Slavery in the United States

A Social, Political, and Historical Encyclopedia

by Junius P. Rodriguez, Editor


The story of slavery in the United States is a painful one. Too often, students get little more than a cursory look at the horrors of the Middle Passage and an overview of the Civil War. This encyclopedia is a scholarly, comprehensive presentation of the whole story.

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March 2007


Pages 740
Volumes 2
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics American History/General
  • Award Winner!




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A comprehensive, contextual presentation of all aspects—social, political, and economic—of slavery in the United States, from the first colonization through Reconstruction.

For 250 years, slavery was part of the fabric of American life. The institution had an enormous economic impact and was central to the wealth of the agrarian South. It had as great an impact on American culture, cementing racism and other attitudes that echo into the present. This encyclopedia is an ambitious examination of all the issues surrounding slavery: the origins, the justifications, the controversies, and the human drama.

These volumes represent the work of 75 distinguished scholars from around the world. Ten thematic essays present a thorough examination of slavery and slave culture, including a rare treatment of slavery from the slave's point of view. Three hundred A–Z entries provide instant access to specific people, issues, and events. Today, slavery's immorality seems obvious. This encyclopedia provides the student or general reader with an in-depth explanation of how the practice evolved and was normalized, then anathematized and abolished.


  • Ten major essays and 300 A–Z entries cover all aspects of slavery
  • Over 100 contributors represent the finest scholarship worldwide on the topic
  • An impressive collection of 150 original documents illustrate both popular and official attitudes toward slavery
  • The massive bibliography is the most complete and up-to-date available


  • Edited by Junius P. Rodriguez, Ph.D., award-winning author of ABC-CLIO's The Louisiana Purchase and the award-winning Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery
  • Provides multilevel information: broad-themed essays, A–Z entries, primary and secondary source documents, and a thorough, up-to-date bibliography of slavery scholarship
  • A comprehensive treatment of social aspects of slavery that gives rare insight into slavery's effect on both black and white culture
  • More than a mere recounting of facts and data, an examination of the evolution of the philosophical and cultural norms that allowed slavery to flourish for so long
Author Info

Junius P. Rodriguez, Ph.D., is associate professor of history at Eureka College, Eureka, IL. His published works include ABC-CLIO's award-winning Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery, The Louisiana Purchase, and Chronology of World Slavery.



"this set will be an essential addition to any collection supporting a middle or high school American Studies curriculum."School Library Journal

"Highly recommended for most academic and public libraries."Booklist

"it would be hard to find a better two-volume reference work on slavery."Library Media Connection

"Overall, this encyclopedic guide will be useful for college/university libraries and larger public libraries."Choice

"a necessary purchase for all libraries."Library Journal

"This work is one of the better ones and would be of interest to both graduate and undergraduate students of American history."ARBA


2007 Editors' Choice — Booklist

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