American Slavery: A Very Short Introduction traces the development of American slavery, from the Portuguese capture of Africans in the 1400s until its abolition following the Civil War, and explores its effects on the American colonies and the United States of America. It examines legislation that differentiated American Indians and Africans from Europeans as the ideology of white supremacy flourished. These laws reflected the contradiction of America's moral and philosophical ideology that valorized freedom on one hand and justified the enslavement of a population deemed inferior on another. The tense and often violent relationships between the enslaved and the enslavers are explored, as well as those between abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates.
Keywords: African Americans, American Colonization Society, Lydia Maria Child, Civil War, Confederate States of America, fugitive slaves, William Lloyd Garrison, Jim Crow laws, slavery, slave trade, South America, South Carolina, Uncle Tom's Cabin, David Walker, white supremacy