By T. Stephen Whitman
The cost of Freedom conscientiously examines how city slavery, lengthy missed by means of historians, turned an enormous step within the course from bonded to loose labour. the writer argues that the construction of "term slavery" and the rise in manumission in Baltimore in the course of the post-revolutionary period can be attributed to monetary self-interest instead of humanitarian impulses based in republican ideology or faith. utilizing the leverage of flight, the writer exhibits how expert slaves wielded huge strength in negotiating the phrases in their labour. This meticulous learn sheds new mild on loose and unfree labour in the course of the early nationwide interval.
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Additional info for The price of freedom: slavery and manumission in Baltimore and early national Maryland
Immediate Manumission of Children by Sex and Age at Freedom 134 15. Delayed Manumissions of Children: Sex and Length of Service 135 Page xiii Acknowledgments I wish to thank those who have helped me with this work. My colleagues at Mount St. Mary's have given me time to work and a summer study grant that enabled me to use that time to write. The archivists and staff of the Maryland State Archives and the Maryland Historical Society have unfailingly done a superb job, not only in obtaining materials I wanted, but also in helping me to figure out what might aid my inquiries.
9 The breadth and depth of slaveholding in the crafts is an important element in the phenomenon of urban manumission. First, it compels caution in generalizing about artisans or mechanics as an antislavery element rendering slavery unstable in a city setting. The spread of slavery in Baltimore's workshops from 1790 to 1810, coincident with the rise of manumission, raises questions whether connections between these two supposedly antithetical processes exist. One potential connection is that most manumissions freed African Americans only after a term of service, during which time they could be bought and sold at prices discounted below those prevailing for lifelong slaves.
As the prime mover in the operation, the shipbuilder controlled the flow of work and was well placed to estimate ongoing labor needs, an ability that was important to investing efficiently in slaves and avoiding the maintenance of idle laborers. Subcontractors faced more uncertainty about the existence of the steady work that would make slave owning pay. Put another way, the shipbuilder could reasonably hope to find some kind of workcaulking, rough carpentry, or the liketo keep slaves fully employed at all times; the rigger could not.