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The Laws of Slavery in Texas Historical Documents and Essays by Randolph B. Campbell
  

The Laws of Slavery in Texas Historical Documents and Essays

Part of the Texas Legal Studies Series Series

Synopsis

The Laws of Slavery in Texas Historical Documents and Essays by Randolph B. Campbell

The laws that governed the institution of slavery in early Texas were enacted over a fifty-year period in which Texas moved through incarnations as a Spanish colony, a Mexican state, an independent republic, a part of the United States, and a Confederate state. This unusual legal heritage sets Texas apart from the other slave-holding states and provides a unique opportunity to examine how slave laws were enacted and upheld as political and legal structures changed. The Laws of Slavery in Texas makes that examination possible by combining seminal historical essays with excerpts from key legal documents from the slave period and tying them together with interpretive commentary by the foremost scholar on the subject, Randolph B. Campbell. Campbell's commentary focuses on an aspect of slave law that was particularly evident in the evolving legal system of early Texas: the dilemma that arose when human beings were treated as property. As Campbell points out, defining slaves as moveable property, or chattel, presented a serious difficulty to those who wrote and interpreted the law because, unlike any other form of property, slaves were sentient beings. They were held responsible for their crimes, and in numerous other ways statute and case law dealing with slavery recognized the humanness of the enslaved. Attempts to protect the property rights of slave owners led to increasingly restrictive laws-including laws concerning free blacks-that were difficult to uphold. The documents in this collection reveal both the roots of the dilemma and its inevitable outcome.

About the Author

Randolph B. Campbell is Regents Professor of History at the University of North Texas and editor of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly. William S. Pugsley is Executive Director of the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society. Marilyn P. Duncan is Consulting Editor for the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society's History Book Project.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2011

Author

Randolph B. Campbell

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Publisher

University of Texas Press

Format

Paperback
207 pages

Categories

Slavery & abolition of slavery
History of the Americas

ISBN

9780292728998

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