As survivals from an archaic order, serfdom and slavery had common conflicts with a modern world of nineteenth century capitalism and simultaneously faced crises that ended with abolition of the two systems. But they faced their mid-century crises in very different ways.... Southern slaveholders developed a far more cohesive world and much more power over it than did the noblemen in their world. By mid-century slavery was flourishing as never before, and serfdom was staggering toward bankruptcy. The aggressive vitality of the planter aristocrats in defense of their society and their spirited commitment to slavery as a way of life contrasted sharply with the submissiveness and withering support of serfdom on the part of the Russian nobility.
C. Vann Woodward (b. 1908), U.S. historian, educator. Review of Peter Kolchin, Unfree Labor: American Slavery and Russian Serfdom. "The Lash and the Knout," The Future of the Past, Oxford University Press (1989).