Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Walter Johnson refers to Joseph Holt Ingraham’s work, ‘The Southwest by a Yankee’ (1835) Johnson states that there is no more important topic in relation.

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Walter Johnson refers to Joseph Holt Ingraham’s work, ‘The Southwest by a Yankee’ (1835) Johnson states that there is no more important topic in relation."— Presentation transcript:


2 Walter Johnson refers to Joseph Holt Ingraham’s work, ‘The Southwest by a Yankee’ (1835) Johnson states that there is no more important topic in relation to slavery than the topic approached by Ingraham regarding ‘the relation of slavery to race… of the process of economic exploitation to the ideology of racial domination’

3 2 main views taken by historians regarding this issue: 1)‘slavery was built out of race’ - there was already a culturally based prejudice against “blackness” as well as a religiously motivated desire to dominate Africans 2)‘slavery was first and foremost an economic system’ - the belief that exploitation preceded racialization, and racism and alleged inferiority only became relevant later, when assertions of human equality came into play

4 Evidence that Ideas of Race Shaped Slavery in the Antebellum South Biblical justifications of the enslavement of the “Sons of Ham” preached in Church, courtroom cases concerning racial identity were argued in terms of blood quantum and behaviour, and there was constant racial stereotyping and racist jokes Johnson refers to racial “knowledge” shared by experienced slave buyers in the South, ‘by which southern slavery was justified and defended’

5 Ignorant Racial Assumptions Samuel Cartwright’s publication, “All Negroes are not equally black – the blacker the stronger” Slaves were often assigned skills on the basis of their skin colour Lighter skin was generally associated with skilled work, and darker skin with field labouring Association of whiteness with intelligence Complex notions of colour and its implications

6 There also existed a belief that ‘slaves’ bad behaviour was a matter of nature’ Misbehaviour was often attributed to an inward disposition of character, and it was assumed that there was something biologically “bad” about slaves Cartwright publicly attributed “rascality” to mental disease to which he claimed had physiological cures Widespread notions of biological racism and racial ideologies were quoted and used to the advantage of slave buyers or sellers when negotiating prices

7 The “outsider” Paul Lovejoy has affirmed that: It was often preferable for slave owners to attain slaves who were clearly ‘outsiders’, and who had different cultural and religious views, as well as a different language and ethnic origin This made it easier for slave owners to justify the act of slavery based on the grounds of the inferiority of the slave The more different the slave was to the owner’s notion of “civility”, the easier to deem inferior. Once slaves became more integrated into North American culture, it became more and more difficult to view them with this clear-cut ‘outsider’ status

8 David Eltis has referred to financial disadvantages of importing slaves from West Africa European slaves would probably have been more profitable in colonial North America Despite the additional expense of shipping costs, and the extra time needed to sail to America via Africa, West Africans remained to be the sole source of slavery in N. America and GB Therefore, racial prejudice was crucial

9 Similarly… Winthrop Jordan has affirmed that English and Irish servants were available for labour, most of which would have been helpless to resist enslavement had their masters chosen to take such a course of action That European servants were never used as slaves is clear evidence that there was undoubtedly a very prevalent racial element to slavery in colonial North America

10 Why Africans were Considered to be Inferior Religious differences - ‘to be Christian was to be civilized rather than barbarous, English rather than African, white rather than black’ (Jordan). Belief in white Adam and Eve Cultural customs – some African traditions and customs were seen as barbaric by visiting Brits Pre-conceived negative connotations with the colour black, and associations with sin and evil were subsequently attached to the dark-skinned Africans Therefore, indisputably racist attitudes upon incorporating the slave trade into colonial North America

11 To Conclude… There was economic benefit to slavery Obvious advantages of using slavery over indentured servitude, life-long commitment of slaves, extremely cheap to maintain etc. But why did they look to West Africa to gain this free labour? Because of pre-conceived ideas of racial inferiority Promoted widespread belief that Africans were inferior to Europeans in order to ever justify their treatment of them as chattel

12 However… Fair to say that the popularisation of slavery in N. America did further the already racist views regarding Africans The Western world definitely have pre-conceived concepts of white superiority prior to slavery, which is why they went to Africa when deciding to market mass slave trade But when slavery was so dominant in N. America, these notions were widely publicised and “confirmed” Children brought up believing in the inferiority of black people because they were slaves “Evidence” presented to support notions of inferiority, and so the ignorance spread

13 ‘Mutual Causation’ Winthrop Jordan’s concept of ‘mutual causation’ ‘racial prejudice and the Negro’s lowly position are widely accepted as constantly reinforcing each other’

Download ppt "Walter Johnson refers to Joseph Holt Ingraham’s work, ‘The Southwest by a Yankee’ (1835) Johnson states that there is no more important topic in relation."

Similar presentations

Ads by Google