Freedom and Control in a Slave Society
This chapter argues that the demographic pattern of European and African settlement in the seaboard colonies was basic to the emergent pattern of master-slave relations. Despite the crucial and at times determinative influence of this pattern, the varying degrees of rigor which slavery exhibited in various regions did more than reflect population ratios: in their enactment and application the laws of slavery reflected the complex needs and responses of communities which for varying reasons were both different and roughly similar to each other. White reactions to manifestations of slave discontent, especially, seem to have differed in ways which suggest that the measure of communal integration among white men was crucial to the shape of their response.
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