Historiography: The Slave Experience

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The Slave Experience Historiography can be analyzed by comparing and contrasting historians and the historical subject that they focus on. Each historian is different and can hold different bias and opinions on a specific topic. The thoughts and opinions of slave labor expressed in A Troublesome Property, The Quality of Slave Labor and Racism, and The Black Work Ethic vary between each author. The first article to assess is A Troublesome Property, from Kenneth M. Stampp’s book, The Peculiar Institution. Stampp focuses on slave labor, specifically the viewpoints of the slave owner and the slave worker. He makes the point that, “For the most part the slaves who thus provoked masters and overseers were the meek, smiling ones whom many thought …show more content…
Genovese. His main focus is about the thoughts and beliefs of slaves. He analyzes southern culture and evidence that relates to his main idea. He says that black people, slave or free, were shut out by white racism and resisted it by necessity. They “... developed their own values as a force for community cohesion and survival, but in so doing they widened the cultural gap and exposed themselves to even harder blows from a white nation that could neither understand their behavior nor respect its moral foundations. . . .” (Genovese 299). Genovese is explaining why the black work ethic became prominent. It was because the black slave community needed a sense of security and teamwork in order to function in society. They would adopt certain religions so that they could express their faith in some way. He also states that many northern managers couldn’t get black laborers to work effectively without grouping them with other black laborers. The main consensus was that, “The white worker worked hard not only to avoid starvation but to avoid disgracing himself and his family, whereas the black worker "looked upon work as a necessary evil and maintained his right to balance the relative allurements of leisure and satisfaction at any particular day, hour, or season” (Genovese 300). The African workers were often seen as lazy but the workers themselves thought steady work was not lazy work. Many slave owners had stated that …show more content…
Genovese. It is the most logical of the three as it has multiple accounts from former slaves. In The Quality of Slave Labor and Racism, Fogel and Engerman have too much bias towards economics and they do not focus on slave life. They only refer to them as reliable laborers that boost efficiency. In A Troublesome Property, Stampp makes some solid points but its evidence is beat by Genovese’s article. Stampp’s idea that slaves did anything to rebel against their owners is most likely true but there is no solid evidence of a real rebellion except for Nat

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