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Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South$
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William A. Link, David Brown, Brian Ward, and Martyn Bone

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780813044132

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813044132.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use (for details see www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 19 October 2018

“Ter Show Yo’ de Value of Slaves”

“Ter Show Yo’ de Value of Slaves”

The Pricing of Human Property

(p.20) (p.21) 1 “Ter Show Yo’ de Value of Slaves”
Creating Citizenship in the Nineteenth-Century South

Daina Ramey Berry

University Press of Florida

Even though they could not legally acquire citizenship rights, bondpeople influenced their valuations, sale transactions, and ultimately the institution of slavery. Understanding the link between market values and citizenship provides a window into pricing patterns of one of the most significant commodities, human chattel. As a result, enslaved people such as Cofer, Foster and White, understood their roles as products in a marketplace rather than citizens in a society. For some, like Frederick Douglass and Josiah Henson, escaping to the North or Canada marked the first time they truly felt like citizens who could enjoy the fruits of their labor. Few scholars look to slave testimony in search of their perspective on questions of citizenship. Most instead rely upon documents from the white elite because they left more detailed records on the subject. The central objective of this essay is to examine the commodification of human beings who were outside the bounds of legal citizenship yet influential in their fate at the local level. The voice of the enslaved offers a fresh perspective on their ideas about citizenship and personhood rather than those imposed upon them.

Keywords:   Slavery, slave prices, citizenship, African Americans

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