Joshua Rothman chairs the history department at the University of Alabama, where he is also a professor of history specializing in nineteenth-century America and the history of race and slavery. He is the author of Notorious in the Neighborhood: Sex and Families across the Color Line in Virginia, 1787–1861 (2003); Reforming America, 1815–1860 (2009); and Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson (2012), which won the Gulf South Historical Association's Michael Thomason Book Award and the Southern Historical Association's Frank L. and Harriet C. Owsley Prize. His forthcoming book, The Ledger and the Chain: How Domestic Slave Traders Shaped America, will be published in 2021.
Between 1800 and 1860, slaveholders and slave traders forcibly moved roughly one million enslaved people from the upper South to the lower South in one of the most significant demographic and economic shifts in American history. This lecture traces the ebbs and flows of the domestic slave trade over the course of time and assesses its significance for understanding the broader history of the United States.