An Empire for Slavery Book Essay

1538 Words Feb 15th, 2013 7 Pages
Randolph B. Campbell's An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas provides in an in depth look at the slavery existence in the state of Texas. He provides the factors that explain the establishment and growth of slavery. Campbell also explains the economic and legal institution of Texas, and explores the physical and psychological effects of both slaves and their masters prior to the Civil War, during, and after emancipation. Campbell provides clear detail of slavery's impact on Texas slaveholders and society, and how the Civil war affected slavery prior to its destruction. Slavery came to Texas from Anglo-American settlers and gained a foothold during the colonial period. For example, Galveston Bay was a big slave trading …show more content…
He provides unique insight and depth which is hard to refute because of the laws that allowed slavery to exist. In January of 1824, Stephan F. Austin issued the "Criminal Regulations," which provided Texas with its first slave code. The "Criminal Regulations" seemed to be the basis for the first codified slave code in 1836. The code involved five essential principles which allowed for slavery to exist in Texas. These principles included the right to own slaves, criminal conduct regarding slaves, the law afforded to the slaves, slave escapees, and free blacks respectively. With the Constitution of 1845, slave law had matured into an extensive system dedicated to the management of slavery. The extent of the laws by 1845 toward slavery were so vast it is hard to dispute the point that slavery was not a vital aspect in Texan life. Under the law, slaves were still afforded certain privileges that would allow them to gain a measure of responsibility. Campbell brings up the many responsibilities that slaves in Texas have in chapter 6. He states that a vast majority of slaves work in the fields, while around 30% of the slave population work in the towns and as cooks and butlers. He also brings up several instances where skilled slaves hired themselves out to make money using their skills as carpenters or blacksmiths. Campbell's provides a unique look into slavery that most author's do not convey. Slavery in Texas, while terrible, provided a