Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Planters and Power


What difference did it make to the multiple interactions between whites and blacks in colonial North America that slaves were both property and humans?

“No authentic human relationship was possible where violence was the ultimate sanction. There could have been no trust, no genuine sympathy, and while a kind of love may sometimes have triumphed over the most perverse form of interaction, intimacy was usually calculating and sadomachostic.” (Orlando Patterson). Discuss

How was rank and status defined in colonial Virginia?

How did planters exert power over dependents – women, children, slaves, employees – and to what extent did the exertion of such power achievable the results they desired?

Assess the importance of whiteness as a shared value uniting all whites, whatever their social position, against all blacks.


Philip D. Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 257-317

Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia 1740-1790 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992), 115-142

Timothy J. Lockley, “Race Relations,” in Gad J. Heuman and Trevor Burnard, eds., The Routledge History of Slavery (London: Routledge, forthcoming).