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The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793 - 1860.

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Presentation on theme: "The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793 - 1860."— Presentation transcript:

1 The South and the Slavery Controversy

2 King Cotton  Early years of slavery –Southern statesmen talked openly of freeing their slaves & predicted slavery would gradually die out  Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin –1793 –Short-stapled cotton –Cotton became the dominant southern crop –“slaves were chained to the gin, and the planters were chained to the slaves” –Increased the demand for slaves

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4 Slaves ginning cotton The invention of the cotton gin and the spread of cotton agriculture throughout the American south created an enormous new demand for slave workers and changed the nature of their work. A handful of slaves could process large amounts of fiber using the revolutionary new machine, but it took armies of field workers to produce the raw cotton. (Library of Congress) Slaves ginning cotton Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

5 Cotton is King  Northern shippers reaped profits from the cotton trade –Prosperity of both North & South rested on slavery  Cotton counted for half the value of all American exports after 1840 –South produced more than ½ of the world’s cotton supply  Britain received about 75% of their cotton from the South –Even foreign nations were held in partial bondage –What does this mean?

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7 Impact for Foreign Nations  If war broke out between North & South: –Northern warships would cut off the outflow of cotton –British factories would close –Starving mobs would force London gov’t to break the blockade –South would triumph

8 The Planter “Aristocracy”  Oligarchy –heavily influenced by planter aristocracy  1850 –1,733 families owned more than 100 slaves each –This group provided the political & social leadership of the South and the nation  Life for the aristocracy –Educated their children in the best schools –Leisure for study, reflection, & statecraft Felt a sense of obligation to serve the public

9 Life in the South  Public education was hampered –Rich planters sent their children to private institutions  Medievalism – example: jousting tournaments  Southern women –Commanded the household staff – mostly female slaves –Virtually no slaveholding woman believed in abolitionism

10 Virginia Planter's Family by August Köllner, 1845 As August Köllner's 1845 painting shows, a southern woman was expected to be a loving and subservient wife to her plantation husband, but she was also expected to be a harsh mistress toward her black servants. ("Virginia Planters Family" by A. Kollner, Library of Congress) Virginia Planter's Family by August Köllner, 1845 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

11 Nurse and charge Slavery did not prevent white children and their slave nurses from forming attachments to each other. (Valentine Museum, Cook Collection) Nurse and charge Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

12 Cotton & the Land  Excessive cultivation / “land butchery” –Result: many moved to the West & Northwest  Smaller land owners sold land to more prosperous neighbors –Big got bigger & the small got smaller  Financial instability –Many were in debt – too much land & slaves –Slaves were costly – food, injury, death Retirement plan  Dependence on a one-crop economy –Price levels varied –Discouraged diversification of agriculture & manufacturing

13 Problems with Cotton  Many Southerners resented watching the North grow fat at their expense –Commissions & interest to northern middlemen, bankers, agents, & shippers  Cotton repelled large-scale European immigration –Discouraged by the competition of slave labor –High cost of land –European ignorance of cotton farming –* White South became the most Anglo- Saxon section of the nation*

14 Slaveowning Families 1850 p. 353  1,733 owned 100 or more slaves  6,196 owned slaves  29,733 owned slaves  54,595 owned slaves  80,765 owned 5-9 slaves  105,683 owned 2-4 slaves  68,820 owned 1 slave each

15 The White Majority  Only ¼ of white southerners owned slaves or belonged to a slave-owning family  Small slaveowners - majority of the masters –Typically small farmers –Lived in modest farmhouses & sweated beside slaves in the fields  ¾ of white southerners owned NO slaves –6.1 million in 1860 –Redneck / subsistence farmers raised corn & hogs –Lived isolated lives

16 Ye Southern Planter 1838, artist unknown Despite the popular image that antebellum planters lived lives of idle luxury in great mansions, most actually lived in modest homes and worked alongside their employees and slaves, as this 1838 painting by an anonymous artist shows. (Dr. Richard Saloom) Ye Southern Planter 1838, artist unknown Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

