This post is for historians of American slavery.
I was recently teaching the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and a student mentioned that he was surprised by this passage:
“Moreover, slaves are like other people, and imbibe prejudices quite common to others. They think their own better than that of others. Many, under the influence of this prejudice, think their own masters are better than the masters of other slaves; and this, too, in some cases, when the very reverse is true. Indeed, it is not uncommon for slaves even to fall out and quarrel among themselves about the relative goodness of their masters, each contending for the superior goodness of his own over that of the other…They seemed to think that the greatness of their masters was transferable to themselves. It was considered as being bad enough to be a slave, but to be a poor man’s slave was deemed a disgrace indeed!”
Does anyone know of any historical scholarship that addresses what is happening in this passage as a form of “Stockholm Syndrome?” I am not interested here in whether or not you think Stockholm syndrome was occurring here. I am interested in whether mainstream American historical scholarship uses the category of “Stockholm Syndrome” to explain what is happening here.