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American Slaves and African Masters

Whether by falling prey to Algerian corsairs or crashing onto the desert shores of Western Sahara, a handful of Americans in the first years of the Republic found themselves enslaved in a system that differed so markedly from nineteenth century U.S. slavery that some contemporaries and modern scholars hesitate to categorize their experiences as 'slavery.' Sears uses a comparative approach, placing African enslavement of Americans and Europeans in the context of Mediterranean and Ottoman slaveries, while individually investigating the system of slavery in Algiers and Western Sahara. This work illuminates the commonalities and peculiarities of these slaveries, while contributing to a growing body of literature that showcases the flexibility of slavery as an institution.
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Table of Contents

Remembering the 'Horror of Mahometan Vassalage:' 'This World if full of Vicissitudes' PART I: ALGIERS 'Far Distant From our Country, Families Friends and Connections': American Slaves in Ottoman Algiers 'Once a Citizen of the United States of America, but at Present the Most Miserable Slave': Americans and Slave Community 'American Livestock, Now Slaves in Algiers': Elite Slaves in Ottoman Algiers 'We Set No Great Value Upon Money': A Slave Economy PART II: WESTERN SAHARA 'Sons of Sorrow': American Slaves in the Western Sahara 'Clear the Country of All You Christian Dogs': The Business of Redemption A Different Kind of Slavery

About the Author

Christine Sears is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.


"Sears presents a highly readable history of the 140 American captives of corsairs in Algiers or from shipwrecks. Recommended." - CHOICE

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