17 White Majority conti  Poor white trash/ hillbillies/ crackers/ clay eaters –Nonslaveholding –Least prosperous  Whites without slaves were stoutest defenders of the slave system –Hope of buying a slave – “American Dream” –Pride in their presumed racial superiority –*Logic of economics join with the illogic of racism*

18 White Majority conti  Mountain whites –Appalachian mountains – western VA to northern GA & Alabama –Independent farmers –Little in common with other whites –Hated planters & slavery –Most were Unionists in the Civil War

19 Free Blacks  South’s Free Blacks – 250,000 by 1860  Many were mulattoes –Usually children of white planters & his black mistress  Some had purchased their freedom –Labor after hours  Many owned property – especially in New Orleans  Some even owned slaves

20 Free Blacks conti  “Third Race” –Prohibited from working certain occupations –Forbidden to testify against whites in court –Vulnerable to being highjacked back into slavery –Were resented & detested by defenders of slavery –Several states forbade their entrance –Denied the right to vote –Barred from public school

21 Prejudices in the North  Northern blacks - hated by Irish immigrants –competition for menial jobs  Fear of slavery spreading into the new territories: –Grew out of race prejudice not humanitarianism  Fredrick Douglas –Several times mobbed & beaten by people in the North

22 Plantation Slavery  Slaves were a major investment  Primary source of wealth / Investment –$2 billion of southern capitol in 1860 –$1,800 prime field hand by 1860  1860 – 4 million slaves  African slave trade ended in 1808 –Smuggling began/ Punishable by death  Natural reproduction –Women who bore 13+ children were prized

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24 Slavery conti  1860 – Deep South states owned about ½ of all slaves- (Map p. 365) –SC, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, & Louisiana  Slave auctions –Brutal – families were separated  Harriet Beecher Stowe – Uncle Tom’s Cabin

25 The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave by Henry Byam Martin, 1833 White southerners could not escape the fact that much of the Western world loathed their "peculiar institution." In 1833, when a Canadian sketched this Charleston slave auction, Britain abolished slavery in the West Indies. (National Archives of Canada) The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave by Henry Byam Martin, 1833 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

26 Life Under the Lash  Slaveowners romanticized about their happy slaves  Conditions for slaves –Varied greatly –Hard work, ignorance, & oppression –Dawn to dusk in the fields under the eye of an overseer –No civil or political rights –Minimal protection from murder or usually cruel punishment – laws were difficult to enforce Some states prevented the sale of a slave under the age of 10 –Floggings were common However, the typical planter had too much invested in their slave to beat too severally or too often

27 Torture Mask, woodcut, 1807 The laws of southern states had long stipulated that masters could use whatever means they deemed necessary to prevent slave runaways and insolence. In the early 1800s, some planters adopted this so-called restraining mask to punish slaves. (Library of Congress) Torture Mask, woodcut, 1807 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

28 Life of Slaves conti  Most lived in the Deep South –Slaves- 75% of population in some places  Majority lived on larger plantations – 20+ –Developed communities  Managed to sustain family life –Most were raised with both parents  Distinctive African American culture –Religious practices –Mix of Christian & African elements Emphasized captivity of the Israelites

29 The Burdens of Bondage  Degrading  Deprived of dignity & sense of responsibility  Denied an education –Reading brought ideas, & ideas brought discontent –Illegal in most states  No chance at the “American Dream”

30 The Power of the Slaves  Slaves often slowed the pace of their labor to the barest minimum that would spare them the lash –Myth of black “laziness”  Stole food from the “big house”  Sabotaged equipment  Occasionally poisoned master’s food  Runaway –Often looking for separated family members

31 Slave Rebellions  1800 – Gabriel in Richmond, VA –Informers told of plot –Leaders were hanged  1822 – Denmark Vesey in Charleston, SC –Free blacks & slaves –30 hanged  1831 – Nat Turner in Hampton County, VA –Visionary preacher –Led uprising that slaughtered about 60 Virginians –Received death penalty

