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Slavemaster PresidentThe Double Career of James Polk$
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William Dusinberre

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195326031

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195326031.001.0001

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Family and Community

Family and Community

(p.100) 8 Family and Community
Slavemaster President


Oxford University Press

Like slaves elsewhere, Polk's bondpeople established as strong family and community lives as was feasible. But the strength of their family institutions was weakened by the prevalence of “abroad” marriages; by the discontent that impelled many married males to flee the plantation; and by the influx of newly purchased slaves, usually cut away from all of their previous family links. Fifteen years after the plantation had been established, the strength of community life also remained attenuated because many of the bondpeople had been only very recently purchased. By 1860, fewer than half of the twenty-one slaves originally deported to the plantation in 1835 were still there: eight had already died, and four more had been sent away, leaving only nine slaves from the original group to carry on a sense of community.

Keywords:   abroad marriages, community, family life, fugitive slaves, James Polk, slave purchases

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