The cotton kingdom : a traveller’s observations on cotton and slavery in the American slave states

Posted: January 8, 2012 in Frederick Law Olmsted, Slavery period

Author: Frederick Law Olmsted



Frederick Law Olmsted (1822–1903) is best known as landscape architect with designs in parks in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Boston, and the grounds of the Capitol in Washington. However, before his embarking upon his career as the nation’s foremost landscape architect, he was a correspondent for the New York Times. It was under its auspices that he journeyed through the slave states in the 1850s. His day-by-day observations—including intimate accounts of the daily lives of masters and slaves, the operation of the plantation system, and the pernicious effects of slavery on all classes of society, black and white—were largely collected in The Cotton Kingdom. Published in 1861, just as the Southern states were storming out of the Union, it has been hailed ever since as singularly fair and authentic, an unparalleled account of America’s “peculiar institution.” These writings are of enormous value for anyone who wants to study the African-American slavery period.


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