The Denmark Vesey Affair:
A Documentary History

Edited by Douglas R. Egerton and Robert L. Paquette

Foreword by Stanley Harrold and Randall M. Miller, Series Editors
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"Brilliantly conceptualized, exhaustively researched, and eloquently written, it is a gold mine for anyone interested in America's ongoing dilemma with slavery and race."--John Stauffer, author of Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

"This stunning and magisterial documentary history accumulates and analyzes much evidence never before considered adequately, if at all. The work of fifteen years by assiduous senior historians of slave rebellions, it not only considers the prehistory of the affair but also the long aftermath."--David Moltke-Hansen, editor of William Gilmore Simms’s Unfinished Civil War: Consequences for a Southern Man of Letters

"Will surely become the definitive source on the Vesey conspiracy. Such an impressive assemblage and explication of records show not only how Vesey's actions contributed to America's Civil War but also why he continues to influence us, particularly in the South."--Bernard E. Powers Jr., author of Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885

"Places the Denmark Vesey conspiracy in a broad context. This volume should put to rest the argument by some historians that the conspiracy was little more than 'loose talk' among those held in bondage."--Loren Schweninger, author of Families in Crisis in the Old South: Divorce, Slavery, and the Law


In 1822, thirty-four slaves and their leader, a free black man named Denmark Vesey, were tried and executed for "attempting to raise an insurrection" in Charleston, South Carolina. In The Denmark Vesey Affair, Douglas Egerton and Robert Paquette annotate and interpret a vast collection of contemporary documents that illuminate and contextualize this complicated saga, ultimately arguing that the Vesey plot was one of the most sophisticated acts of collective slave resistance in the history of the United States. This is the definitive account of a landmark event that spurred the South to secession.

Douglas R. Egerton, professor of history at Le Moyne College, is the author of Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America. Robert L. Paquette, executive director of The Alexander Hamilton Institute in Clinton, New York, is coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas.

A volume in the series Southern Dissent, edited by Stanley Harrold and Randall M. Miller
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