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Speculators And Slaves: Masters, Traders, And Slaves In The Old South Paperback – December 1, 1989

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Speculators And Slaves: Masters, Traders, And Slaves In The Old South + A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade + Slave Trading in the Old South (Southern Classics)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (December 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299118541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299118549
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,171,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This detailed, meticulously researched and documented analysis of the internal slave trade represents historical scholarship at its best. This study is must reading for all those interested in African-American history.”—Robert R. Davis, The American Historical Review

“Amid the steady stream of new books on the various aspects of antebellum history, here is one that makes a real difference.”—Gavin Wright, Journal of American History

“A model of demographic, social, and cultural history . . . tightly argued, beautifully written, and imaginatively proved.”—Laurence A. Glasco, The Historian

“A model work of social science history.”—Russell R. Menard, Journal of the Early Republic

“Presented in a graceful prose . . . this work is iconoclastic in the best sense of the historian’s craft.”—John Edmund Stealey, III, West Virginia History

“Well-written and handsomely illustrated, Speculators and Slaves is an impressive addition to slavery historiography, a sensitive exercise in quantification, and a work of diligent and humane scholarship.”—John White, Immigrants and Minorities

Speculators and Slaves will become the indispensible work on the internal slave trade of the antebellum South -- its magnitude, profitability, and effects upon both slaves and masters.”
—Stanley L. Engerman, University of Rochester

From the Publisher

Now available in paperback with a new Introduction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Roberts-Miller on May 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is not, unfortunately, an easy read. It's thorough, careful, and heavily reliant on close analysis of bills of sales. Tadman's conclusion is that slave "owners" were speculators, selling slaves when the price was high, and holding them when it was low. (An important defense of slavery was that slave "owners" only sold slaves when financially pressed--this book shows the opposite was true.) Tadman calculates that "at least" 69.3% of the 154,000 interregional exportations in the 1820s were sales (with the rest slaves taken along with immigrating planters; Tadman 246). Unless those 106,722 slaves were all unmarried orphans, slave "owners" broke up a lot of families. Tadman estimates that the interregional slave trade broke up families in 51% of cases (150); this trade would have led to the termination of one out of every five marriages in the Upper South; one out of three children under the age of fourteen would have been sold away from parents. Local sales, he says "would have raised this proportion to about one in two" (211-2).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Calmly and with much use of statistics, Tadman utterly smashes any idea that the master-slave relationship might have been truly paternal or any good at all for the slaves. This book starts slowly but leads to a strong, harsh conclusion: slave owners had virtually no regard for their slaves' family lives or happiness. It includes many good tables and historic illustrations.
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