Marriage Strategies and Family Formation

Damian Alan Pargas

in The Quarters and the Fields

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780813035147
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038773 | DOI:
Marriage Strategies and Family Formation

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This chapter examines the nature of slave family formation as determined by slaveholding size and sex ratios. How did enslaved people adapt to the physical and demographic boundaries of their containment when seeking a mate? What were the consequences for their domestic arrangements and family structures? By comparing families in different parts of the non-cotton South, this chapter shows that antebellum slaves usually strove to create two-parent households whenever possible; however, not all were able to realize that ideal, and those who could not adapted their marriage strategies and family lives accordingly.

Keywords: family formation; marriage; slaveholding; sex ration; demographic boundary; two-parent household; family life

Chapter.  12538 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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