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White Over BlackAmerican Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812$
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Winthrop D. Jordan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834022

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838686_jordan

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The Imperatives of Economic Interest and National Identity

The Imperatives of Economic Interest and National Identity

(p.315) VIII The Imperatives of Economic Interest and National Identity
White Over Black

Winthrop D. Jordan

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses the major factor making for sectional division in the United States—the proportion of Negroes in the population. By the 1790s it was clear that slavery was going to survive only in the area of high concentration of Negroes in the states south of Pennsylvania. Yet in the late eighteenth century sectional division lacked the clarity it was later to take on. The proportion of Negroes, despite a sharp break at the Mason-Dixon line, made for something of an achromatic spectrum—off-white in New Hampshire to dark grey in Georgia. Economic differences and the pattern of antislavery sentiment within the South also blurred the distinction between northern and southern states, since it was by no means definite that Virginia and Maryland would not become “northern” states by accomplishing general emancipation.

Keywords:   sectional division, slavery, Mason-Dixon line, economic differences, antislavery sentiment, general emancipation

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