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About the Author

Ira Berlin was born in New York City on May 27, 1941. He received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1963, a master's degree in history in 1966, and a Ph.D. in history in 1970, all from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle and mostrar mais Federal City College in Washington before becoming a professor at the University of Maryland in 1974. He wrote numerous books including Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America, and The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States. He also edited several books including Remembering Slavery: African Americans Talk About Their Personal Experiences of Slavery and Emancipation with Marc Favreau and Steven F. Miller. He died from complications of multiple myeloma on June 5, 2018 at the age of 77. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos


Obras de Ira Berlin

Slavery in New York (2005) — Editor — 88 cópias
Slavery and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution (1983) — Editor; Contribuinte — 45 cópias

Associated Works

Twelve Years a Slave (1853) — Introdução, algumas edições4,048 cópias
Origins of the Black Atlantic (Rewriting Histories) (2010) — Contribuinte — 16 cópias
The Story of America: Beginnings to 1914 (2006) — Contribuinte, algumas edições6 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



Brightman | Nov 27, 2019 |
In Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America, Ira Berlin demonstrates how race was an historical social connection as he argues, “Slavery, though imposed and maintained by violence, was a negotiated relationship” (pg. 2). He continues, “If slavery made race, its larger purpose was to make class, and the fact that the two were made simultaneously by the same process has mystified both” (pg. 5). His survey focuses on four distinct areas: the North; the Chesapeake region; “the coastal lowcountry of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida;” and “the lower Mississippi Valley” (pg. 7).
Berlin begins with a look at societies with slaves. Examining the Chesapeake region, Berlin writes, “Into the middle years of the seventeenth century and perhaps later, slaves enjoyed the benefits extended to white servants in the mixed labor force” (pg. 32). He continues, “As long as the boundary between slavery and freedom remained permeable, and as long as white and black labored in the fields together, racial slavery remained only one labor system among many” (pg. 38). Of the North, he writes, “Slaves were neither an inconsequential element in northern economic development nor an insignificant portion of the northern population during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries” (pg. 54). He writes of the Lower Mississippi Valley, “The evolution of slavery in the lower Mississippi Valley during the eighteenth century ran backward, from slave society to society with slaves. In the process, black life in Louisiana changed from African to creole, rather than creole to African” (pg. 77).
Transitioning to slave societies, Berlin writes, “The plantation’s distinguishing mark was its peculiar social order, which concede nearly everything to the slaveowner and nothing to the slave” (pg. 97). Further, “As plantation production expanded and the planters’ domination grew, slaves in mainland North America faced higher levels of discipline, harsher working conditions, and greater exploitation than ever before” (pg. 106). He writes of the Chesapeake, “The Africanization of slavery marked a sharp deterioration in the conditions of slave life” (pg. 111). This included increased violence and a new focus on paternalism rather than patronage. Of the Lowcountry and the rise of rice production, Berlin writes, “The battle over the slaves’ economy paralleled, complemented, and complicated the struggle over the masters’ economy, with masters and slaves negotiating and renegotiating the rights to which each believed themselves fully entitled” (pg. 165). Of the lower Mississippi Valley, he writes, “If the plantation revolution affected the northern colonies indirectly, it touched the lower Mississippi Valley – the colonies of Louisiana and West Florida – hardly at all” (pg. 195). Berlin continues, “As the century progressed, slavery in the lower Mississippi Valley increasingly became an urban-centered institution, as in many other societies with slaves” (pg. 199).
Examining the Revolutionary generation, Berlin writes, “The new societies of free and slave did not emerge everywhere at once. Freedom triumphed only in the northern states and then only slowly and imperfectly. But nowhere did slavery enjoy an uninterrupted ascent” (pg. 227). Of the North, he writes, “The American Revolution reversed the development of northern slavery – first, liquidating the remnants of slave society; then, revivifying the North as a society with slaves; finally, transforming the society with slaves into a free society” (pg. 228). He continues, “The heady notions of universal human equality that justified American independence gave black people a powerful weapon with which to attack chattel bondage” (pg. 231). Meanwhile, in the Upper South, “Thousands of slaves gained their freedom in the Upper South, and the greatly enlarged free black population began to reconstruct black life in freedom. But the expansion of slavery and with it a host of new forms of racial dependencies more than counterbalanced the growth of freedom” (pg. 256). During the war, “As slaveholders piled new tasks upon the old, increasing the slaves’ duties and lengthening their workday, wartime changes evoked new struggles between master and slave over the terms of labor and the circumstances of slave life” (pg. 263). In South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, “As nowhere else on the North American continent, the War for American Independence in the Lower South became a bitter civil war, filled with a savage, fratricidal violence that tore the fabric of society” (pg. 291). He continues, “While the war disrupted plantation life in the Upper South and forced master and slave to renegotiate the terms under which slaves labored, it altered plantation life and labor in the Lower South in far more fundamental ways. With slave discipline in disrepair, slaveholders bowed to the slaves’ demands, allowing them to enlarge their own economies” (pg. 301-302). Of the Lower Mississippi Valley, Berlin writes, “The purchase of Louisiana by the United States ended the great wave of manumissions and self-purchases that had spurred the increase in the number of free people of color. The planter-controlled territorial legislature abruptly terminated the rights the slaves enjoyed” (pg. 333). He continues, “Just as tobacco had earlier remade the Chesapeake and rice the lowcountry, the sugar and cotton revolutions forever altered the livelihood and lives of blacks and whites in the lower Mississippi” (pg. 343).
… (mais)
DarthDeverell | outras 4 resenhas | Aug 22, 2017 |
Berlin argues that southern states treated free blacks in the antebellum period as slaves without masters. In other words, there were a great many restrictions on free blacks. They did not have the same freedoms and rights as whites did. Berlin further argues that after the 13th amendment, southern states applied the same restrictions (black codes, vagrancy laws, curfews, etc.) to all blacks, which became the basis of the Jim Crow segregation system.
gregdehler | Jul 4, 2017 |
Based on a series of lectures, this compact book is an excellent history of the “demise” of slavery as an institution in the US. It knits together all aspects: slave rebellion and resistance, the black and the white abolitionist movements, and the governmental actions (or lack thereof) over a hundred years before the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation. The author discusses the primal importance of the slaves’ own resistance and the how they claimed the American ideals of individual freedom for themselves.

Although it took me some time to get through this book, as I read it intermittently and slowly, I found it a fascinating study, full of new insights, a worthy read for anyone interested in the subject specifically or a more holistic American history.

Here is the synopsis from the publisher, and a a review in the NYTImes.

Honestly, I've never been comfortable giving star ratings to nonfiction....
… (mais)
avaland | 1 outra resenha | May 6, 2016 |



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