Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day. Start a 14-Day Trial for You and Your Team.

Learn More →

The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America by Terri L. Snyder (review)

The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America by Terri L. Snyder (review) The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America. By Terri L. Snyder. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Pp. 240. Cloth, $45.00.) Outspoken proslavery politician James Henry Hammond claimed in 1845 that he could not recall “a single instance of deliberate self-destruction” among slaves (155). Hammond’s view, undergirded by the twin ideologies of paternalism and racism, was pervasive among antebellum white southerners. His denial about slave suicide bolstered the paternalist narrative that slaves were well cared for, content, and therefore had no reason to take their own lives. Racialized ideas about slaves’ nature also informed beliefs about the rarity of slave suicide. Whites believed blacks were cowardly and thus lacked the fortitude to commit self-murder; they claimed that because slaves were intellectually and constitutionally inferior, they were impervious to suicidal impulses. White southerners’ denials of slave suicide also served to blunt abolitionist accusations that conditions of slavery were so miserable that slaves committed suicide regularly to escape lives of bondage. Deprived of freedom, abolitionists claimed, slaves resorted to suicide as an escape from wretched, hopeless situations. Disavowal of slave suicide countered heart-wrenching antislavery narratives of slaves who killed themselves out of desperation. The pervasiveness of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of the Civil War Era University of North Carolina Press

The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America by Terri L. Snyder (review)

Loading next page...
 
/lp/university-of-north-carolina-press/the-power-to-die-slavery-and-suicide-in-british-north-america-by-terri-l5GizwfpcH
Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright @ The University of North Carolina Press
ISSN
2159-9807
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Power to Die: Slavery and Suicide in British North America. By Terri L. Snyder. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Pp. 240. Cloth, $45.00.) Outspoken proslavery politician James Henry Hammond claimed in 1845 that he could not recall “a single instance of deliberate self-destruction” among slaves (155). Hammond’s view, undergirded by the twin ideologies of paternalism and racism, was pervasive among antebellum white southerners. His denial about slave suicide bolstered the paternalist narrative that slaves were well cared for, content, and therefore had no reason to take their own lives. Racialized ideas about slaves’ nature also informed beliefs about the rarity of slave suicide. Whites believed blacks were cowardly and thus lacked the fortitude to commit self-murder; they claimed that because slaves were intellectually and constitutionally inferior, they were impervious to suicidal impulses. White southerners’ denials of slave suicide also served to blunt abolitionist accusations that conditions of slavery were so miserable that slaves committed suicide regularly to escape lives of bondage. Deprived of freedom, abolitionists claimed, slaves resorted to suicide as an escape from wretched, hopeless situations. Disavowal of slave suicide countered heart-wrenching antislavery narratives of slaves who killed themselves out of desperation. The pervasiveness of

Journal

The Journal of the Civil War EraUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Aug 24, 2017

There are no references for this article.