Where many scholars writing early in the twentieth century, led by U. B. Phillips, saw a benign and civilizing institution, Stampp emphasized the hardships experienced by those in bondage and characterized the institution as exploitative and lucrative.4 Stanley Elkins' Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life also emphasized brutality, famously comparing the psychological effects of American slavery to those produced by Nazi concentration camps.5 This emphasis on the brutality of slavery, as essential as it was, tended to focus on what was done to slaves rather than what they did for themselves. Some slaves valued for their skills as craftsmen or ability to bear many healthy children may have felt bolder in acting against the limits placed on them by whites, or may not have experienced as tight control in the first place. Because enslaved people brought varying levels of power to their resistance, they enjoyed differing degrees of success.
“A Rough, Saucy Set of Hands to Manage”: Slave Resistance in Arkansas KELLY HOUSTON JONES IN 1853, AN ENSLAVED MAN named Nathan cried, “Shoot and be damned!” when threatened by an overseer in Hempstead County, Ar- kansas. The farm manager, James Martin, had been to town that morn- ing, drinking and complaining about the insubordination of his employer’s slaves. Seeking to make an example of Nathan, Martin had demanded his shirt so that he could whip him. Nathan repeatedly re- fused to submit and advanced toward Marti
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