32 Nat Turner, artist unknown No pictures of famed slave revolt leader Nat Turner are known to exist, but this nineteenth-century painting illustrates how one artist imagined the appearance of Turner and his fellow conspirators. White southerners lived in terror of scenes such as this and passed severe laws designed to prevent African Americans from ever having such meetings. (Granger Collection) Nat Turner, artist unknown Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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34 Early Abolitionism  Abolitionism first sprang up during the Revolution –Quakers  American Colonization Society – 1817 –Send former slaves back to Africa –Republic of Liberia – 1822 Capitol – Monrovia (Pres. Monroe) 15,000 freed blacks were transported –Problem – by now they were native-born African Americans –Supported by Lincoln

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36 Abolitionism 1830s  1833 – Great Britain freed their slaves in the West Indies  Second Great Awakening – slavery view as a sin  Theodore Dwight Weld – organized an 18 day debate on slavery at Lane Theological Seminary –He & his fellow “Lane Rebels” fanned out across the Old Northwest preaching the antislavery gospel –Pamphlet - American Slavery As It Is Influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe

37 Radical Abolitionism  William Lloyd Garrison –Jan. 1, 1831 published the 1 st issue of The Liberator –Proclaimed that under no circumstances would he tolerate slavery  The Liberator –Antislavery newspaper –Published in Boston –Triggered a 30 year war of words

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39 Abolitionists  American Anti-Slavery Society – Founded in 1833 by Garrison & others  Wendell Phillips –Would eat no sugar cane or wear cotton cloth  David Walker –Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World (1829)  Sojourner Truth –Ex-slave –fought for women’s rights & abolitionism  Martin Delaney –Looked at recolonization

40 Fredrick Douglass  Greatest of the black abolitionists  Escaped from slavery in 1838  Lectured widely  Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass

41 Radical Ideas  Garrison proposed that the North secede from the “wicked” south –Publicly burned a copy of the constitution – “covenant with the devil”

42 Fredrick Douglass & Other Abolitionists  Looked to politics to help end slavery  Backed –Liberty Party (1840) –Free Soil Party (1848) –Republican Party (1850s)  Most abolitionists, including Garrison, supported a fratricidal war as the price of emancipation.

43 The South Lashes Back  1820s – Most antislavery societies were located in the South  1830s – white southern abolitionism was silenced / VA – last major debate over slavery –Slave codes were strengthened –Moved to prohibit emancipation of any kind, voluntary or compensated –Nat Turner’s Rebellion – caused massive fear in the South GA offered $5,000 reward for Garrison’s arrest & conviction –Nullification Crisis of 1832

44 South Reponses  Launched a massive defense of slavery –“positive good” –Slavery was supported in the Bible & Aristotle –It was good for Africans – they were now civilized –Christian was taught –Contrasted the “happy” lot of their “servants” with that of the overworked northern wage slaves Blacks worked in the fresh air Taken care of when they were old

45 Problems Result  Problems in Congress –Piles of petitions poured into Congress from antislavery reformers –Southerners wanted a gag resolution Tabled without discussion  1835 – Mob looted the post office in Charleston –Washington ordered that all postmasters destroy all abolitionists material & arrest those who didn’t comply

46 The Abolitionist Impact in the North  North had an economic stake in slavery –Southern planters owed northern banks money –New England textile mills depended on southern cotton  North did not view abolitionists in a positive light

47 Attacks on Abolitionists  1834 – Lewis Tappan –gang broke into his NY house & demolished its interior while crowd cheered  1835 – William Lloyd Garrison –dragged through the streets of Boston with a rope around his neck  1837 – Elijah Lovejoy –his printing press was destroyed 4 times –he was eventually killed by a mob became a martyr

48 Elijah Lovejoy’s Warehouse


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