Title

Slave Auctions on the Courthouse Steps: Court Sales of Slaves in Antebellum South Carolina

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

1997

Keywords

Antebellum, Chancery, Empirical, Family separation, Ideology, Quantitative, Sheriffs, Slave auctions, Slavery, South Carolina, Trial courts

Organizational Units

Sturm College of Law

Abstract

In “Slave Auctions on the Courthouse Steps: Court Sales of Slaves in Antebellum South Carolina,” I present my empirical argument that one-half of all slave sales were court-ordered or court-supervised auctions. I base this conclusion on extensive examination of primary sources in South Carolina. This finding puts the courts at the center of the slave trade, and that is why I characterize the judicial system as the state’s greatest slave auctioneering firm.

This piece appeared in Finkelman, ed. Slavery and the Law (Madison: Madison House, 1997) and, in slightly different form, as part of a symposium on The Law of Slavery the Paul Finkelman edited for the Chicago-Kent Law Review in 1993. 68 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1241-82 (1993).

Publication Statement

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