Slave Country Book Review Essay

Slave Country, is a book on early America and it tells the story of the rapid growth of slavery in the newly formed states. Slavery slowly disappeared from the northern states and the importation of captive Africans was prohibited. But, at the same time, the country’s slave population grew, new plantation crops appeared, and several new slave states joined the Union. Adam Rothman explores how slavery grew a staggering amount in a new nation formed by the principle of equality among free men, and tells the consequences of U. S. expansion into the region that became the Deep South. Rothman delves into the ideas of capitalism and nationalism that began a huge forced migration of slaves into Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi. He tells the story of the relationships held among the European, African, and indigenous peoples who inhabited the Deep South during the Jeffersonian era, and who turned the region into a slave system. Rothman writes of the violence that jeopardized Jefferson’s vision of republican expansion across the American continent.

Slave Country, incorporates many social aspects in its story to draw a relationship between freedom and slavery in early America. This book would be a good read for someone extremely interested in this time period, and has a lot of time on their hands, it is a laborious read but also interesting if you can retain the information. Adam Rothman explains in great detail how slavery expanded into Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama from the late 18th century to the early 19th century.

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Slave Country, gives an analytical view of how the three states associated with the south; Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, evolved into plantation societies. The pacing of the book seemed very slow and jammed packed with too many facts and not enough exposition. Rothman did have credible sources though, especially primary source materials, and this book did open my eye’s to a new perspective on the formation of the Deep South. Slave Country is and interesting take on slaveholding in the southern states and how it became not only common but also something to celebrate.

This book notes the fears of people who believed in a great slave uprising conspiracy and how they came into being. Slave Country was good at pointing out the formation of the three dominant slave states and their ideology on slavery being both morally just and crucial to the economy. I believe, Rothman set out to explain why slavery expanded under the control of members of the revolutionary generation, and why it expanded particularly into the regions of the Louisiana Purchase. I am personally not into history books very much and this book reinforced that fact.

I am though interested in history though, and that was what kept me going with Slave Country. Even though the read was slow and at times hard, the information that was being told was that of a newly formed nation and the beliefs of freedom were at that particular time. It is interesting to learn all of the facts, which this book so prevalently has, but it was more rewarding to have a knew found idea of how hard of a struggle it was to gain freedom for slaves and to form a nation that has evolved in to what it is today.

If I happened to come across someone interested in the field of history I would definitely recommend this book because it is an eye opener, but the the average person most likely not. Rothman, in my opinion, could have made this book a smoother read and more chronological. He would jump from one fact to the other without a segue, and often times it lead me to confusion, having to re-read a paragraph to retain information. I would say that the book was bland an its style of writing. As for the content, I think this is a very important book because it is a ore modern view on the formation of the south and how and why slavery became so prevalent. History books, growing up, only had a chapter or two that briefly described our country as a Slave Country, but to actually find out how engrained slavery is in our history is eye opening. This book is a successful educational to in respects to its content, and really helps put things into perspective once you can process the information being told. Overall, I would say this was a rough read but also an essential one in understanding the ideology of some of our finding fathers and why they made some of the choices the did.


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