Polish Paragraph: The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century

The purpose of this paper is to focus on historiographical synthesis, the methods uses, theories engaged, and theoretical interventions proposed by the sources used throughout the paper.          After reviewing the different sources that will be used for The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century historiographical paper there was about two to three debate or questions the sources share.   The majority of the topics that are represented within the works are: race, gender, social order, politics, space, power, economics and identity within the antebellum south. One of the questions that came up is how does a patriarchal society work within legal institutions when there is a “double character” associated with slaves? “Double Character” is describes how slaves were seen as both person and property. This is looked at in Double Character, written by Ariela J. Gross, by issuing the paradoxes of slaves as person and property within the south. Her book is written within the context of social history, similar to the other sources, in order to show the interlinking of law and society through close statistical analysis of trial. On the other side of the coin, Walter Johnson’s book Soul by Soul looks at everyday dealings of traders, buyers, and slaves within the social networking of the slave market. Johnson focuses on the patriarchal society and the roles that slave-owners and traders wanted to present outward. By taking these two concepts together provided by Gross and Johnson, I initially thought how does this change when gender is looked at separate from race? What does it mean for class and honor as well, especially within a social society that is ruled by the identity you presented in the public sphere. The other question or debate that occurred in my initial overview of the sources is looking at Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman text as well as the article by Matthew Axtell “Toward a New Legal History of Capitalism and Unfree Labor”. Axtell argues focuses on the new history of capitalism by arguing how slavery was an essential component of economic expansion. Beckert and Rockman demonstrate how slavery played a vital role in the expansion of the market place in American History. By combining both of these topics together, which are similar in nature, how can we use the methods of social history to better understand the relationship of slavery and legal rule? Each of the sources shows the history of how the topics of slavery and legal rule have been altered, changed, and developed by different historians.

A Misplaced Massacre – Alyssa

On November 29, 1864, Colonel John Chivington’s volunteer regiments attacked a Native American encampment where their violence became unchecked in doing so slaughtering women, children and elderly. In A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over Memory of San Creek Ari Kelman is a detailed study of Sand Creek by exploring the different memories of the event, determining the event as massacre or battle, and by offering the narration through place. The problem is determined by when the events actually happen and where it occurred. Kelman is able to be as detailed as possible by using the Cheyenne and Arapaho oral traditions, archaeology, and cartography.

A Misplaced massacre seeks to challenge the popular rhetoric that “memorialization has palliative qualities” (pg. 4) and that erecting monuments in remembrance has a way of providing closure for the past. This is not case. Rather, Kelman portrays how individuals and communities can denounce the integration of a nationalistic memory and rather chose the anti-colonial resistance portrayal of what occurred at Sand Creek. Kelman states “the Native people who helped to create Sand Creek historic site rejected what they saw as a hollow offer of painless healing and quick reconciliation at the opening ceremony” (pg. 5). The Cheyenne and Arapaho voices argued that the site also needed to tell the story about the massacre from the Native perspective and to acknowledge their heritage.

Similar points that VANNOYJ had mentioned in their earlier post, the crux of the book really focuses on the difference between memorialization and historical records. I felt that Kelman is able to provide agency, a topic discussed often in this class, to a topic that for the most part would get its typical American federal history mark and move on. But rather what makes his book so fascinating is the struggle the Cheyenne and Arapaho have in making sure that does not happen. They are trying to provide agency to their ancestors and heritage in order to make sure all narratives are being displayed for the Sand Creek Massacre … not the ones the Federal government wants us to hear regarding the ill treatment of Natives. Kelman states, “the memorial would help them preserve their cultural practices, securing their future by venerating the past. For these activists, the site would serve tribal rather than federal interests” (pg. 6).

Unlike the Comanche Empire, the Native voices within this book can defiantly be heard. One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the oral history component Kelman is able to use. He was able to use a lot of primary sources, direct quotes from tribal leaders & the National Forest, political interviews, and historical interviews to give an excellent portrayal of how Cheyenne and Arapaho push their agency through the sand Creek site.

