- Tapa dura: 688 páginas
- Editor: University of Georgia Press (31 de agosto de 1987)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 0820308978
- ISBN-13: 978-0820308975
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
Major Butler's Legacy: Five Generations of a Slaveholding Family (Inglés) Tapa dura – 31 ago 1987
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Traces the life of a Georgia plantation family, from slave-holding colonial times to the beginning of the twentieth century
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Likewise, the book does not perpetuate the myth that the Revolution and the Constitution created a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. From the perspective of the Butler family, it created, more accurately, a government of the dynasties, by the dynasties, and for the dynasties. Five generations of the Butler dynasty are given roughly equal coverage with the slaves. Thus, this book describes dynastic upwellings originating in Britain with Major Pierce Butler and eventually stretching from Georgia and South Carolina to Philadelphia, Boston, France and Switzerland. Nearly all imaginable dynastic interests interplay: political, economic, as well as familial ones down to the education of the off-springs. Interwoven are the important relationships of the Butler aristocrats with their plantation managers like Roswell King.
The chapters dealing with slavery tell the heartless tale of the servitude of blacks. Living in filfth and unsanitary conditions, their mistreatment was unrelenting, yet they bore their fate with surprising dignity and unexpected occasional loyalty to their masters. Their humaneness outshines the character qualities of their owners. Nevertheless, while receiving equal focus, even empathic treatment, they do not come to life like the major stars of this dynastic book. The latter associate with the famous and powerful and, thus, this book also sheds light on George Washington, Benjamin Rush, Charles Lyell, the famous British geologist who decisively influenced Darwin, Thomas Pinckney, Thaddeus Steven who condemned Pierce Butler in 1848 for having slaves by likening him to an insignificant insect, and Henry James.
By 1859, a heavily indebted Butler estate caused the gang sale of the slaves. It was weeping time and chattel slavery, the worst form, permitted slaves to be sold individually, ripping families apart. It recalls the observation of a European visitor in 1835 who emphatically stated upon witnessing a slave auction "you call this the land of liberty and every day things occur at which the despots of Europe would recoil in horror."
Bell draws from massive primary sources, diaries, steamship records, newspapers, legal records, etc. and allows the reader to draw his/her own conclusions. He does not develop the theme of humans as commodities that is the crucial underpinnings of slavery and which surfaced in indentured immigrant servitude and in subtle elements of America's economic processes of subordinating humans to corporate interest far too excessively, even in the recent transmogrification of former depts. of personnel into "Human Resource Department." The view of humans as commodities pulsates throughout society and surfaces even in organized sports, the military, the educational system, etc. Had Bell dared to expand the theme of humans as commodities, his superb book would have acquired brilliance.