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260CIVIL WAR HISTORY It is apparent that the debate concerning the interpretations of slavery in the Americas in terms of the cultural and institutional level and the economic, demographic, and geographic level also pertains to the historical interpretation of patterns of race relations. In this respect, the complexity of the differences in the racial patterns of Brazil and the United States is admirably maintained in Degler's historical analysis . The comparative essays of Hoetink and Jordan, referred to earlier, deal with racial patterns in societies for which nationality and cultural inheritance is not a variable and the differences in the patterns lend themselves to an explanation on the level of economics and material conditions. In dealing with the differences in racial patterns between Brazil and the United States, societies that vary on both levels, Degler reaches for an integration of the two levels in his historical explanation. These volumes not only demonstrate the value of the comparative method for our understanding of slavery and race relations in the Americas, but that the most fruitful pursuit of that method entails wiping out the traditional lines between history and the social sciences . The value of this approach was anticipated by Frank Tannenbaum some twenty-five years ago. Arnold A. Sio Centre for Multi-Racial Studies, Barbados Race Relations in Virginia and Miscegenation in the South, 1776-1860. By James Hugo Johnston. Foreword by Winthrop Jordan. (Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1970. Pp. vii, 362. $10.00.) Johnston's book is essentially his doctoral dissertation completed at the University of Chicago in 1937; as such it contains many of the flaws and virtues of theses of that era. Although the research has been carefully done, both organization and analysis are simplistic. Quotations are long and appear frequently: the book is virtually a documentary history of the two aspects of southern race relations with which the author is dealing. Because Johnston has not revised his original work to include the extensive research in race relations completed since 1937, many of his observations are out-of-date or already well-known. A professor emeritus at Virginia State College, Johnston presents no real thesis—except to point out time and again that both blacks and whites were human beings and that the two races therefore contained men and women with both good and bad qualities. Such a generalization is hardly enlightening, yet the author's calm assessment of race relations is a welcome relief from the emotionalism that permeates so much current writing on black-white relations. Though the specialist in black history will find few new concepts in Johnston's comments, almost all readers will profit from reading the documents he quotes. As Winthrop Jordan writes in the foreword, the book's chief value lies in the extensive use of quotations, for they show BOOK REVIEWS261 the "variety and complexity" of race relations in the South. Unfortunately , the generalizations Johnston draws from the documents do not do justice to either the variety or the complexities. He has divided his book into three sections. In the first two parts he attempts to divide the indivisible: one part purportedly concerns the relations of Virginia Negroes to white Virginians; the other, the relation of white Virginians to Virginia Negroes. Section three deals with miscegenation in various parts of the South. In the first section, the opening chapter, "Friendly Relations," maintains that the ability of numerous slaves to win their master's approval shows that many blacks "possessed excellent characters" (p. 17); Johnston argues (logically enough) that a slave's willingness to win manumission by faithful servitude reflected his desire for freedom. Though Johnston takes pride in the Negroes who won their freedom by such means, he also respects those "who resisted the discipline of the slave system" and thereby showed that "not all the slaves were docile, humble servants" (p. 29). In the second chapter, "Violent Relations," he writes that blacks who led insurrections "appear to have been courageous and daring spirits" who "possessed many of the qualities of leadership " (p. 41). In the third chapter, "Free Negro Relations," his most significant points are two: many free Negroes in the state achieved a higher socio-economic status...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 260-263
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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