Masterless men : poor whites and slavery in the antebellum South
"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"--
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|Location||Call Number /
|Geneva Public Library||305.5097 MER (Text)
Second Floor Nonfiction