Unrequited Toil: A History of United States Slavery (Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Unrequited Toil explains how an institution that seemed to be disappearing at the end of the American Revolution rose to become the most contested and valuable economic interest in the United States by 1850.

It charts changes in the family lives of enslaved Americans, exploring the broader processes of nation-building in the United States, growth and intensification of national and international markets, the institutionalization of chattel slavery, and the growing relevance of race in the politics and society of the republic. In chapters organized chronologically, Unrequited Toil argues that American economic development relied upon African Americans’ social reproduction while simultaneously destroying their E0640F76-DBB3-401E-9AE4-D546C35FAE79intergenerational cultural continuity. It explores the personal narratives of enslaved people and develops themes such as politics, economics, labor, literature, rebellion, and social conditions.

Read an excerpt from the introduction here: https://www.aaihs.org/a-history-of-slavery-
in-the-united-states/ courtesy of Cambridge University Press and the African American Intellectual History Society.

Podcast interview with “The Age of Jackson” here.

Podcast interview with “New Books Network” here.


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