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1800-1860. What does the account of a slave auction reveal about the mindset of slave-owning whites?

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Presentation on theme: "1800-1860. What does the account of a slave auction reveal about the mindset of slave-owning whites?"— Presentation transcript:

1 1800-1860


3 What does the account of a slave auction reveal about the mindset of slave-owning whites?

4 “product” promoted


6 The law upheld this concept ie: Dred Scott v Sandford (1857) Business concepts applied to slavery— read “inventory” (1849) Thus…Class and status could be improved by owning slaves

7 But as a “necessary evil,” slavery could not be abolished precipitously, for if it were the South would be plunged into chaos. (McPherson, p. 49-50) This justification was also predicated on the beliefs that: The opportunities that the American society had to offer encouraged free men to pursue their own interests–to strike out on their own.

8 Approx 3000 planter elite families Two Groups Planter aristocrats of Old South Market-driven entrepreneurs Aristocratic Heritage distinguished Southerners from Northerners Tobacco v. Cotton farmers Entrepreneurial v. aristocratic Gang Labor

9 1830- 36% of Southerners owned slaves….1860- 25% did Regional variation of slave ownership [What do these statistics reveal…] Richest planter families—20+ slaves (5% of pop) Middle-class planters, owned 40% of slave pop. Worked as artisans and professionals as well Small holders—1-5 slaves each Worked along side slaves Poorest Southerners more nomadic


11 Second Great Awakening African Traditions in Protestantism Chants “ring shouts” Religion as escape Religion as unifier

12 Petitions v. Revolt Split Abolitionist cause Nat Turner educ. Himself Religious vision W/Relatives killed 55 white men, women and children Whites took revenge…. Virginia Legis. Deeply concerned Slave Rebellion 1831

13 Provide hope, solidarity Combination of African heritage, religious hymns Form of passive resistance against those slave owners seeking to “break the spirit” Songs promote freedom When the Sun comes back And the first quail calls Follow the Drinking Gourd, For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom If you follow the Drinking Gourd



16 -language -African culture -landed gentry in VA

17 Note euro. features… intermarriage

18 Marriages common but not accepted by society (courts did not uphold marriages so slaves could be sold separately) Constructing families by “adopting” older, unrelated slaves Common heritage despite domestic slave trade which resulted in separation


20 Former slave….

21 Favored escape over rebellion African-American passive resistance Reduction of violence by masters Increased use of positive incentives as control Tasks for free time

22 Most whites viewed blacks as inferior Whites confined blacks to menial, lower paying jobs Only a few states permitted free black men to: vote, attend public schools, sit next to whites in church Federal government also forbade equal rights for Blacks Free blacks could be re-enslaved if w/out papers

23 Few blacks amassed wealth or distinction Prominent blacks formed organizations Churches Orphanages Social organizations Business organizations Free southern blacks were mostly artisans Though some free blacks entered white society, most helped fugitive slaves, plotted insurrections, entered black politics or worked for social ascension

24 Video re-enactment: Harriet Beecher Stowe at auctionHarriet Beecher Stowe at auction

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