Slavery in the Upper Mississippi Valley, 1787–1865

A History of Human Bondage in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin


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About the Book

Although the passing of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 banned African American slavery in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, making the new territory officially “free,” slavery in fact persisted in the region through the end of the Civil War.
Slaves accompanied presidential appointees serving as soldiers or federal officials in the Upper Mississippi, worked in federally supported mines, and openly accompanied southern travelers. Entrepreneurs from the East Coast started pro-slavery riverfront communities in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota to woo vacationing slaveholders.
Midwestern slaves joined their southern counterparts in suffering family separations, beatings, auctions, and other indignities that accompanied status as chattel. This revealing work explores all facets of the “peculiar institution” in this peculiar location and its impact on the social and political development of the United States.

About the Author(s)

Christopher P. Lehman is a professor of ethnic studies at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and the author of three books about American popular culture.

Bibliographic Details

Christopher P. Lehman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5872-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8589-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi

Introduction      1


Slavery in the Northwest Territory      5


The Politics of Indentured Servitude: Slavery in Illinois      27


Miners and Soldiers: Slavery in Wisconsin      59


Migrating Southerners: Slavery in Iowa      85


Hoteliers and Local Slaveholders: Slavery in Minnesota      114


Dred Scott and the Boom in Upper Mississippi Slavery      142


Upper Mississippi Slavery in the Civil War Years      170

Conclusion      195

Chapter Notes      203

Bibliography      209

Index      217

Book Reviews & Awards

“comprehensive…intriguing…refreshing…recommended”—Choice; “an excellent and quite original book.”—Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian