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The Peculiar Institution Norton Media Library Chapter 11 Eric Foner

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1 The Peculiar Institution Norton Media Library Chapter 11 Eric Foner

2 I. Frederick Douglass

3 II. The Old South Cotton Is King Strength of slavery rested on cotton
Cotton industry Three-fourths of the world’s cotton supply came from southern United States Cotton supplied textile mills in the North and Great Britain Cotton represented America’s biggest export

4 II. The Old South (con’t)
Slavery and the Nation The North was not immune to slavery Northern merchants and manufactures participated in the slave economy and shared in its profits Slavery shaped the lives of all Americans Southern economic growth was different from that in the North There were few large cities in the South The cities were centers for gathering and shipping cotton The region produced less than 10 percent of the nation’s manufactured goods

5 II. The Old South (con’t)
Plain Folk of the Old South Three out of four white southerners did not own slaves Most white southerners lived on self-sufficient farms in isolated areas and were poorly educated Most supported slavery A few, like Andrew Johnson and Joseph Brown, spoke out against the planter elite Most white southerners supported the planter elite and slavery because of shared bonds of regional loyalty, racism, and kinship ties

6 II. The Old South (con’t)
The Planter Class In 1850, the majority of slaveholding families owned five or fewer slaves Fewer than 2,000 families owned 100 slaves or more Ownership of slaves provided the route to wealth, status, and influence Slavery was a profit-making system Men watched the world market for cotton, invested in infrastructure, and managed their plantations Plantation mistresses cared for sick slaves, oversaw the domestic servants, and supervised the plantation when the master was away Southern slaveowners spent much of their money on material goods

7 II. The Old South (con’t)
The Paternalist Ethos Southern slaveowners were committed to a hierarchical, agrarian society Paternalism was ingrained in slave society Southern men often dueled as part of a code of honor Southern women were often trapped in a “domestic circle” of loneliness

8 II. The Old South (con’t)
The Proslavery Argument Fewer and fewer southerners believed that slavery was a necessary evil Proslavery argument rested on a number of pillars, including a commitment to white supremacy, biblical sanction of slavery, and historical precedent in that slavery was essential to human progress Another proslavery argument held that slavery guaranteed equality for whites

9 II. The Old South (con’t)
Slavery and Liberty White southerners declared themselves the true heirs of the American Revolution Proslavery arguments began to repudiate the ideas in the Declaration of Independence that equality and freedom were universal entitlements John C. Calhoun believed that the language in the Declaration of Independence was indeed dangerous Southern clergymen argued that submission of inferior to superior was a “fundamental law”

10 II. The Old South (con’t)
George Fitzhugh, a Virginia writer, argued that “universal liberty” was the exception, not the rule, and that slaves, because they were not burdened with financial concerns, were the happiest and freest people in the world Abraham Lincoln observed that the proslavery arguments were functioning to serve only the interests of slave owners, who reaped the greatest benefit from the institution By 1830, southerners defended slavery in terms of liberty and freedom—without slavery, freedom was not possible

11 III. Life under Slavery Slaves and the Law
Slaves were considered property and had few legal rights Slaves were not allowed to testify against a white person, carry a firearm, leave the plantation without permission, learn how to read or write, or gather in a group without a white person present, although some of these laws were not always vigorously enforced Masters also controlled whether a slave married and how they spent their free time

12 III. Life under Slavery (con’t)
Celia killed her master while resisting a sexual assault Celia was charged with murder and sentenced to die, but she was pregnant and her execution was delayed until she gave birth, so as not to deny the master his property right Some laws protected slaves against mistreatment American slaves as compared to their counterparts in the West Indies and Brazil enjoyed better diets, lower infant mortality, and longer life expectancies Reasons for the above include the “paternalistic” ethos of the South, the lack of malaria and yellow fever in the South, and the high costs of slaves

