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Unfreedom will rule the world: On slavery's westward reach.


When anti-slavery northerners tried to outlaw native slavery in the west, White southerners rallied in defense, because they knew that if native slavery was outlawed, it was the lead domino to fall in a process that would threaten plantation slavery in the South. So they build this transcontinental defense of un-freedom, because they knew one un-free institution depended on the other. And they were successful, un-free Indian labor wasn't outlawed before the Civil War. In fact in took decades after the war and 13th Amendment for Indian slavery to be stamped out in the West.

Historian Kevin Waite on chattel slavery's political and economic influence on the southwestern United States, parallel systems of Native American bondage and his book West of Slavery: The Southern Dream of a Transcontinental Empire from UNC Press.

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Kevin Waite

Kevin Waite is assistant professor of history at Durham University.


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