Eugene D. Genovese and Douglas Ambrose

in The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780199227990
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History


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This article focuses on southern slaveholders. Slave ownership in the South varied considerably, from region to region, from farm to plantation, and from settled society to frontier. Unlike their counterparts in the British and French Caribbean, antebellum southern masters tended to be residents not absentees. Unlike their counterparts in nineteenth-century Cuba and Brazil, they presided over an American-born slave population since the mid-eighteenth century. Unlike slaveholding sugar planters throughout the Americas, few owned more than 100 slaves. Conflicts arose among masters, who, because of slavery's influence, zealously guarded their liberty and grew especially touchy on questions of honour. Slave societies, like all social formations, evolved through time, and masters, as parts of those societies, changed along with them. In the case of southern slaveholders, the most important change over time was that from patriarchalism to paternalism.

Keywords: slaves; slavery; slaveholders; patriarchalism; paternalism

Article.  9835 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History ; Slavery and Abolition of Slavery

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