A Marketplace of Human Souls

A Marketplace of Human Souls

1. Pauline Maier is an expert on the American Revolution and its impact. She is the reviewer of Peter Kolchin’s book, American Slavery. Eric Foner is an American historian who writes extensively about issues of American slavery. Peter Kolchin specializes in nineteenth-century U.S. history, the South slavery and emancipation, and comparative history. His book is being reviewed in Dr. Maier’s article, “A Marketplace of Human Souls.”

2. Samuel Johnson was a Tory who could see a contradiction in the reality that it was slave-owning Americans who were the ones crying out for freedom. Over half of the members of Congress were owners of slaves. Although I couldn’t find a definite statement to that effect, I believe that Johnson’s remark was directed at Thomas Jefferson who had 200 slaves when he was writing the Declaration of Independence.

3. Kolchin wants to bring together all of the studies of slavery that have been done over the years into a complete history of American slavery. He has already written two other books on slavery, so he is qualified to take up the responsibility to synthesize all of the literature. Since there is so much controversy about the whole institution of slavery, Dr. Kolchin wanted to write a book that would be comparative and understood by all levels of readers.

4. Dr. Maier outlines several goals that Kolchin is trying to achieve in his book, American Slavery. She states that he presents an “informed modern history of slavery and its development.” Dr. Maier feels that Kolchin had to sacrifice descriptive details from his book, but that he did a good job of reaching objective conclusions about the controversial issues. All in all, the reviewer thinks the author was able to accomplish what he set out to do.

5. One element historians in the Fifties used was change and continuity. For example, they concluded that slavery didn’t change; that it didn’t have a history. Another element they employed was time and...

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