Slavery: Antebellum America's National Institution

November 19, 2013

Driving the deepening U.S. commitment to slavery that took root in the late 18th century were the intertwined investments in the world produced by the enslaved as well as the distinctive American identities produced by defenders of the institution. In both of these respects, slavery was not solely a southern institution but very much a national one. While the presence of slaves and slavery came to define “the South” as a slave region, “the North” was also deeply stained by the institution.
Stephanie Camp is the Donald W. Logan Family Endowed Chair in American History at the University of Washington, where she teaches classes on nineteenth-century U.S. history, slavery, African Americans, and gender and the body. She is the author of the prize-winning “Closer to Freedom, Enslaved Women and Everday Resistance in the Plantation South,” and the co-editor of “New Studies in the History of American Slavery.”