Broke By The War
Letters of a Slave Trader
Edited and introduced by Edmund L. Drago, McElveen's letters give the modern reader an opportunity to view Old South slave trading through the eyes of a representative participant. As Drago recounts, the Civil War decimated McElveen's finances and left him, as described years later by a credit investigator, simply as "broke by the war—old man."
About the Author
"Drago has done an excellent job editing these letters and has written a lucid introduction. He provides background information on the letters, the two traders, the Charleston market, and the South Carolina countryside where McElveen conducted his business. . . . One is struck by McElveen's impersonal approach toward the buying and selling of slaves. The statements and questions raised in his letters are exactly those one might expect of any entrepreneur seeking to buy low and sell high."—Journal of Economic History
"A fascinating collection of letters. . . . Admirably edited, Drago's volume sheds much light on the trials and tribulations of an Old South would-be, the insidious world in which he operated, and the victims of his business activities. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of slavery or slave trading in the antebellum South."—Journal of Southern History
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