American Slavery, American Freedom by Edmund S. Morgan Review

Good Essays
American Slavery, American Freedom
Book Review

Edmund S. Morgan's book, American Slavery, American Freedom, is a book focused on the Virginian colonists and how their hatred for Indians, their lust for money, power, and freedom led to slavery. The Virginian society had formed into, as Morgan put it, a republican society towards the end of the 18th century. This society believed in a certain view of freedom and liberty that would define America, through the realization of how this republican freedom depended on its opposite, slavery. How had the Virginia, a society that originally never incorporated slaves into their workforce, become so dependent on them to the point that they feared them? This question and the republican belief of
…show more content…
One of the things that really shaped the way that Virginia is today was the high death rate. It was not only tobacco that made men wealthy either. In Virginia whenever someone died, if that person was married they would inherit all of their former partners land and belongings. Many times this would be the man that would die, and would leave a wealthy widow in his place. Men in Virginia sought these widows like pure gold themselves; if they married these women then they would inherit all that they had acquired from their previous husbands. Therefore any man could become wealthy by just marrying a wealthy widow. Morgan states that the Virginian society was on its way to becoming,” an economic matriarchy, or rather a widowarchy” (166). For many men however it was very slim that they would be able to marry due to their current roles as servants. Even when given freedom these men were not able to settle into a home or piece of land due to the harsh conditions they would have to try and live in after. At the same time the wealthy men were able to marry rich women, live life to the fullest, and milk the government policies for all the money that it was worth.
It was later in 1663 that Virginia had seen a massive increase in freedmen. The rich masters feared that this increase would cut their own profits; therefore they “began to alter their society in ways that curtailed and threatened the independence of the small freeman
Get Access