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Grant number: FT-248983-16

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FT-248983-16

Allison Noelle Madar
California State University, Chico Foundation (Chico, CA 95929-0001)

A People Between: Servitude and the Law in Eighteenth-Century Virginia

A book-length study of the legal and social conditions of slavery and servitude in colonial Virginia.

My project offers new answers to one of the longest-standing questions in early American history: What was the nature of the transition from indentured servitude to slavery? A People Between examines the legal and social dynamics of servitude. It explores the labor system itself and the role the law played in managing servants in a society dominated by racial slavery. Historians of slavery in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic often narrate the development of slave law as a counterpoint to the laws of servitude. They contend that the legal framework colonists developed to control slaves also made life more tolerable for the temporarily bound. I argue that the legal structures designed to control slaves enhanced masters’ power over their servants. The laws themselves did not always distinguish between slaves and servants, and with the expansion of slavery during the eighteenth century there was also a retrenchment of temporary bondage.

Project fields:
History, Other; Labor History; U.S. History

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2016 – 7/31/2016