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Freedom Bound: Law, Labor, and Civic Identity in Colonizing English America, 1580-1865

by Christopher Tomlins

Freedom Bound is about the origins of modern America - a history of colonizing, work, and civic identity from the beginnings of English presence on the mainland until the Civil War. It is a history of migrants and migrations, of colonizers and colonized, of households and servitude and slavery, and of the freedom all craved and some found. Above all it is a history of the law that framed the entire process. Freedom Bound tells how colonies were planted in occupied territories, how they were populated with migrants - free and unfree - to do the work of colonizing, and how the newcomers secured possession. It tells of the new civic lives that seemed possible in new commonwealths, and of the constraints that kept many from enjoying them. It follows the story long past the end of the eighteenth century until the American Civil War, when - just for a moment - it seemed that freedom might finally be unbound.

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