The basis of this discipline must consist in accustoming your negroes to an absolute submission to orders; for if you suffer them to disobey in one instance, they will do so in another; and thus an independence of spirit will be acquired, that will demand repeated punishment to suppress it, and to re-establish your relaxed authority. You should, therefore, lay it down as a rule, never to suffer your commands to be disputed; and, at the same time, you should take care to give none but what are reasonable and proper; for negroes are penetrating enough into the foibles of their masters. If you have any, you should conceal them with a good opinion of your temper and judgment. -from I: "Plantation Management" American historian ULRICH BONNELL PHILLIPS (1877-1934) made a career of studying slavery and the economics of the American South through the 19th century, and he was often criticized by his successors for his emphasis on painting slave masters and plantation owners in a positive light. But even Phillips' detractors acknowledge the valuable work he did in bringing to light the priceless original source material from which we can better understand the period. In this two-volume work, first published in 1909, Phillips creates a portrait of the economic life of the South drawn from the details and minutiae found in legal contracts, personal letters and diaries, newspaper articles and editorials, advertisements, plantation records, court records, warrants and affidavits, public notices, city ordinances, and other hard-to-find documents. From the everyday realities of the usage of slave labor to the working conditions of poor whites to the daily routines and management of plantations, what emerges is a unique, on-the-ground perspective of the slaveholding era. Excepts from the table of contents of Volume I: • "Records of a rice plantation" • "Management of scattered plantations; Georgia 1844-1849" • "Diary of work on a sea-island cotton plantation" • "Upland cotton methods" • "Uncertainty of returns in tobacco" • "Loses by disease and accidents among the slaves" • "Bad seasons and slave runaways" • "An overseer's testimonial" • "The routine problems and policies of an efficient overseer" • "Classes and conditions of white servants" • "Indented labor useless on a disturbed frontier" • "Convict transportation, vicissitudes"
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