New Book: Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Written as a narrative history of slavery within the United States, Unrequited Toil explains how an institution that seemed to be disappearing at the end of the American Revolution rose to become the most contested and valuable economic interest in the nation by 1850.

Unrequited Image
It charts changes in the family lives of enslaved Americans, exploring the broader processes of nation-building in the United States, growth and intensification of national and international markets, the institutionalization of chattel slavery, and the growing relevance of race in the politics and society of the republic. In chapters organized chronologically, Unrequited Toil argues that American economic development relied upon African Americans’ social reproduction while simultaneously destroying their intergenerational cultural continuity. It explores the personal narratives of enslaved people and develops themes such as politics, economics, labor, literature, rebellion, and social conditions.

Read an excerpt from the introduction here: courtesy of Cambridge University Press and the African American Intellectual History Society.

Podcast interview with “The Age of Jackson” here.

And get 20 percent off this title ordering through Cambridge University Press here.

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