The Peculiar Institution

The Peculiar Institution The Peculiar Institution Slavery in the Ante Bellum South analytically describes all facets of slavery in the south from the s thru the mid th century including demographics slave slaveholder

  • Title: The Peculiar Institution
  • Author: Kenneth M. Stampp
  • ISBN: 9780394440156
  • Page: 343
  • Format: cloth
  • The Peculiar Institution Slavery in the Ante Bellum South analytically describes all facets of slavery in the south, from the 1600s thru the mid 19th century, including demographics, slave slaveholder lives, southern economics, slave trading, political issues northern abolitionist responses Stampp analyzes how some slave owners were kind to their chattel So The Peculiar Institution Slavery in the Ante Bellum South analytically describes all facets of slavery in the south, from the 1600s thru the mid 19th century, including demographics, slave slaveholder lives, southern economics, slave trading, political issues northern abolitionist responses Stampp analyzes how some slave owners were kind to their chattel Some slaves had lives as good as or better than poor northern workers He examines this issue mostly to show how in fact slaveowners used this behavior as a selfish strategy to ease the lives of some slaves to prevent dissent or possible legal action This treatment did little to convince slaves that their lives were acceptable Dissent opposition were common Stampp s thrust is to counter the arguments of historians who d characterized slavery as a benignly paternalistic tradition, helpful in many ways to slaves, which promoted racial harmony Such stances are in fact identical to pro slavery advocates prior to the Civil War As well, certain critics of slavery adopt an erroneous position when they claim that to the Negroes, slavery seemed natural knowing no other life, they accepted it without giving the matter much thought Not that slavery was a good thing, mind you but still, it probably hurt the Negroes less than the it did the whites Indeed, the whites were really enslaved than were the Negro slaves Stampp condemns such an argument and likens it to pro slavery arguments before the Civil War, which were based on some obscure baffling logic Stampp held that the national debate over the morality of slavery was the focal point of the Civil War As Stampp wrote, Prior to the Civil War southern slavery was America s most profound vexatious social problem More than any other problem, slavery nagged at the public conscience offering no easy solution The book was for not only history but a necessary examination for Americans in the 1950s because it is an article of faith that knowledge of the past is a key to understanding the present, one must know what slavery meant to the Negro and how he reacted to it before one can comprehend his recent tribulations Later work by others qualified certain of Stampp s findings, but The Peculiar Institution remains a central text in the study of US slavery.

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    About "Kenneth M. Stampp"

    1. Kenneth M. Stampp

      Kenneth Milton Stampp, Alexander F and May T Morrison Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, was a celebrated historian of slavery, the American Civil War, and Reconstruction.

    425 thoughts on “The Peculiar Institution”

    1. This is a very basic survey history of American slavery based on the assumption that a black man is simply as a white man with a different skin colour. In other words Stampp's presents slavery from the common-sense perspective.Since its publication in 1956 it has been criticized from all sides. A multitude of interpretations based on psychological, sociological, and Marxist models followed all of which quickly aged and became irrelevant. Stampp's book has stood the test of time better than those [...]


    2. I was supposed to read this in college and didn't. My mistake. It is considered the definitive text on the subject and now I know why. Thorough, rigorous and deeply moving. Written back when academics could write lucid English prose. I never realized how much guilt the slave owners had. I always figured they just didn't know any better, but an entire culture performed tortuous intellectual gymnastics to make themselves feel okay about the 'thingification' of other humans. Someone on this site sa [...]


    3. A Classic Study Of The American TragedyProfessor Kenneth Stampp's book on American Slavery was published in 1956-- two years after the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v Board of Education and at the beginning of the American Civil Rights Movement. At the time of its publication, the book was recognized as a seminal study of America's "peculiar institution". Time has not changed the value of the book.The book attacks a picture of the Old South that attained wide currency after Reconstruction an [...]


    4. When I took American History in college 20 years ago, the professor recommended this book; it is in fact really good. It is a short but comprehensive history of slavery in the antebellum Southern United States, drawing upon a large quantity of diaries, letters and other documents. About 40% of the population of these states, in 1860 less than a quarter in Tennessee but more than half in South Carolina, were slaves, which is to say humans reduced to the status of cattle, or chattel. Only about a [...]


    5. There seems to be some confusion about this book. Certainly, since it was published in 1956, it could be considered out of date in various ways. But, at its heart, this book is a careful and comprehensive description of slavery based on very wide research into contemporary documentation-newspapers, agricultural periodicals, census numbers, plantation records, letters, travel books, legal documents, etc Since it attempts to provide a description of slavery roughly from the American revolution to [...]


    6. In the book The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Antebellum South, Kenneth M. Stampp provides deep insight into the institution of slavery. The book explores the negative impact of slavery on both whites and blacks in the Antebellum period and is largely about dispelling myths created by previous historians of the 1940’s and 1950’s who attempted to show that the African-American experience as slaves was not burdensome to them as it was to whites.Stampp neatly organizes his argument that [...]


    7. some of the writers choices will feel a little dated by modern sensibilities, but this still stands as the definitive account of institutional slavery. this is not an emotional look at what slavery was, but instead a look at the economics and primary reasonings behind institutional slavery as an economic system and social construct. An inescapable text if you wish to understand slavery as it existed.


    8. In his work "The Peculiar Institution," Kenneth Stampp systematically investigates the structure of slavery within the larger society of the antebellum South. While sometimes considering the role of the master, the text primarily emphasizes the position of slaves themselves. In this respect Stampp methodically categorizes the principal components of the average bondsman's life, and discusses in detail the nature of these functions. Often including fascinating anecdotal evidence culled from a myr [...]


