"Schwarz provides the reader with thought-provides the reader with thought-provoking ideas as complex and expansive as the title of his book is short and concise. . . . These essays flow together quite smoothly and range from firmly concrete to thoughtfully speculative, providing the reader with great stimulation and offering valuable suggestions for further research on the burgeoning topic of slave law. This is a fine book."
—Eric H. Walther, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
"A very interesting series of essays designed to explore how white Virginians set about the task of constructing a system of laws that would legitimize their domination of enslaved blacks. . . . A considerable success."
"This is a worthwhile and rewarding collection of essays that fills out the legal history of the Peculiar Institution in that state at the same time it reminds us how much work on the topic in Virginia and elsewhere remains to be done."
—Judith Kelleher Schafer, American Historical Review
"In his nuanced and balanced account of Jefferson's ambivalent relationship with the law of slavery, Schwarz tries to answer the classic conundrum of Revolutionary slaveholding in terms of a republican reverence for the rule of law."
—Colin Kidd, London Review of Books
Instead of relying on a static view of these two centuries, the author focuses on the diverse and changing ways that lawmakers and law enforcers responded to slaves’ behavior and to whites’ perceptions of and assumptions about that behavior.
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