13 III. Life under Slavery (con’t)
Improvements in the slaves’ living conditions were meant to strengthen slavery, not undermine it Free Blacks in the Old South By 1860, there were nearly a half million free blacks in the United States and most of them lived in the South Free blacks were not all that free Free blacks were allowed by law to own property, marry, and could not be bought or sold Free blacks were not allowed by law to own a firearm, dog, or liquor. They could not testify in court or serve on a jury. They could not strike a white person, even in self-defense

14 III. Life under Slavery (con’t)
Unlike in Brazil or the West Indies, free blacks in the Old South enjoyed little respect or prosperity, with only a few exceptions The majority of free blacks who lived in the Lower South resided in cities like New Orleans and Charleston, while those living in the Upper South generally lived in rural areas, working for wages as farm laborers

15 III. Life under Slavery (con’t)
Slave Labor Labor occupied most of a slave’s daily existence There were many types of jobs a slave might perform: cutting wood for fuel for steamboats, working in mines, working on docks in seaports, laying railroad track, repairing bridges or roads, and working as skilled artisans

16 III. Life under Slavery (con’t)
Gang Labor and Task Labor Most slaves worked in the fields It is estimated that 75 percent of the women and 90 percent of the men worked as field hands On large plantations they worked in “gangs” under the direction of the overseer, a man who was generally considered cruel by the slaves

17 III. Life under Slavery (con’t)
Slavery in the Cities Most city slaves were servants, cooks, and other domestics Some city slaves were skilled artisans and occasionally lived on their own Maintaining Order The system of maintaining order rested on force There were many tools a master had to maintain order, including whipping, exploiting divisions among slaves, incentives, and the threat of sale

18 IV. Slave Culture The Slave Family
Despite the threat of sale and the fact that marriage was illegal between slaves, many slaves did marry and created families Slave traders gave little attention to preserving family ties Traditional gender roles were not followed in the fields, but during their own time, slaves did fall back on traditional gender roles The family was vital to the carrying down of traditions from parent to child

19 IV. Slave Culture (con’t)
Slave Religion Black Christianity was distinctive and offered hope to the slaves Almost every plantation had its own black preacher Slaves worshipped in biracial churches Free blacks established their own churches Masters viewed Christianity as another means of social control, requiring slaves to attend services conducted by white ministers Many biblical stories offered hope and solace to slaves, including Exodus, David and Goliath, and Jonah and the whale

20 IV. Slave Culture (con’t)
The Desire for Freedom Slave culture rested on a sense of the unjustness of bondage and the desire for freedom Slave folklore glorified the weak over the strong and their spirituals emphasized eventual liberation All slaves saw the injustice of slavery—the hypocrisy of the Declaration of Independence and rhetoric of liberty heard around them only strengthened their desire for freedom

21 V. Resistance to Slavery
Forms of Resistance The most common form of resistance was “silent sabotage”— breaking tools, feigning illness, doing poor work Less common, but more serious forms of resistance included poisoning the master, arson, and armed assaults Fugitive Slaves Slaves had to follow the North Star as their guide Of the estimated 1,000 slaves a year to escape, most left from the Upper South

22 V. Resistance to Slavery (con’t)
In the Deep South, fugitive slaves often escaped to the southern cities, to blend in with the free black population The Underground Railroad was a loose organization of abolitionists who helped slaves escape Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who made twenty trips to Maryland, leading slaves to freedom In 1839, a group of slaves collectively seized their freedom while on board the Amistad

23 V. Resistance to Slavery (con’t)
Slave Revolts 1811 witnessed an uprising on sugar plantations in Louisiana, which saw slaves marching towards New Orleans before militia captured them In 1822, Denmark Vesey was charged with conspiracy and executed in South Carolina Vesey was a religious man who believed the Bible condemned slavery and who saw the hypocrisy of the Declaration of Independence The conspiracy was uncovered before Vesey could act

24 V. Resistance to Slavery (con’t)
Nat Turner’s Rebellion In 1831, Nat Turner and his followers marched through Virginia, attacking white farm families Eighty slaves had joined Turner and sixty whites had been killed (mostly women and children), before militia put down the rebellion Turner was captured and executed Turner’s was the last large-scale rebellion in the South

