Drew Gilpin

Drew Gilpin's Analysis of the Silver Bluff Plantation

Drew Gilpin is attempting to analyze the accounts that the heir to the renowned Silver Bluff or "Antebellum Plantation" kept in his personal journal regarding the happenings that took place on his plantation right in front of his eyes. She makes an effort to critically explain through a broad analytical stance how James Henry Hammond attempts to overcome the obstacles he encountered while acting as the administrator for Silver Bluff, the progress he makes, and the subsequent consequences that encounter the discordant slaves.

Cultural Elements and Inheritance

Drew focuses on various cultural elements that take center stage once a new administration takes over following the death of the proprietor, Christopher Fitzsimons, who a charismatic merchant at Charleston. He was in a position to purchase the Silver Bluff but soon died and the custody of the property fell into the hands of his sons and daughter, Catherine. The sons had neither skill nor interest in running the business. James Henry Hammond inherited the property by virtue of having tied a knot with Catherine who was a daughter of the owner of the farm. We are led to understand that inheritance is the core aspect of the culture of the society that is being discussed. We are presented with a case that we see how Hammond is struggling to keep the property that he has been left with in order. He inherits 10,800 acres of land, a dwelling, and 147 black slaves.


Drew tries to underscore the core subject of slavery and slave ownership that was so notoriously prevalent in the 1800s. Hammond had inherited 147 bondsmen who did work on the farm by tilling the land and picking bolls of cotton. There are various mistreatments that they received in the line of duty. The slaves were subjected to hard labor. They were supposed never to raise any grievance. They are denied their right to worship. This manifested when Hammond imposes rules and regulations that try quash the existence of black churches or any evening meetings by the bondsmen. They are whipped and forced to go to the field after their Christmas Holiday is curtailed abruptly despite their protests. They are only supposed to attend to churches that are ministered by white ministers. The black slaves have their own organized system through which they collude to defy the pressure from the system. Hammond fails terribly to control or eliminate the black worship because of the intricateness and well-designed organization of the slaves. We see how Hammond tries to play holy by rewarding his bondsmen so that he can be considered a "grantor of justice" and not the one who makes rules so that he can win the support and trust from his slaves. All his efforts fall on deaf ears and everything becomes futile. He fails to achieve full control of his slaves because they identify more with themselves than with their master. This is because there exists an unfathomable rift that occurs between the master and the slave. The slaves are more united in the plight up to an extent that they can house even the runaways.


Drew tries to elucidate the issue of religion that existed in Silver Bluff. The master felt that the Black religion had a lot of "religious excesses" such as a mixture of "hysteria and conversion". That was a dangerous stereotypic perception that they had about the African religion. They felt that the white religion more superior to the African religion. Hammond feared also that he was going to lose contact with the control of the premises. He thought it wise to open St. Catherine's so that he could ensure that they left their belief in African religion because the preaching was white-oriented and hence he thought that the bondsmen will be brainwashed and then follow the white counsel freely. Finally, Hammond’s deal is never sealed but it rather backfires and he finds himself at the losing end.


Drew tries to elaborate the aspect of leadership through inheritance. Hammond does not have leadership skills but he is faced with a daunting opportunity where he needs to carry the mantle. He inherits Silver Bluff plantation from his father-in-law and he has one hundred and forty-seven to man. He tries to impose stiff rules so that he can quell a rebellion to his directives but fails. That is confirmed by the fact that all his efforts bear no fruit as the slaves continue to consolidate more power in the secretly organized meetings. The slaves have braved the beating and the lashings because of the determination they have to rule themselves. Hammond relies on pieces of advice from friends to run the business.


There are two culture clashes in the essay. This is depicted by the aspect where by the Black Africans are adhering to their way of life despite the fact that they are away from home. They go the African folk lore in their daily operation. They resort to local methods of offering medication because they lost trust in the medical care that is offered by the conventional medics who fail to reduce the number of deaths of slaves. The number deaths increase considerably as opposed births. This alludes to the deficiency of knowledge by the doctors that have exacerbated in the death of the slaves. Instead of improving the health condition for the bondsmen, he instead continues to buy more slaves so as to replace those that have died. The slaves resort to local medication that is deeply seated in the African Culture. This has been depicted by the "voodoos". The concepts of African medical ideas and customs are propagated among the people. When conventional medicine failed, Hammond went for "Botanical medical sources".


The resource material used has by Drew Gilpin Faust helps in exhaust the conflicts that have handled the plight that met the slaves who were sold to the Americas. The challenges that they were to tackle are well illustrated and the measure they took to address their problems has been exhaustively revisited. This helps in providing the relevance of the condition in the current times so that people can borrow a leaf and turn over a new leaf.

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