committees proliferated throughout the North and began collaborating to dispatch fugitive slaves from the upper South, Washington, and Baltimore, through Philadelphia and New York, to Albany, Syracuse, and Canada. These networks of antislavery resistance, centered on New York City, became known as the underground railroad. Forced to operate in secrecy by hostile laws, courts, and politicians, the city’s underground-railroad agents helped more than 3,000 fugitive slaves reach freedom between 1830 and 1860. Until now, their stories have remained largely unknown, their significance little understood. Building on fresh evidence—including a detailed record of slave escapes secretly kept by Sydney Howard Gay, one of the key organizers in New York—Foner elevates the underground railroad from folklore to sweeping history. The story is inspiring—full of memorable characters making their first appearance on the historical stage—and significant—the controversy over fugitive slaves inflamed the sectional crisis of the 1850s. It eventually took a civil war to destroy American slavery, but here at last is the story of the courageous effort to fight slavery by "practical abolition," person by person, family by family.

Abigail Adams

Author: Woody Holton
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451607369
Release Date: 2010-06-01
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Winner of the Bancroft Prize The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice American Heritage, Best of 2009 In this vivid new biography of Abigail Adams, the most illustrious woman of the founding era, Bancroft Award–winning historian Woody Holton offers a sweeping reinterpretation of Adams’s life story and of women’s roles in the creation of the republic. Using previously overlooked documents from numerous archives, Abigail Adams shows that the wife of the second president of the United States was far more charismatic and influential than historians have realized. One of the finest writers of her age, Adams passionately campaigned for women’s education, denounced sex discrimination, and matched wits not only with her brilliant husband, John, but with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. When male Patriots ignored her famous appeal to "Remember the Ladies," she accomplished her own personal declaration of independence: Defying centuries of legislation that assigned married women’s property to their husbands, she amassed a fortune in her own name. Adams’s life story encapsulates the history of the founding era, for she defined herself in relation to the people she loved or hated (she was never neutral), a cast of characters that included her mother and sisters; Benjamin Franklin and James Lovell, her husband’s bawdy congressional colleagues; Phoebe Abdee, her father’s former slave; her financially naïve husband; and her son John Quincy. At once epic and intimate, Abigail Adams, sheds light on a complicated, fascinating woman, one of the most beloved figures of American history.

John Adams s Republic

Author: Richard Alan Ryerson
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 9781421419220
Release Date: 2016-09-11
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

Scholars have examined John Adams’s writings and beliefs for generations, but no one has brought such impressive credentials to the task as Richard Alan Ryerson in John Adams’s Republic. The editor-in-chief of the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Adams Papers project for nearly two decades, Ryerson offers readers of this magisterial book a fresh, firmly grounded account of Adams’s political thought and its development. Of all the founding fathers, Ryerson argues, John Adams may have worried the most about the problem of social jealousy and political conflict in the new republic. Ryerson explains how these concerns, coupled with Adams’s concept of executive authority and his fear of aristocracy, deeply influenced his political mindset. He weaves together a close analysis of Adams’s public writings, a comprehensive chronological narrative beginning in the 1760s, and an exploration of the second president’s private diary, manuscript autobiography, and personal and family letters, revealing Adams’s most intimate political thoughts across six decades. How, Adams asked, could a self-governing country counter the natural power and influence of wealthy elites and their friends in government? Ryerson argues that he came to believe a strong executive could hold at bay the aristocratic forces that posed the most serious dangers to a republican society. The first study ever published to closely examine all of Adams’s political writings, from his youth to his long retirement, John Adams’s Republic should appeal to everyone who seeks to know more about America’s first major political theorist.

Mother of Freedom

Author: Ben Z. Rose
Publisher: TreeLine Press
ISBN: 0978912314
Release Date: 2009-01-01
Genre: African American women


An Imperfect God

Author: Henry Wiencek
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9781466856592
Release Date: 2013-11-12
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

An Imperfect God is a major new biography of Washington, and the first to explore his engagement with American slavery When George Washington wrote his will, he made the startling decision to set his slaves free; earlier he had said that holding slaves was his "only unavoidable subject of regret." In this groundbreaking work, Henry Wiencek explores the founding father's engagement with slavery at every stage of his life--as a Virginia planter, soldier, politician, president and statesman. Washington was born and raised among blacks and mixed-race people; he and his wife had blood ties to the slave community. Yet as a young man he bought and sold slaves without scruple, even raffled off children to collect debts (an incident ignored by earlier biographers). Then, on the Revolutionary battlefields where he commanded both black and white troops, Washington's attitudes began to change. He and the other framers enshrined slavery in the Constitution, but, Wiencek shows, even before he became president Washington had begun to see the system's evil. Wiencek's revelatory narrative, based on a meticulous examination of private papers, court records, and the voluminous Washington archives, documents for the first time the moral transformation culminating in Washington's determination to emancipate his slaves. He acted too late to keep the new republic from perpetuating slavery, but his repentance was genuine. And it was perhaps related to the possibility--as the oral history of Mount Vernon's slave descendants has long asserted--that a slave named West Ford was the son of George and a woman named Venus; Wiencek has new evidence that this could indeed have been true. George Washington's heroic stature as Father of Our Country is not diminished in this superb, nuanced portrait: now we see Washington in full as a man of his time and ahead of his time.

A Slave in the White House

Author: Elizabeth Dowling Taylor
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781137000187
Release Date: 2012-01-03
Genre: History

Paul Jennings was born into slavery on the plantation of James and Dolley Madison in Virginia, later becoming part of the Madison household staff at the White House. Once finally emancipated by Senator Daniel Webster later in life, he would give an aged and impoverished Dolley Madison, his former owner, money from his own pocket, write the first White House memoir, and see his sons fight with the Union Army in the Civil War. He died a free man in northwest Washington at 75. Based on correspondence, legal documents, and journal entries rarely seen before, this amazing portrait of the times reveals the mores and attitudes toward slavery of the nineteenth century, and sheds new light on famous characters such as James Madison, who believed the white and black populations could not coexist as equals; French General Lafayette who was appalled by this idea; Dolley Madison, who ruthlessly sold Paul after her husband's death; and many other since forgotten slaves, abolitionists, and civil right activists.