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The Peculiar Institution: Southern Slavery

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1 The Peculiar Institution: Southern Slavery
Chapter 18 The Peculiar Institution: Southern Slavery

2 Southern Antislavery Emancipation in early Republic
North uses gradual emancipation South sees some support for emancipation Southerners on slavery and abolition South fears moral consequences South sees blacks as inferior South fears large black population South sees themselves as protectors

3 Southern Antislavery (cont.’d)
American Colonization Society Encourages owners to free slaves Encourages emigration to Liberia Unrealistic due to numbers Little support among African Americans The last debate, December 1831 Virginia considers gradual abolition Seriously debates issues Loses by fairly close margin Last rational southern debate on issue

4 Threats to Southern Order
Fear of rebellion Haiti revolt, 1798 Gabriel plans revolt, 1800 Denmark Vesey plans revolt, 1822 Nat Turner’s Rebellion Turner: literate, religious fanatic, slave Turner’s visions inspire revolt Rebels kill 60 whites; revolt ends South becomes terrified of revolts

5 The South Closes Ranks South protects “peculiar institution”
South insulated from outside ideas South depicts slavery as a positive good South reforms slave codes Suppression Distribution of abolitionist literature forbidden Passage of “gag rule” in House of Representatives Slavery as a “positive good” Thomas Roderick Dew: superior labor system John C. Calhoun: “a positive good” George Fitzhugh, sociologist A Sociology for the South Slaves have better life than northern laborers Slaves cared for all of their lives

6 The South Closes Ranks (cont.’d)
The Bible, the Ancients and Culture Stated Bible approved slavery Pointed to great Greek and Roman societies having slaves More southerners college educated Believed descendents of aristocracy Race as Trump Card Fitzhugh again said slavery protected blacks Josiah Nott measured skull size to try and justify Slave management New emphasis on providing basic necessities to slaves Healthy slaves provide better workers Better treatment also response to abolitionists

7 The South Closes Ranks (cont.’d)
Slave control Harder to set slaves free Illegal to teach slaves to read Slave patrols keep slaves on plantation Masters control religious teachings

8 “What was slavery like?”
Conflicting images of slavery Romantic view of warmth between master and slave Abolitionist view of horrible inhumane acts Minstrel “blackface” performers Provide light entertainment Perform songs in dialect Project racist stereotypes Depict slaves as carefree Stephen Foster Composer, romanticizes slavery in song Depicts warm relationships Creates nostalgia for Old South

9 What was Slavery like? (cont.’d)
Slave traders Slaves chattel property Slave trade very ugly Slave auctions very crude Trade flows from upper to lower South

10 Life in the Quarters Life in the quarters Slaves have no civil rights
Cannot own property, marry, learn to read Cannot leave plantation, congregate, etc. Rights only to life and minimum subsistence

11 Life in the Quarters Humans Without Rights Diverse Institution
Master cannot legally kill slave Slave dying during punishment not murder Whipping most common punishment Slaves too expensive to mistreat to point of death Diverse Institution Many owners maintain higher standards of treatment Small owners often develop “partnership” with slaves Rations tend to be better on large plantations Some masters permit slaves more rights

12 Protest Slaves found ways to protest Runaways constant problem
Malingering normal Thieving common Runaways constant problem Clear indication of slave discontent Success hard outside of border states Underground railway Harriet Tubman

13 Protest (cont.’d) Most slaves Protestant Christians
Typically Baptist or Methodist Identify with ancient Hebrews Express discontent in sermons, spirituals Protest through folk tales Br’er Rabbit stories (Uncle Remus) Roots in West African folklore Weak outwit the strong

14 Protest (cont.’d) The slave community
Slaves present different face to whites Slave family vital force Two-parent families typical Slave population grew through reproduction

15 ©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license. Map 18:1 – Liberia Founded 1821

16 Discussion Questions Describe and explain how southerners justified slavery. Examine slave rebellions in American history. Why were Southerners so afraid of slave rebellion? Were any of these rebellions successful? What was the gag rule? How and why were southern politicians so willing to curtail all discussion of slavery? What steps were slave-owners willing to go to control slaves? How effective were these methods?

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