American Studies 430  
The South 
11:00-12:25, T-Th
Spring, 2001
Roger Williams University
Michael R. H. Swanson
Office:  CAS 111
Hours: 9:00-10:00 M, T, Th, F
or by appointment
Phone:  401 254 3230
For Tuesday, February 13                  The Institution of Slavery

    Read, in The South, a History
    Chapter 9, "The Institution of Slavery" pp. 192-208
    Chapter 10, "The World of the Slaves" pp. 209-229

         These two chapters are very important for understanding the evolution of the institution of slavery and the various aspects of black life under that institution. Understand what a "slave code" is and how slave codes are indicative of white uneasiness concerning the slave system. Chapter 10 records a  variety of different types of slavery: not all slaves were plantation workers. It also records different ways blacks responded to their condition as they tried to maintain some semblance of normal family life. Further, it explores a number of different methods by which blacks resisted slavery.

Additional Materials: Download "Nat Turner explains why he led his revolt against slavery." 
REMINDER: Tuesday Evening: Showing of the film, Birth of a Nation on the Penny Arcade Series,
CAS 129 (large lecture hall) at 7:00. Background on the importance of the film, as well as a summary of its story line can be found at
For Thursday:, February 15                         The Free Social Order

    Read: in The South, a History

    Chapter 12. The Free Social Order pp. 254-279

We're going to skip chapter 11 for the time being and move on to chapter 12, which will give us a
chance to think further about the various character types associated with Southern Culture. You'll find
planters, yeomen, poor whites, and free blacks mentioned in this chapter. Be aware, too, of the role
of women. We began to talk about some of this in class on the 6th of February.

Additional Materials: Further information on southern types can be found in sections of a hypertext document prepared by students of the American Studies program at the University of Virginia. The document isn't entirely easy to navigate. The sections you want to read, download and bring with you to class are:  
              The Yoeman (sic) and the Cracker
              which continues at , and
              The Poor White at,
              The Cavalier at
              and finally, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet's short story, "The fight" at

              We'll spend about 1/3 of this class period discussing The Birth of a Nation. I will
              pass out instructions for your reaction paper, which will be due on Thursday the 22nd.
              (No class on Tuesday the 20th)