A case study of who could and who couldn’t be a slave in the deeply regrettable practice of the early United States. Upon it’s formation, lawyers and judges created an extensive jurisprudence regulating every detail of the ownership of and trade in human beings. The most fundamental legal issue with regard to the ownership of slaves is who can and who cannot be enslaved. Under the law of the United States and the various slave states, a full-blooded white person could be indentured but not enslaved. Thus a slave who could establish his racial whiteness was entitled to immediate freedom. The case discussed in The Lost German Slave Girl was about this legal process.