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By the 1850s, Georgia had established itself as one of the largest cotton-producing states in the South. During the previous century, the state had transformed from a multi-racial society of individuals from European, African, and Native American descent into a slavery-based society where white became synonymous with free and black with enslaved. Tens of thousands of men and women experienced the hardships and tragedies of the slave trade. Relegated to the harshest and most exhausting types of labor and subject to their owners' reliance upon violent corporal punishment, slaves suffered the physical, cultural, economic, and political ramifications of the rise of the cotton kingdom. Scholars have written a number of excellent studies of slavery in Georgia, but these works focus almost exclusively on the lowcountry. Although our understanding of the slave societies that emerged in these various regions have been enhanced by these studies, their geographical focus obscure important changes that occurred in Georgia over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Watson Jennison's Cultivating Race: The Expansion of Slavery in Georgia, 1750-1860 examines slavery in both the lowcountry and the upcountry, revealing both similarities and underlying tensions between the regions, determining race as the central factor in the ordering of the new American society. This book provides a more unified and comprehensive look at the vast demographic and economic changes that occurred in Georgia during this era. Employing personal papers, such as diaries, correspondence, and plantation records, Cultivating Race offers a social, cultural, and political history of the racial system in Georgia and uncovers the struggles of daily life as different groups contested for power. This manuscript is being considered for UPK's New Directions in Southern History series. Watson W. Jennison is an assistant professor of African American history at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His articles and reviews have appeared in the Journal of Southern History and North Carolina Historical Review.
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