Presentation on theme: "The “Old South”: An Illusion of Unity The “Solid South” has always been more fiction than fact—even in the years just prior to the Civil War."— Presentation transcript:
The “Old South”: An Illusion of Unity The “Solid South” has always been more fiction than fact—even in the years just prior to the Civil War.
I. The Unifying Element: Slavery Reason for slavery in the Antebellum Deep South Slavery in the Upper South Population growth lagging behind the North Distinctively Southern
II. Geographic Divisions
A. Upper South What states are we talking about? Agricultural diversity Important source of slaves for the Deep South -- “Sold down the river” A lot in common with the Northwest—Where did the future lie for this region?
B. The Cotton Kingdom What states are we talking about? Climate suitable for plantation agriculture and the growth of predominantly cash crops Economies of scale in cotton production Cotton was an economical crop to keep gang labor busy Cotton belt moved westward over time
B. Cotton Kingdom (cont.) Explosion in the production of cotton Boom and bust cycles in cotton production Deep South agriculture was anything but a single crop system Calls for southern industrialization (more true of the Upper South) Was slavery profitable? Deep South remained backward economically
III. Slaveholding Society: “Hidden Fracture” in the Class Structure
A. The Planter Class Slavery created the illusion of white equality while actually creating severe inequality Number of southern planters Picture of the typical southern planter
A. The Planter Class (cont.) Aspired to a social status similar to European nobility The Planter’s Family Southern “cult of honor” The violent side of southern plantation life
B. Planter/Slave Relations A paternalistic relationship Slaves treated on the whole better than in other slaveholding societies Length of a slave’s day Problems with disease Feeding and clothing the slaves The circumstances for slave children Varying relationships with the master Disciplining Slave Labor
C. The World of the Non-Planter Whites The life of the Non-Planter, slave-owning whites Most slave preferred life on the larger plantations The life of the non-slaveholding family farmer—the “yeoman” farmer The People of the Pine Barrens Why no opposition to slavery in the south?
IV. Ideological Tension in the Old South Defense of slavery before “necessary evil” A crucial shift: 1831 Defense of slavery after “a positive good” -- Cannibals All! Or Slaves Without Masters (1857) The inherent problem with “states rights” thinking
V. The World the Slaves Made
A. Slave Resistance Open Rebellion --Richmond, Va. (1800): Gabriel Prosser --Charleston, S.C. (1822): Denmark Vesey --Southampton, Va. (1831): Nat Turner Run Away Passive Resistance -- “Puttin’ one over on Ole Massah”
B. The Free Black Experience Number of Free Blacks in U.S. in 1860 Social and political outcasts wherever they lived Semi-slaves in the south Large number of mulattoes in southern cities Famous Free Black Abolitionists
B. The Free Black Experience (cont.) Douglass’ North Star (1847) Freedom always at risk Some slaves and Free Blacks in the south supported the planter regime Dramatic rescues of fugitive slaves -- Rescue of Shadrack (1851)
C. African-American Slave Religion Inner resources and dignity to resist slavery Cornerstone of emerging African-American culture Free Blacks formed the first African-American denominations --A.M.E. Church (1816) Slave Religion Popular Themes
D. Slave Family Life Strength of slave marriages Close, affectionate relationships Greatest fear = break-up by sale Importance of extended families Vehicle for the transmission of the African-American folk tradition