October Journal Club Post-meeting Post

Ligon Barbados Map

Richard Ligon, The True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (1657)

At our second Journal Club meeting of the semester we had a great discussion about using secondary sources.  We used Linford D. Fisher, “‘Dangerous Designes’: The 1676 Barbados Act to Prohibit New England Indian Slave Importation” as a springboard for a conversion about evaluating secondary sources.  In particular, Fisher’s discovery of a previous lost Barbados Act outlining an import ban on enslaved Native Americans revealed how one piece of new evidence can overturn established historiography.  Previous historians assumed from the Act’s title that it banned the importation of all Native American slaves.  The full text of the Act, however, indicated it applied only to New England Native Americans.

The last thing we did at the meeting was determine our favorite U.S. Presidents.  Interestingly, while some people went for “deep cuts,” even picking Coolidge, the most popular answer by far was none.  I was surprised no one stumped for Jefferson.  After all, the man wrote the Declaration of Independence.  Presentation of such quantified data is made easy by using graphs.  In this case, with multiple easy-to-compare data points, a bar graph is the best method to present the data.

Favorite U.S. President

THE ONLY THING MISSING FROM THE OCTOBER MEETING WAS YOU.

The next Journal Club meeting is Tuesday, November 17th, once again at 2pm in DM370.  I will post more details over the next few weeks.

October Journal Club: Article Abstract

Ligon Barbados MapRichard Ligon, The True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (1657)

The next meeting of the History Journal Club will be held on Tuesday, October 20th at 2pm in DM370.  For the October meeting, we will focus on reading and using secondary sources.  To help us springboard into that discussion, the October article is Linford D. Fisher, “‘Dangerous Designes’: The 1676 Barbados Act to Prohibit New England Indian Slave Importation.”

Article Abstract

On June 14, 1676, the Assembly of Barbados passed an act that prohibited the importation of Indians. This essay provides a transcript of the full text of this act—previously thought lost to historians—and situates it within the immediate context of Barbados in the 1670s as well as events in English North America, particularly King Philip’s War. The full text of the 1676 act makes several things clear. First, the act itself only prohibited the ongoing importation of enslaved New England Indians; it was not intended to outlaw Indian enslavement in general on the island. Second, Barbadian fears regarding New England Indians were rooted in the May 1675 attempted African revolt on Barbados, not the Indian uprisings on neighboring Caribbean islands. Third, the act suggests that New England Indians were being shipped to Barbados in enough numbers to warrant an entire law that specifically targeted them. The great lengths to which Barbados planters went to root out the presence of enslaved New England Indians is especially evident through comparison with Jamaica and New York, where Indian slaves were similarly outlawed.

October Journal Club Annoucement

Ligon Barbados MapRichard Ligon, The True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados (1657)

The next meeting of the History Journal Club will be held on Tuesday, October 20th at 2pm in DM370.  For the October meeting, we will focus on reading and using secondary sources.  To help us springboard into that discussion, the October article is Linford D. Fisher, “‘Dangerous Designes’: The 1676 Barbados Act to Prohibit New England Indian Slave Importation.”  Fisher uncovered the full text of the 1676 Barbadian “Act of Explanation to the Act of Negroes, and to prohibite the bringing of Indians to this Island.”  From the title, many historians assumed previously that the act banned all importation of enslaved Native Americans to Barbados, whereas the act only barred New England Indians.  Fisher’s work thus marked a turning point for historians’ discussions of slavery in Barbados and the Atlantic trade in enslaved Native North Americans.  The arguments and conclusions of older secondary sources, in particular, must now be reconsidered.

Dr. Ferdinando