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Slavemaster President – The Double Career of James Polk - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Slavemaster President: The Double Career of James Polk

William Dusinberre


This book examines both the social and the political history of slavery. James Polk — President of the United States from 1845 to 1849 — owned a Mississippi cotton plantation with about fifty slaves. Drawing upon previously unexplored records, this book recreates the world of Polk's Mississippi plantation and the personal histories of his slaves, in what is arguably the most careful and vivid account to date of how slavery functioned on a single cotton plantation. Life at the Polk estate was brutal and often short. Fewer than one in two slave children lived to the age of fifteen, a child morta ... More

Keywords: child mortality, cotton plantations, fugitive slaves, incentive plan, Mexican War, Mississippi, James Polk, privileged slaves, Southern Democrats, territorial slavery issue

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780195326031
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William Dusinberre, author
University of Warwick (Emeritus)