Edward Rothstein on Charleston Slave Sites

  • Edward Rothstein, the museum critic for The New York Times (3-Mar-2011), discusses how Charleston, SC is beginning to confront its participation and role in the history of American slavery. Charleston was one of the main colonial ports of the 18th century, dealing in rice, indigo, and slaves. Among other sites, he looks at Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, and the Old Slave Mart Museum.
JDN | 12-Mar-2011

Mocking idleness and turning labor [in the North] into a badge of honor made the South, with its leisured aristocracy supported by slavery, seem even more anomalous than it had been at the time of the Revolution, thus aggravating the growing sectional split in the country. Many Southern aristocrats began emphasizing their cavalier status in contrast to the money-grubbing northern Yankees. They were fond of saying that they were real gentlemen, a rare thing in America.

Gordon S. Wood
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815 (2009)