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Balancing Evils Judiciously: The Proslavery Writings of Zephaniah Kingsley (Florida History and Culture)

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Balancing Evils Judiciously: The Proslavery Writings of Zephaniah Kingsley (Florida History and Culture) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

"Kingsley’s place in southern history and America’s endless debate over race, to say nothing of his astonishing life, is only now beginning to be appreciated and explored. . . . Dr. Stowell’s opening essay constitutes a splendid biographical and analytical introduction to the man and his work, and his editorial work in presenting these fascinating documents places professional historians and the general public deep in his debt."--From the foreword by Eugene D. Genovese

"Oddly proslavery <i>and</i> antiracist in his views, Zephaniah Kingsley of Florida produced a critical contemporary analysis of the Old South’s slaveholding society. Daniel W. Stowell’s edition of Kingsley’s writings makes that critique readily available to scholars."—Stanley Harrold, South Carolina State University

For the first time, all the proslavery--but also pro-black--writings of Zephaniah Kingsley (1765-1843) appear together in one volume. Kingsley was a slave trader and the owner of a large plantation near Jacksonville in what was then Spanish East Florida. He married one of his slaves and had children with several others.

 While Kingsley eventually emancipated all of his children and their mothers, he became alarmed at the deteriorating status of free blacks after Florida became a territory in 1821. His unusual protest of their treatment, "A Treatise on the Patriarchal System of Society," called for a three-caste society that separated race and class. He envisioned a buffer caste of free people of color between whites and enslaved blacks, but united with whites by economic interests. The treatise simultaneously upheld the legitimacy and necessity of slavery yet assaulted the white southern premise of abject black inferiority.

 Daniel Stowell carefully assembles all of Kingsley's writings on race and slavery to illuminate the evolution of his thought. The intriguing hybrid text of the four editions of the treatise clearly identifies both subtle and substantial differences among the editions. Other extensively annotated documents show how Kingsley's interracial family and his experiences in various slaveholding societies in the Caribbean and South America influenced his thinking on race, class, and slavery.

 In despair of ever changing the slaveholding patterns of Florida, Kingsley finally settled his mixed-race children and several of his slaves in Haiti; however, he left behind more than 80 of his slaves to work his plantations in Florida. When he died, these African Americans remained in bondage, unfortunate victims of hardening American racial attitudes and of Kingsley's effort to "balance evils judiciously."

Daniel W. Stowell is director and editor of the Lincoln Legal Papers, a project of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in Springfield, and author of <i>Rebuilding Zion: The Religious Reconstruction of the South, 1863-1877</i> (1998).

Product Details

ISBN:
9780813021171
Editor:
Stowell, Daniel W.
Foreword:
Genovese, Eugene D.
Foreword by:
Arsenault, Raymond
Foreword by:
Genovese, Eugene D.
Foreword:
Genovese, Eugene D.
Foreword:
Arsenault, Raymond
Editor:
Stowell, Daniel W.
Author:
Stowell, Daniel W.
Foreword:
Arsenault, Raymond
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
Subject:
History
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
United States - State & Local
Subject:
United States - State & Local - General
Subject:
United States / Civil War Period (1850-1877)
Subject:
anthropology;cultural anthropology
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series:
Florida History and Culture
Publication Date:
20001231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Map, 4 bandw photos, footnotes, appendix
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Americana » General
History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology
History and Social Science » Sociology » Slavery

Balancing Evils Judiciously: The Proslavery Writings of Zephaniah Kingsley (Florida History and Culture) New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$19.95 In Stock
Product details 160 pages University Press of Florida - English 9780813021171 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

"Kingsley’s place in southern history and America’s endless debate over race, to say nothing of his astonishing life, is only now beginning to be appreciated and explored. . . . Dr. Stowell’s opening essay constitutes a splendid biographical and analytical introduction to the man and his work, and his editorial work in presenting these fascinating documents places professional historians and the general public deep in his debt."--From the foreword by Eugene D. Genovese

"Oddly proslavery <i>and</i> antiracist in his views, Zephaniah Kingsley of Florida produced a critical contemporary analysis of the Old South’s slaveholding society. Daniel W. Stowell’s edition of Kingsley’s writings makes that critique readily available to scholars."—Stanley Harrold, South Carolina State University

For the first time, all the proslavery--but also pro-black--writings of Zephaniah Kingsley (1765-1843) appear together in one volume. Kingsley was a slave trader and the owner of a large plantation near Jacksonville in what was then Spanish East Florida. He married one of his slaves and had children with several others.

 While Kingsley eventually emancipated all of his children and their mothers, he became alarmed at the deteriorating status of free blacks after Florida became a territory in 1821. His unusual protest of their treatment, "A Treatise on the Patriarchal System of Society," called for a three-caste society that separated race and class. He envisioned a buffer caste of free people of color between whites and enslaved blacks, but united with whites by economic interests. The treatise simultaneously upheld the legitimacy and necessity of slavery yet assaulted the white southern premise of abject black inferiority.

 Daniel Stowell carefully assembles all of Kingsley's writings on race and slavery to illuminate the evolution of his thought. The intriguing hybrid text of the four editions of the treatise clearly identifies both subtle and substantial differences among the editions. Other extensively annotated documents show how Kingsley's interracial family and his experiences in various slaveholding societies in the Caribbean and South America influenced his thinking on race, class, and slavery.

 In despair of ever changing the slaveholding patterns of Florida, Kingsley finally settled his mixed-race children and several of his slaves in Haiti; however, he left behind more than 80 of his slaves to work his plantations in Florida. When he died, these African Americans remained in bondage, unfortunate victims of hardening American racial attitudes and of Kingsley's effort to "balance evils judiciously."

Daniel W. Stowell is director and editor of the Lincoln Legal Papers, a project of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in Springfield, and author of <i>Rebuilding Zion: The Religious Reconstruction of the South, 1863-1877</i> (1998).

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