In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

book reviews179 Americans. Glickstein writes, "Some readers may regard the following discussion of this body of mid-nineteenth [century] commentary as an exercise in over-analysis ..." (199). He accurately predicted the reaction of this reader. Most historians will find Glickstein's central interpretation to be unsatisfactory . Any thesis arguing that proslavery and free labor ideologies were fundamentally equivalent is certainly going to run a gauntlet of criticism— and probably not survive the ordeal. To argue for the equivalency of free labor and proslavery ideologies, for example, means that proslavery was as much a marketplace, capitalist ideology as free labor—a finding likely to be unwelcome in some quarters. There are two problems here. First, Glickstein defines the free labor ideology entirely as self-ownership of labor in a capitalist market. This reading is too restrictive and oblivious of anti-aristocratic social and political contexts. Second, the means Glickstein uses to demonstrate the equivalency of free labor and proslavery ideologies is open to massive reservations. Glickstein offers two standards to evaluate the extent of equality and hierarchy in antebellum thought: one is absolute equality of all workers in all respects, and the other is hierarchy and inequality. There is no middle ground. By these standards both proslavery and free labor appear hierarchical and inegalitarian, but the standards employed have masked real differences. Contemporaries at least did not have any problem seeing the seismic contrasts between free labor and proslavery ideologies. Glickstein's work is useful and informative, and his interpretations are provocative and thoughtful, but his conclusions on the perceptions of mental and manual labor in the antebellum decades will not be deemed definitive. James L. Huston Oklahoma State University Born a Child ofFreedom Yet a Slave: Mechanisms of Control and Strategies of Resistance in Antebellum South Carolina. By Norrece T. Jones, Jr. (Hanover and London: University Press of New England, 1990. Pp. x, 331. $35.00.) This gracefully written, well-documented study of slave controls and resistance in antebellum South Carolina pursues two important goals. First, despite the plethora of books on South Carolina slavery, the author intends to write the first full study of methods of control. The second purpose of the book is a critique of Eugene Genovese's major paradigm of paternalism. At every step of his tightly focused narrative, Norrece Jones compares his findings with Genovese's. The result is a thorough Afrocentric examination that challenges major theoretical perceptions of slavery. Jones divides this book into discrete, thematic chapters. Chapter one examines closely the importance of the legal apparatus of slavery on whites and blacks. If paternalist historians accept the effectiveness of slave codes, Jones ?8?CIVIL WAR HISTORY argues that this view never inculcated docility into the "mind" of slaves. The second chapter examines the powerful threat of sale. Slaves, he argues, became very tied to land and family, creating a paradox of control and the mitigating effects of marriage and customary use of property. The next chapter describes the innumerable cruelties masters used to intimidate slaves. Exemplary punishments failed. Autonomous slave behavior included nightly drinking and gambling. Disputing Genovese, Jones contends that servant appeals for clemency did not strengthen paternalism among slaves but were pretenses used to avoid pain. In chapter four Jones examines techniques of division to rule. Fights among slaves, collaborators and informants, black foremen and drivers, and a desire for fashionable clothes were means masters employed to instill an avid individualism among bondspeople. While much of this undergirds Genovese's vision of paternalism, Jones notes a lack of class animosity between domestics and field workers and finds a fairly unified front among slaves. The chapter on slave religion is the most controversial. Jones takes a very dim view of Christianization of slaves, contending that church slaves were often informants. The self-interest of black spiritual leaders required them to discourage potentially revolutionary movements. Religion rarely ignited a revolutionary pursuit of freedom. Many slaves preferred conjurors to European ministers. Jones, however, does not pursue the Africanity of black religion in South Carolina as described in Margaret Creels's recent work on the Gullah. Although religion did not inspire revolt, blacks constantly pursued freedom . In the sixth chapter Jones takes a broad view...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 179-180
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.