Peter Kolchin “American Slavery, 1619-1877” talks about the practice of slavery in America between 1619-1877. From the origins of slavery focus and how slavery divided the United States and how slavery became both a cause and casualty of the Civil War. America was and has become throughout the era of slavery. It was the Colonial era that America began to see what true slavery would soon become. Kolchin provides short summaries of debates over the nature of slavery.
American slavery, Kolchin explains evolved as a trend toward forced labor in the New world colonies. Around the 1700’s slavery concentrated mostly in the south , though it exists in all American colonies. Relationships between masters and slaves changed as slaves lost their African culture. The revolutionary era saw slavery intimidated by enlightenment but the it survived more strongly in the south, and during the 19th century it became crucial to the southern economy. Kolchin also writes about the slave life during the civil war seeing that slavery leaves a legacy in our century. He probes into the lives of those imprisoned by the “peculiar institution”. In the 1600’s begins with the slavery’ origin in America with the imports from Africa. Free labor was established the agricultural foundation. From there Kolchin follows the escalating of slavery by citing statistics and provides crucial information of the lives of slaves owners and their slaves. He narrates hardship and criticizes about slavery. He focuses on the facts of the daily lives of slaves.
Furthermore, Kolchin investigates deeply into the slave-master relationship, which allowed incidents such as masters whipping slaves for working poor, then around evening gather them for a bible reading session. A person providing basic needs for others but forces to provide free labor to him in return is repeated in the book. However the author shows a slave owner whom has no impact on slaves lives, one who looks at them not as property but human, and one who allows them to have social and religious celebrations.
Kolchin’s argues that despise the attitudes and attempting to resist , the slaves were affected mentally. Through the brutal tortures, being forced to separate from family members while be sold off. This inhumane treatment is shameful that slavery casts on white society. Kolchin underscores this fact in Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom by comparing American slavery to servitude Brazil and the Caribbean region and serfdom in Russia (Kolchin, 1987).
Kolchin used many statistics to evaluate the slave population and distribution, as well as growth rates. When he wanted to explain the horrors of certain situations, he used quotes from slaves themselves.