Slavery’s Expansion

Readings  and Resources to Consult for this work

  • 1. U.S. History OpenStax textbook, pgs: 301-326
  • 2. These Maps Reveal How Slavery Expanded Across the United States:

  • 3. Interview with Matthew Karp on his pathbreaking new book, This Vast Southern Empire

Booked: When Slaveholders Controlled the Government, with Matthew Karp

  • 4. The Brazilian Town Where the Confederacy Still Lives on

  • 5. Map Showing the Spread of Slavery


In 2016, Historian Matthew Karp released a pathbreaking new book which showed that Southern U.S. Slaveholders were not solely interested in maintaining slavery, but rather envisioned a “Vast Southern Empire” which sought to expand slavery out West, into Latin America, while using U.S. foreign policy, the navy, and the political system to spread slavery across these international borders. In particular, U.S. Slaveholders did not view slavery as an outmoded or outdated system but rather as a thoroughly modern system of civilization that would be spread throughout the Western Hemisphere.


In a response that is at least 250 words and pulls from the readings and resources listed up above, respond to this prompt:

What patterns or trends do you notice regarding slavery’s expansion? And how do these recent historical findings regarding U.S. Slaveholders international vision of slavery challenge or shape our historical understandings of U.S. Slavery?

Lastly, was there anything that shocked you or changed the way you thought about slavery and U.S. History from these readings and resources