Description - Bodies Politic by John Wood Sweet
Between 1730 and 1830, the lives of conquered Indians, enslaved Africans and Anglo-Americans in southern New England became densely interwoven - but also complicated by - racial identities and finally divided by custom and law. In "Bodies Politic", John Wood Sweet argues that the coming together of different peoples in early Rhode Island profoundly shaped the character of colonial New England, the meanings of the Revolution in the North and the making of American democracy. Grounded in a remarkable array of original sources - from censuses and newspapers to diaries, archival images, correspondence and court records - this work excavates the dramatic confrontations and subtle negotiations by which Indians, Africans and Anglo-Americans defined their respective places in early New England. Citizenship, as Sweet reveals, was defined in meeting houses as well as in court houses, in bedrooms as well as on battlefields, in medical experiments and cheap jokes, as well as on the streets. Sweet views Rhode Island as an early and vibrant example of American diversity, opportunism and prejudice.
Neither unsavoury nor unusual, Rhode Island in Sweet's account provides fresh perspectives on a range of topics - from the politics of culture in colonial societies to the dynamic process by which enslaved New Englanders became free. "Bodies Politic" reveals the extent to which the racial legacy of Rhode Island and the broader North continues to shape American lives.
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(229mm x 152mm x 33mm)
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
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Author Biography - John Wood Sweet
John Wood Sweet is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.