Year of Graduation

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Major

History

Directing Professor

Peter Coogan

Abstract

There are Civil War historians who argue that slavery in the United States South was a dying institution and was doomed to economically self-destruct, despite the coming of the Civil War. If signs of distress were present, they would have been most visible in within the slave markets themselves, the economic hub of slavery. During the antebellum and Civil War years, Richmond, Virginia was home to the largest slave markets in Virginia, and second largest in the South. As such, Wall Street of the Confederacy: The Antebellum Slave Trade in Richmond, Virginia, 1840 - 1865 explores the economic vitality of the institution of slavery by examining financial ledgers and account books of Richmond's four largest slave traders within the markets and analyzes the surrounding inter-city culture. I argue that the over a 25-year period, the slave markets in Richmond, Virginia not only occupied a paramount position in society, but also existed as a self-sustaining and thriving economic institution despite the coming and presence of the Civil War.

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