The other aspect I wanted to acknowledge was by HIGBEEJONATHAN when he discusses the positive attributes of the work. I defiantly agree that one of the compelling attributes is when Kelman acknowledges that historians need to seek out other methods or theoretical inventions that may not lie in just history. To artfully portray a full big picture understanding of Sand Creek you had to do it the way Kelman did. You needed to see out history, humanities, social sciences, archeology and social history to paint the picture of the federal and Native memory of Sand Creek.

This Republic of Suffering

Drew Gilpin Faust’s book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War artfully gives a new portrayal of the American Civil War. Faust’s covers the most obvious fact of the war in that it produced the highest fatalities ever to be seen in American History. What makes Faust’s book different than any other Civil War book out is his focus on how Americans and their institutions confronted the idea of death, a good death, and how death during the war propelled a new transformation in beliefs, cultural practices, and political structures in America. He states in the beginning, “the presence and fear of death touched Civil War Americans’ most fundamental sense of who they were, for in its threat of termination and transformation, death inevitably inspired self-scrutiny and self-definition” (page xv).

Faust sections her book in away to show the components of death: “dying”, “Killing”, “Burying”, and “Accounting” in hopes of showing how Americans faced cultural transformations with death during the Civil War. The Civil War gives a window into understanding how wartime began to alter, how the romanticism of war death became gruesome, and how to deal with the decay seem a dehumanizing task. She explains further, “In the Civil War death the distinction between men and animals threatened to disappear, just as it was simultaneously eroding in the doctrines of nineteenth-century science” (page vxii).

In agreement with Robert’s post, I agree that Faust found a particular niche that gives new excitement within looking at the Civil War without looking at the military battles. She is able to pull emotion throughout her entire book by using the components of death to further exemplify her focus in showing how death became transformed in the nineteenth century.

I also agreed with 20perez16 in how Faust’s book had similarities with Stephanie Camp’s book in the assessment how groups handled difficult events. Both authors take popular history topics and are able to derive new findings within the field. This also ties in with the objective of our final to understand what the current field is with a particular topic, where it can go, and what sources could assist in pushing it forward.

Beyond the Founders

Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic illustrates the historiography of the early Republic through its growth of democracy that is not limited to just a white man history. The editors provide fourteenth different historical essays to advocate other narratives that have been left or overlooked rather than focusing on powerful white men who shaped American Institutions. The editors offer a new portray of Political history by looking at other people within the realms of social and political history. The goal of this book was to offer a “top down, from the bottom up, and perhaps especially from the middle out in every direction” (18) approach to viewing political history in a new light. One of the central arguments mentioned by Dave and Morgan earlier is to demonstrate the interlinking’s of the American people regardless of their station or political tendencies; they were all deeply connected and actively participated together in the early Republic.

Each chapter demonstrates the how social and cultural histories played out on the grassroots level within the early republic. It was not just political but interactive with social groups to allow for their own mark within the political history.

Similarities that I found in this collection of essays was with Closer to Freedom, also mentioned by Morgan in her earlier post that can be seen in Waldstreicher Essay. In Chapter three, “Why Thomas Jefferson and African American Wore Their Politics on their Sleeve,” explores the politics of using items such as clothing and how it could have political purpose based on how Jefferson chose to dress up as. Waldstreicher states, “the extreme politicization o clothing in the antebellum debate over slavery and race, understood in light of the use of dress Revolutionary and early national politics, suggest that ‘cultural’ subjects like clothing, as much as or more than abstracted ‘language’ or ‘power’, can help us reconnect subjects like Thomas Jefferson and African Americans” (89). Similar to Closer to Freedom, both book and essay discuss the importance and significance that clothing can have in making a rebelling statement or political statement.

