Causes of the American Civil War – 1
Image of slaves on Smith's Plantation

To celebrate the opening of Wig-Wags.com, I’m republishing a  series of posts on the much debated topic of the causes of the American Civil war. Let today’s post serve as its introduction. I’ll attempt in the series to address two questions. The first is whether economic interests, political agitation, and the cultural differences between North […]

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On Slavery – 8: The "Peculiar Institution"

I believe the use of the phrase “peculiar institution” was intended to convey the highly contradictory nature of the practice of human ownership in a country based on equality and freedom. Regardless of what perspective one might have of slavery in America, it is difficult to argue against the fact that these contradictions existed. Historian […]

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On Slavery – 5 Escaping

Historian Kenneth Stampp makes an interesting point about differing locations of slaves determining the destination of escapees. Those living near Indians might, for example, seek refuge with local tribes, as was the case in Florida. “…Florida slaves escaped to the Seminole Indians, aided them in their wars against the whites, and accompanied them when they […]

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On Slavery – 1

I’m reading Kenneth M. Stampp’s fascinating book, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South for class. A focus this week and next is, among other things, the ways in which slave owners controlled their bondsmen. The methods varied considerably as did the ethical sensibilities of the masters and overseers. Stampp suggests that behavioral control […]

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