This book concludes with a summary of the topics discussed in each chapter. It considers emancipation in the early republic within the context of America's transition to a free labor system, as well as how white Marylanders developed expectations for free labor and slavery that would last to and through the Civil War. It examines how the transition from slave labor to free labor on the Eastern Shore gave rise to a free African American community with more social layers than one might expect in a rural society. It also assesses the impact of commercial agriculture on the lives and attitudes of free African American workers, along with the laws enacted by Maryland to force free African Americans into wage dependence and deny them the right to rise above their hireling status. Finally, it shows that slaves and free African Americans did not act as a single “community” and that their interests diverged with the transition from slavery to freedom.
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