JOURNAL OF THE EARLY REPUBLIC (Fall 2013) In contrast to Delaware and Maryland, Zaborney argues, Virginia slavery was strengthened in the years before the Civil War because the profitability of slave hiring kept ``significant numbers of slaves within Virginia and out of the domestic slave trade'' (162, see also 147). His argument assumes, without demonstration, that slave hiring was less common and less profitable in the border states, and ignores other factors weakening slavery there. He also implies that the domestic slave trade undermined slavery in the Upper South by reducing slave populations there. One wonders how he would respond to Steven Deyle's argument that the interstate slave trade's economic importance and function as a demographic safety valve tied Virginia to the Lower South and secession.2 Attention to such arguments would have helped Zaborney refine his own. Despite some limitations, Zaborney has written an important book showing that antebellum slavery cannot be understood without recognizing the ubiquity of slave hiring. He persuasively argues that slave hiring increased the number of white Virginians invested in slavery's perpetuation and helped accommodate slaveholders--and the institution of slavery itself--to economic diversification, urbanization, and industrialization. Ni chol as Wood is a PhD candidate
Journal of the Early Republic – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Jul 5, 2013
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