One of the biggest things I took out of in reading this book was how the different authors, and three editors were trying to establish agency for groups that have not been heard from in political history. However, what I struggle with in reviewing the essays though, especially looking at “Women and Party Conflict in the Early Republic” is can social and cultural histories really fit in with political history? Or do the two need to remain separate. Obviously based on the style and format of this book, the editors have a different opinion from me. I did not see the connections in chapter four as much as I would like to. What I saw was how Zagarri was trying to incorporate women’s social capacities within the context of state and party problems. I personally had a difficult time in viewing this chapter as any but social history. Overall, Chapter 3 & 4 were some of my favorite writings as it provided two different narratives and strove to offer agency to a group, aka women, usually excluded from the political arena.

Fugitive Landscapes – Alyssa Foster

Samuel Truett artfully illustrates the Arizona-Sonora borderlands that intertwine multiple centuries worth of narratives of southwest American history. In his book, Fugitive Landscapes demonstrates the use of social, political and economic history in order to put the borderlands of the southwest into wider historical setting. Here Truett’s is able to portray the diversity of people that populated the area, migration and moved across the borderlands over the course of three centuries. Unlike David Sim, who did not provide the fullest background context in his book, Truett expertly provides a through historiographical outline of the borderlands into an intersection of economic development. Truett states that the “ultimate goal of this book is to understand how the best-laid plans od states, entrepreneurs, and corporations repeatedly ran aground in fugitive landscapes of subaltern power” (pg. 9). He further states that Historians moving forward in the field need to start reviewing the border first while including both sides of the area for a complete scrutiny. Truett also advocates the importance in examining the people within the borderlands and their drive to live within this complex area.

In agreement with Dave Shanebeck’s post the first half of Fugitive Landscapes was difficult to get through. It was a little stale in its information making it a struggle to get through the beginning. I will be fair and say that I have always had a difficult time in showing interest in the borderlands and Mexican-American histories of the southwest. However, Truett does a nice job in sectioning off his book in order to assist with the flow of information he is trying to provide the readers. Part one of the book illustrates how Mexicans and Americans tried to domesticate Sonora-Arizona lands prior to the rail system years later. This chapter highlights the social relationships that have endured into the present era. Part two of the book shows how Truett explores “how entrepreneurs, corporations, state elites, and ordinary people reorganized the borderlands at the turn of the century” (pg. 9). Part three exhibits the social conflict and revolutionary struggles that made it difficult and impossible to domestic the borderlands.

One section of the book that I found the most interesting was part two of the book where Truett reviews the economic factors that are portrayed in the borderlands. Here Truett reviews the economic history of the southwest borderlands to show how business opportunities pushed the reshaping of the area on an economic and political level. Similar to Slavery’s Capitalism edited by Beckert & Rockman, their book dives into the slavery’s significance in the emergence of American capitalism in the decades between the Revolution and the Civil War. Beckert & Rockman also use factors of innovation of entrepreneurship, finance, accounting, management, and political economy to demonstrate the role of slavery in the marketplace. Taking these similar factors that played a role in the nineteenth century, Truett uses them to depict the industrial frontier of the borderlands to show how entrepreneurship and commerce played a role Arizona-Sonora borderlands. In part two, Truett introduces William E. Dodge Jr. who established the Phelps Dodge mining company. This established a transnational cornerstone for copper within Arizona-Sonora borderlands. However the area remained a “fugitive landscape” due to the difficulty and resentment of the native people as well as the resentment of the labor within the borderlands. Truett offered that the “more power corporate and state elites tried to exert over the region… the more it slipped from their grasp” (pg. 130). Samuel Truett pulls a lot of research from the archival sources, periodicals, corporate annual reports, and government documents. In the final pages of his book Truett illustrates how transnational histories at times encompass law, which played an impactful role in the review of the borderlands. It demonstrates how space can be seen as lawless and lawful at the same time.

