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Currier & Ives, Cotton Plantation. Growing Black Population  600% increase in black population, 179 0-1860  Less than 700,000 in 1790; 4 million by.

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Presentation on theme: "Currier & Ives, Cotton Plantation. Growing Black Population  600% increase in black population, 179 0-1860  Less than 700,000 in 1790; 4 million by."— Presentation transcript:

1 Currier & Ives, Cotton Plantation

2 Growing Black Population  600% increase in black population,  Less than 700,000 in 1790; 4 million by 1860  1 out of every 3 Southerners – majority in Mississippi & South Carolina  Mostly due to natural increase - only 50,000 smuggled in after 1808  260,000 free blacks by 1860 (6% of black population)  Over 10% of all blacks free by 1810, but many states forbade manumission in 1820s-1830s  Required to carry papers & very limited in rights  Could own slaves – 3,200 did so  Many were mulattoes

3 Population of the Southern States

4 Blacks in the North  Northern states phased out slavery  Penn. (1780), N.Y. (1799), Conn. & N.J. (1804) provided for gradual abolition – almost all free by 1840  Mass. Supreme Court ruled slavery violated state constitution in 1781  Slavery barred from Northwest Territory (1787)  Over 3/5 of Northern blacks lived in cities  Most were unskilled laborers  Only 5 states allowed black men to vote

5 The Rise of King Cotton  Eli Whitney’s cotton ‘gin made it possible to profitably grow short-staple cotton.  Annual production soared:  1790 – 3,000 bales  1810 – 178,000 bales  1860 – 4 million bales  By 1860, South grew 75% of world’s cotton. Eli Whitney’s Cotton ‘Gin

6 The Cotton Kingdom  Over ½ grown in Ala., Miss. & La.  ¾ grown by slaves  1 million slaves moved to new western plantations,  Mostly young adults  60-70% sold  Equal sex ratio, except for sugar plantations

7 Plantation Profits  Capitalist agriculture  8% annual return on investment,  Demand rose 5% annually  Benefited rest of U.S.  Cotton = 60% of U.S. exports by 1840  South became prime market for Northern manufactured goods  Hampered economic development of South  Few factories  No public education Main Plantation Crops

8 Slaveowning Concentrated in Wealthy Hands  Only 26% of Southern white families owned slaves by 1860  Majority of slaveowners had 5 or fewer  2.7% owned 50 or more  0.1% owned 200 or more  Average wealth of slaveowners was 13.9 times that of non-slaveowners  Majority of slaves lived on middling or large holdings  25% on small holdings (1-9 slaves)  50% on middling holdings (10-49 slaves)  25% on large holdings (50 or more)

9 Plantation Life  Supervision varied by size:  Resident masters supervised smaller plantations (under 30 slaves)  Hired overseers ran larger ones  Foremen (drivers) often slaves  Lenient treatment mixed with harsh punishment  Typical rations = 1 peck of cornmeal & lb.s of bacon per week; 4 suits of clothing per year  Each family had small wooden cabin, cleaned regularly to protect health  Sundays & Saturday afternoons off

10 Slave Quarters, Carter’s Grove Plantation, Virginia

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12 Life as a Slave  Nuclear families with 7 children on average  Masters encouraged monogamy to maintain order  most escapees were young, unmarried men  Economic imperatives took precedence, however  1/3 of all slave marriages broken up by sale of spouses in Upper South  almost ½ of all children separated from at least 1 parent  Distinction between field slaves & house slaves real, but exaggerated  Field slaves (75%) had more freedom but worse conditions  House slaves (25%) had better conditions but less freedom Picking cotton

13 The Paradox of Black - White Relations  Dialectical relationship  Each shaped the other  Blacks contributed to broader American culture while creating separate subculture  Whites could never resolve inherent contradictions of slavery  Philosophical contradiction: rests on assumption that one man completely surrenders his will and becomes an extension of another man’s will  Legal contradiction: slaves simultaneously people & property Plantation near Richmond, VA

14 Justifications for Slavery  Racism – blacks seen as lazy & childlike  Argued slavery civilized & Christianized them  Argued only whipping would make slaves work  Christian Religion  Believed Bible condoned slavery  Thought “Curse of Ham” (Gen. 9:20-27) justified it  Feudal Myth  claimed reciprocal relationship – provided for slaves’ needs in exchange for devoted service  Paternalistic care contrasted with “inhumane” treatment of Northern factory workers

15 Woodcuts from Josiah Priest, In Defense of Slavery

16 Blacks’ View of Slavery  Rejected racism, but learned to conform to whites’ expectations to avoid punishment  Saw Christianity as affirming their equality & offering promise of earthly freedom as well as heavenly redemption  Blacks neither grateful for care, nor considered it payment – viewed it as fundamental right  Used whites’ rhetoric of feudalism to demand better treatment  Appreciated “good” masters & accepted punishment when deserved Slave manacles

17 Extremely Unfavorable Conditions for Rebellion  High ratio of whites to blacks, unlike rest of the Americas  Small size & dispersed nature of most slaveholdings  Well-armed resident masters who kept close watch on their property  Political stability (except during the Revolutionary & Civil Wars)

18 Running Away  50,000 slaves ran away each year  75% of escaped slaves were in teens or 20s  Most returned to families or tried to pass as free blacks in cities  Some went “on strike” to negotiate better conditions Underground Railroad map

19 Effects of Slavery on White Relationships  All whites got benefits of being part of the “master race”  Racism used to keep nonslaveholding white majority in favor of system  All white men expected to ride slave patrols  Concept of chivalry defined women as weak & in need of protection from rapacious black men  Women had to endure husbands’ raping of female slaves  Women often biggest critics of slavery as a result – e.g. Sarah & Angelina Grimke


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