Cambridge University Press
In Masterless Men Keri Leigh Merritt reinvigorates the debate over white class relations in the antebellum South, and particularly the impact of slavery on poor whites. In many ways the book is an extended discussion of Hinton Rowan Helper’s Impending Crisis of the South, with Merritt concluding that Helper was more accurate than even previously sympathetic historians realized when he argued for the devastating effects of slavery on white workers. Along the way Merritt also engages several classic debates in southern historiography, including the nature of slavery as a capitalist economic system, the extent of white class self-awareness and conflict, and the reasons for secession.
Olsen, Christopher J.
"Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South,"
Civil War Book Review: Vol. 20
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cwbr/vol20/iss3/27