The Runaway Slaves of South Carolina

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a. Mary Beth Norton’s Background, The main ideas presented, and for the source

She was born in 1943 in Michigan a place called Ann Arbor and received her bachelor of degree in Arts from Michigan University. Further, she proceeded for her Master's Degree as well as Ph. D in Arts in the 1965 and 1969 respectively in Harvard University. The author's doctoral dissertation won the Allan Nevins Prize that was received in 1970 from the Society of American Historians after its publication by the Little, Brown, and Company. The author in question involved herself in other various works of literature that majorly focused on the United States history, which include the book, Founding Mothers and Fathers in 1996, the 1987’s To Toil the Livelong Day, Major problems in America, Women of America, and In the Devil’s Snare of 2002 amongst other works as well as documentaries as well as history programs that dwell upon the colonial times in the history of America.

In the book in question, Beth alongside the other authors offer both a spirited as well as a succinct narrative that highlights the story of all the individuals in the United States of America. In essence, the authors devote themselves in giving attention to the racial identity, race, as well as their inclusion in the various daily lives of the individuals in the American country as well as the popular culture that tends to bring the sense of history to life besides giving an encouragement to the reader to have an imagination of how life has been in the past several years in the United States of America (Ver Steeg, Hofstadter & Beth, 1981). Therefore, one may conclude that the primary source was created to offer knowledge and highlight American history through all the challenged that led to its growth to date.

b. Reflection of major events

Notably, the source in question explains in details the about the American people and their way of existence during the period of slavery in the South between 1830 and 1860. Markedly, the authors highlight the lives that the slaves lived and the labor they had to carry out each day. It denotes that in as much as the slave was given adequate nourishment, there were several challenges they faced including the fact that their diets were both monotonous and plane (Ver Steeg, Hofstadter & Beth, 1981). Besides, experienced long hours of work in the extremely large farms, which the slaves resisted by slacking off anytime they had the chance. The slaves were frequently whipped and were worse in the larger farms. The slaves also faced mental cruelty, coercion with hopelessness for the future, as well as the biting sense of bondage that wore the slaves. However, the various free groups and individuals are also pointed out during this period. For instance, there were free farmers including the Yeoman farmers, landless whites, free blacks.

Pointedly, there was the existence of slave culture that involved the community, the appearance, and superstition as well as entertainment that helped in the provision of some sense of the slaves’ past (Ver Steeg, Hofstadter & Beth, 1981). Religion as well as music were also of the vital essence in the bid to daily cope with the reality of bondage and retaining of the racial identity. There were major resistances by the slaves and rebellion. For instance, Nat Turner's insurrection, which involved the Nat Turner, a black preacher who was educated leading an unsuccessful rebellion.

The secondary source

a. Michael Paul Johnson’s Background, The main ideas presented, and for the source

In the secondary source by Michael Paul Johnson, the author was born in 1942 and is a professor of African and African American studies, sociology, as well as women's studies at Penn State. The author has developed Johnson's typology that describes the intimate partner violence. In his literature, the Runaway Slaves and the Slave Communities in South Carolina, 1799 to 1830, the author points out the various communities that were formed by the slaves after they escaped their masters. These runaway slaves made their settlements in the forests and mountains because they were the safest place where the white soldiers would not easily find them and return them to slavery. Besides, the forests and the mountains were the most desirable places because the white soldiers had no skills in the guerrilla warfare (Johnson, 1981). Furthermore, the soldiers in question succumbed to diseases from the viruses and bacteria in the forests and the mountains, which reduced their chance of returning the slaves or even themselves to the farms.  

b. Reflection of major events

The source looks into the lives of both the slaves as well as the whites who were either the slave owners or the soldiers dealing ruthlessly with the slaves (Johnson, 1981). The slaves who escaped into the mountains and the forests were in groups that were referred to as the Maroons. The Maroons had a significant contribution to the decision by the white government to seek the peace treaty with their persistence in the warfare. The treatise led to the formal acceptance of the Maroons as free individuals, and the white soldiers ceased from running after them (Johnson, 1981). The marronage is noted to have reached its peak in South Carolina where there was majority population of slaves. The maroon communities started as a handful of slaves but would later expand as they met other runaways (Johnson, 1981).      



Johnson, M. (1981). Runaway Slaves and the Slave Communities in South Carolina, 1799 to 1830. The William And Mary Quarterly, 38(3), 418. doi: 10.2307/1921955

Ver Steeg, C., Hofstadter, R., & Beth, M. (1981). A people and a nation. New York: Harper & Row.

November 13, 2023


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