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The Limits of LoyaltyOrdinary People in Civil War Mississippi$
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Jarret Ruminski

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781496813961

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496813961.001.0001

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“I Believe That ‘the Institution’ Is Extinct”

“I Believe That ‘the Institution’ Is Extinct”

Loyalty in the Master-Slave Relationship

(p.143) Chapter Five “I Believe That ‘the Institution’ Is Extinct”
The Limits of Loyalty

Jarret Ruminski

University Press of Mississippi

Differing notions of loyalty among slaves and slaveholders from 1860-1865 are the subject of Chapter 5. This chapter highlights how the internal war between Mississippi slaves and slaveholders, which had simmered during the antebellum era, exploded during the Civil War. Slaveholders insisted that their slaves only express an unconditional servile loyalty to their masters, the basis of the master-slave relationship. Slaves, however, rejected this forced servility and embraced multiple conceptions of freedom by acting on loyalties that they had forged while in bondage. These loyalties, in turn, enabled them to envision the lived experience of freedom during and after the war. Although black Mississippians shared a collective desire to escape from the forced servility of white mastery, once emancipated they embraced different views that associated freedom with land ownership, property rights, wage labor, and military service.

Keywords:   Slavery, Servile Loyalty, Master-Slave Relationship, Freedom, Property Rights

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