On Slavery's Border: Missouri's Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865 by Diane Mutti BurkeOn Slavery's Border: Missouri's Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865 by Diane Mutti Burke

On Slavery's Border: Missouri's Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865

byDiane Mutti Burke

Paperback | December 1, 2010

Pricing and Purchase Info

$36.76 online 
$38.95 list price save 5%
Earn 184 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


On Slavery's Border is a bottom-up examination of how slavery and slaveholding were influenced by both the geography and the scale of the slaveholding enterprise. Missouri's strategic access to important waterways made it a key site at the periphery of the Atlantic world. By the time of statehood in 1821, people were moving there in large numbers, especially from the upper South, hoping to replicate the slave society they'd left behind.

Diane Mutti Burke focuses on the Missouri counties located along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to investigate small-scale slavery at the level of the household and neighborhood. She examines such topics as small slaveholders' child-rearing and fiscal strategies, the economics of slavery, relations between slaves and owners, the challenges faced by slave families, sociability among enslaved and free Missourians within rural neighborhoods, and the disintegration of slavery during the Civil War. Mutti Burke argues that economic and social factors gave Missouri slavery an especially intimate quality. Owners directly oversaw their slaves and lived in close proximity with them, sometimes in the same building. White Missourians believed this made for a milder version of bondage. Some slaves, who expressed fear of being sold further south, seemed to agree.

Mutti Burke reveals, however, that while small slaveholding created some advantages for slaves, it also made them more vulnerable to abuse and interference in their personal lives. In a region with easy access to the free states, the perception that slavery was threatened spawned white anxiety, which frequently led to violent reassertions of supremacy.

DIANE MUTTI BURKE is an assistant professor of history at the University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Title:On Slavery's Border: Missouri's Small Slaveholding Households, 1815-1865Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 24 inPublished:December 1, 2010Publisher:University of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820336831

ISBN - 13:9780820336831

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1

1. "They came like an Avalanche": The Development of a Small-Slaveholding Promised Land 17
2. Households in the Middle Ground: Small Slaveholders' Family Strategies 52
3. "I was at home with the Negroes at work": Labor within Missouri's Small-Slaveholding Households 93
4. "May we as one family live in peace and harmony": Small-Slaveholding Household Relations 142
5. "Mah pappy belong to a neighbor": Marriage and Family among Missouri Slaves 198
6. "We all lived neighbors": Sociability in Small-Slaveholding Neighborhoods 231
7. The War Within: The Passing of Border Slavery 268

Tables 309
Notes 313
Bibliography 373
Index 397

Editorial Reviews

On Slavery's Border tackles two important and understudied subjects: the history of slavery in the South's border states and the nature of small-scale slavery. It is full of original, interesting, and useful insight about many topics-from the forced and voluntary migrations that created Missouri's patterns of slavery, to white gender ideologies that resembled those of the midwestern farming communities to the north and east, to the labor, leisure, and familial interactions that shaped the material and affective worlds of whites and African Americans. I am very enthusiastic about On Slavery's Border and expect that its audience will include historians of slavery and of the South; historians specializing in African American history, family history, and the study of women, gender, and sexuality; and, of course, both scholarly and popular readers interested in Missouri history. - Leslie A. Schwalm - author of Emancipation’s Diaspora: Race and Reconstruction in the Upper Midwest