Final Paper Description: The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century (Alyssa)

The Relationship of Legal Rule and Slavery during the Nineteenth Century seeks to understand the use of legal institutions within the antebellum slave market and the market economy. The purpose of this paper is to focus on historiographical synthesis, the methods uses, theories engaged, and theoretical interventions proposed by the sources used throughout the paper. The remainder of the paper will be focused on the conversation of what kinds of sources could push the field forward and primary sources that will assist in further research of the topic. Historical questions that could assist with the development of the research include, but are not limited too: how was law used to promote growth of slavery within the emancipation of the American Marketplace, what was the role of legal institutions in the antebellum south in regards to contract and property, and lastly, what is the relationship between legal institutions and slavery? All of these questions will promote the growth of research on slavery and capitalism.

In order to assist the development of this paper a discussion of possible sources needs to be discussed. The use of contracts as legal documents in the marketplace or on plantations can help understand how slavery and legal rule were closely intertwined. By assessing the contracts, it will provide new outlook on how certain transactions were justified within legal rule. How did the law justify the contracts and transactions of the slaves as commodities in the south? Another source that could offer assistance is the use of courtroom logs and lawyer files to see how the courts dealt with slavery. Lawyers can provide a different set of eyes in looking at the relationship of slavery in the marketplace. This also ties in with any dairies or biographies lawyers/ courtroom officials in their dealings with slave owners, slave traders, and slaves in disputes of contracts and property. In addition to the courtroom logs, manifests from steamships throughout the south can assist in portraying the involvement of business transactions and insurances to take slaves up and down the south. Business papers can prove to be another good source to use to get a different perspective of business transactions and the dealings of businessmen in the American marketplace. The hope by using business papers, legal documents, contracts, manifests, and courtroom logs is to demonstrate the negative effect liberal capitalist institutions could have on the integrity of slavery in the process of legal rule.

Closer to Freedom Blog Response

Closer  to Freedom: Enslaved Women & Everyday and Everyday Resistance in the Planation South, authored by Stephanie M.H. Camp offers new scholarship in the examination of space, social relations, gender, and resistance within in the South. Camp looks at everyday life on the planation to study of the movement of bodies, objects, and information to offer new light on slave resistance in new areas and reveals a different resistance not well known. She portrays the complexity of enslaved women daily life on the planation and in how their bodies & acts of resistance altered the political dynamics on the planation.  By using planter papers, oral histories, and other sources is able to record planters  attempts to confine slaves and control their whereabouts on plantations and the South.  Camp uses the term “rival geography” to explain the resistance to colonial occupation. In her introduction Camp states, “where planter’s mapping of their farms was defined by fixed places for planation residents, the rival geography was characterized by motion: the movement of bodies, objects, and information within and around planation space” (pg. 7). Her main theme within the book is to look at the dichotomies and the history of American slavery. Place did not just revolve around the planation, but also the slave cabins, swamps, the body and lands surrounding the plantations; essentially Camp is looking at the private verse public space and how the body was seen as space. Camp argues “the body, then, can provide and has provided a ‘basic political resource’ in struggles between dominant and subordinate classed. What I found most compelling within the Camps research is the different acts of resistance bondswomen would do or how bondswomen offered different acts of resistance of bondsmen. Bondsmen had a better opportunity to run away or flee enslavement rather than women. Women may run to the swamps or hide to show resistance and control over their bodies, but they always ended up returning to the planation. Their work did not just end, when the day ended in the fields, but continued in household & family work later in the evening. Their bodies were more enchained to the plantations then the bodies of bondsmen.  Camp continues the book in analyzing how rival geographies played within the Civil War and Jim Crow Era. To Camp, the Civil War created a rift within the spatial arrangements of slavery. Space originally that separated whites from blacks was beginning to dissipating  and essentially groups that were kept separate no longer has their own spaces. She also continues to say how space defined within the South through the Civil War also plays an imperative role in the Jim Crow area. Here again space has a role to play and Camp states, “segregation seems as much tradition in a new form as a modern break from it” (pg. 140).

Final Paper Proposal Ideas

  1. Liberal capitalist institutions and the effect it could have on the intergirty of slavery as modality of legal rule.
  2. History of capitalism within the Antebellum Market place
  3. the use of legal institutions within the Antebellum slave market and market economy of the nineteenth century