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This study of slavery focuses initially on the drastic revisions in the historical debate on slavery and the present understanding of “the peculiar institution.” It gives a concise explanation of the nature of American slavery and its impact on the slaves themselves and on Southern society and culture. And it broadens our understanding of the debates among historians about slavery; compares Southern slavery with slavery elsewhere in the New World; and shows how slavery evolved and changed over time—and how it ended. Peter Parish examines some of the important recent works on slavery to identify crucial questions and basic themes and define the main areas of controversy.

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