Cover: Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas, from Harvard University PressCover: Slave Patrols in PAPERBACK

Harvard Historical Studies 138

Slave Patrols

Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Product Details


$33.00 • £26.95 • €29.50

ISBN 9780674012349

Publication Date: 10/30/2003


360 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

Harvard Historical Studies


Sally Hadden…has written the first definitive book on slave patrols… The book studies the roots, rules, procedures, progress, disintegration and legacy of Southern slave patrols during the 18th and 19th centuries. It is the most all-encompassing view of a long overlooked chapter of Southern history.New York Voice

Slave Patrols studies the roots, rules, procedures, progress, disintegration and legacy of Southern slave patrols in Virginia and the Carolinas in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is perhaps the most all-encompassing view yet of a long overlooked chapter of Southern history. The paucity of research done on slave patrols is seemingly out of proportion to the large role they played in the perpetuation of the slavery system in the South.Research in Review

Hadden offers insights into a part of U.S. history that has been little studied, despite the fact that it is an integral fact of that history… [Slave] patrols became part of the violent force used to react to slave revolts, the threat of such revolts, and runaways. Despite the bravado attached to their image, slave patrols were ‘an unequivocal manifestation of white fear.’—Vanessa Bush, Booklist

Using a variety of sources [and] adding new details, [Hadden’s] in-depth analysis provides an understanding of the daily enforcement of slave laws and an awareness of how Southern police forces were influenced by slavery and white dominance… This is essential reading, with much to offer all scholars interested in American history, slavery, and race relations.—Edward G. McCormack, Library Journal

In a study that explores the roots of what we know today as racial profiling, [Hadden] focuses on the law-enforcement bands that existed from about 1700 to 1865 and were charged with ensuring that slaves did not escape their masters’ plantations… An incisive, scholarly study.Publishers Weekly

No one has examined slave patrols in such detail, unearthed the whole world of racial control they represented, and linked them to post–Civil War vigilantes and the KKK. The details on the recruitment of the patrols, their procedures and effect, and their shifting roles in different circumstances of public safety and disturbance are very well done. This is a real contribution to the history of race relations in the United States, and helps explain developments long after the patrols had died out.—Bernard Bailyn, author of The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution: Enlarged Edition

The book is impressively researched and carefully written. Slave patrols did in fact constitute an important aspect of the history of slavery in the United States, but this is the first time that slave patrols have received undivided attention as to their origins and actual implementation.—Winthrop D. Jordan, University of Mississippi

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