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The Quarters and the FieldsSlave Families in the Non-Cotton South$
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Damian Pargas Pargas

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813035147

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813035147.001.0001

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Marriage Strategies and Family Formation

Marriage Strategies and Family Formation

(p.142) 6 Marriage Strategies and Family Formation
The Quarters and the Fields

Damian Alan Pargas

University Press of Florida

This chapter examines the nature of slave family formation as determined by slaveholding size and sex ratios. How did enslaved people adapt to the physical and demographic boundaries of their containment when seeking a mate? What were the consequences for their domestic arrangements and family structures? By comparing families in different parts of the non-cotton South, this chapter shows that antebellum slaves usually strove to create two-parent households whenever possible; however, not all were able to realize that ideal, and those who could not adapted their marriage strategies and family lives accordingly.

Keywords:   family formation, marriage, slaveholding, sex ration, demographic boundary, two-parent household, family life

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