    9. In the mid-1950s, Jim Crow was still commonplace in the South, Brown vs. Board of Education made integration mandatory, and blacks refused to move to the "back of the bus," leading the United States Supreme Court to condemn Alabama's segregated public transportation. Morrison Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley, and a specialist in nineteenth-century history, Kenneth M. Stampp wrote The Peculiar Institution; Slavery in the Ante-bellum South during the infanc [...]


    10. This was the first history of slavery in the USA which I ever read, it having been recommended in junior year American History at Maine South High School. The copy read was from the library.The major social crises I was aware of while growing up were the Cold War, overpopulation, nuclear contamination, environmental destruction and domestic race and class relations. Under the rubric of the Cold War are included the various cases of aggression by our government against such countries as Cuba, the [...]


    11. Excellent book. Kenneth Stampp's, "The Peculiar Institution" is considered a classic work on slavery and it is well-deserving of its reputation. The breadth of scholarship is impressive; Mr. Stampp makes judicious use of footnotes and does not allow the footnotes to become either intrusive to the flow of the text or distracting to the reader. I was very impressed with his source materials; his points and facts are aptly supported by original sources: diaries, letters, newspapers, journals and hi [...]


    12. One of the reviews on the back calls it dispassionate and objective, and that about sums it up. Stampp knocks down all the pro-slavery arguments to demonstrate that slavery persisted because of the financial benefit to slave owners. For a book written almost 60 years ago, this holds up pretty well.One glaring problem is Stampp's views on women in slavery. For the most part, he ignores them, unless he's discussing their supposed "promiscuity." Here's a quote from the chapter on the sexual relatio [...]


    13. I hate this book and I hate its ideology. I read it for the historiography part of one of my assignments at uni. The idea that the White slaveholders were more victimised by the slave trade than the slaves themselves, and were suffering from the moral oppression more than the physical oppression suffered by the slaves is utter bullshit. I found this book almost comical, I don't understand how any historian can seriously write a book on the slave trade and believe that the white slaveowners didn' [...]


    14. This seems to be considered the defining work on American slavery, so for anyone interested in that topic, I would highly recommend this. It's incredibly comprehensive. Since it was published back in the '50s, I was a little worried that there would be like a nostalgia about the good ol' days - or that the tone would be somehow influenced by the craziness of the Civil Rights movement just getting underway at that time - but there was absolutely none of that. It could have been published this yea [...]


    15. I was required by Leroy Stegink, my junior history teacher, to read this in high school, and while people cried too hard, boring, deadly dull, etc, I found it very good. I really liked it and learned a lot from it. I think it was not appropriate for most high school students, a scholarly text that college students read, but Stegink challenged us, had high standards, was a tough guy I liked in spite of his being somewhat authoritarian. But enough about me! This book turned out to be a classic, wi [...]


    16. A bit dry at first. I think I was expecting sorrow or outrage.The author expresses his disapproval mainly in the form of sarcasm directedat the hypocrisy of slave owners and pro-slavery advocates. Remindsme a little of Mark Twain's comments on the subject, though he wasmore outspoken.It's mind-blowing that this was going on in this country only 150 years ago.An object lesson in how monstrous evil can come to seem routine and normal when people become habituated to it (abortion in our time comes [...]


    17. This is a great resource and a terrific book on American slavery. It presents the horrors of slavery where, even at its most humane it was an inhuman and barbarous institution. There is simply no excuse for it. When taken with other studies of slavery and with the writings of men like Frederick Douglass the topic cannot help but sicken the stomach of any patriotic American. The Peculiar Institution lays the groundwork for understanding the most tragic and criminal institution in our nation's his [...]


    18. Turning the world on its heelsis book was written during the Civil Rights movement. The author, had a different take on the history of Slavery in the South and it was so much more different than anything that had been published. He was trying to make people see that it wasn't inevitable that slavery happenedr were slaves treated like family members was a cruel way to treat people. I really enjoyed reading it.


    19. Excellent. This is the classic study of American slavery. Covers just about every aspect of the institution. It was economically great for the owners, but a disaster for the non-slave-owining whites and the slaves. Socially slavery caused a massive distortion of all relations among the people of the South; it perverted the ideals of the whites and replaced a higher African culture with a warped view of life for the black person. Anyway this should be a must read for all Americans.


    20. The author dissects slavery as it existed in the antebellum South. Several theories as to the reasons for slavery as an economic model are explored. as are the ways slaves were used and treated. Census data on slaves is addressed as are the different cultural groups involved. This was an interesting exploration of the subject.


    21. "Since there are few reliable records of what went on in the minds of slaves, one can only infer their thoughts and feelings from their behavior, that of their masters, and the logic of their situation" (88) makes this deserve probably 1-2 stars. Its departure from prior historiography on slavery made me feel less annoyed by it.


    22. I minored in history in college, and saved some of the books that meant the most to me. This was one of them. Little did I know that 40 years later I'd be pulling it off the shelf for research purposes.






    23. i read this for my American History class at the Pontifical College Josephinum by Rev James Plough. he tried hard in his "ploughman" way to open us to thinking and questioning.


    24. One of the great books on slavery in the United States. Revolutionary when punlished, it argued for a near complete re-assessment of then current thinking about slavery and the slaves.


    25. Good book. Some of the hypothesis seemed a bit of a stretch. But, this did give a very analytical view of slavery, both in social and scientific terms.



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