25 V. Resistance to Slavery (con’t)
Turner’s rebellion sent shock waves through the South Virginia discussed emancipating its slaves, but failed to get enough votes in the House Instead of offering freedom, Virginia tightened its grip on slavery through new laws further limiting slaves’ rights 1831 marked a turning point for the Old South as the white southerners closed ranks and prepared to defend slavery to the end

26 Slave Population, 1860 • pg. 390 Slave Population, 1860

27 Size of Slaveholdings, 1860 • pg. 395

28 Distribution of Free Blacks, 1860 • pg. 404

29 Major Crops of the South, 1860 • pg. 407

30 Table 11.1 • pg. 389

31 Table 11.2 • pg. 394

32 Table 11.3 • pg. 402

33 fig11_05.jpg Page 393: An upcountry family, dressed in homespun, Cedar Mountain, Virginia. Many white families in the pre-Civil War South were largely isolated from the market economy. Credit: Reproduced from the Collection of the Library of Congress, LC-DIG-cwpb

34 fig11_06.jpg Page 396: Model Plantation, an engraving from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, February 6, This portrait of Oak Lawn, a Louisiana sugar plantation, depicts the variety of buildings that could be found on the largest southern estates, including the planter's residence, the slave quarters, the sugar and saw mill, and even a hospital and church. Credit: General Research Division, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundation.

35 fig11_07.jpg Page 397: A pre-Civil War engraving depicting the paternalist ideal by which planters justified the institution of slavery. The old slave in the foreground says, "God Bless you massa! You feed and clothe us, and when too old to work, you provide for us!" The master replies, "These poor creatures are a sacred legacy from my ancestors and while a dollar is left me, nothing shall be spared to increase their comfort and happiness. Credit: Reproduced from the Collection of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division LC-USZC

36 fig11_08.jpg Page 399: Slavery as It Exists in America; Slavery as It Exists in England, a lithograph published in Boston in Illustrating one aspect of the proslavery thought, the artist depicts southern slaves as happy and carefree, while English workers, including children, are victims of the oppressive system of "factory slavery." At the bottom is George Thompson, the English abolitionist who traveled to the United States to lecture against slavery. Credit: Reproduced from the Collection of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division LC-USZ

37 fig11_10.jpg Page 403: A slave nursemaid with a white child, in a photograph from around The unknown photographer highlights the child by allowing the slave's face to be partly obscured, and by hand-coloring the child's dress. Credit: Reproduced from the Collection of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division LOC LC-USZC

38 fig11_13.jpg Page 406 bottom: Detail from Rice Culture on the Ogeechee. Published in the January 5, 1867, issue of Harper’s Weekly, this engraving illustrates work on a rice plantation divided in a checkerboard pattern by irrigation ditches. Although a white person is present, most slaves in the rice fields worked under the task system, without daily oversight. Credit: Corbis.

39 fig11_14.jpg Page 408: A Public Whipping of Slaves in Lexington, Missouri, in 1856, an illustration from the abolitionist publication, The Suppressed Book about Slavery. Whipping was a common form of punishment for slaves in the Old South. Credit: Reproduced from the Collection of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ

40 fig11_17.jpg Page 410: Kitchen Ball at White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, an 1838 painting by the German-born American artist Christian Mayr. Fashionably dressed domestic slaves celebrate the wedding of a couple, dressed in white at the center. Credit: North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, Purchased with funds from the State of North Carolina.

41 fig11_22.jpg Page 419: An engraving depicting Nat Turner's slave rebellion of 1831, from a book published soon after the revolt. Credit: Reproduced from the Collection of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division LC-USZ

42 Go to website

43 Give Me Liberty! An American History
End chap. 11 W. W. Norton & Company Independent and Employee-Owned This concludes the Norton Media Library Slide Set for Chapter 11 Give Me Liberty! An American History by Eric Foner

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