The Problem of Labor Colonies needed labor to grow cash crops Indentured Servitude failed by 1700. But in 1790, it was unclear that slavery would grow past the coast. The Cotton Gin made growing cotton profitable away from the coast –Slavery explodes in scale by 1860.
The Plantation System Slaves work 6 days a week Organized into gangs by age/health –Each gang has a slave chosen as Driver to lead it. White Overseers run the plantation while the master is gone.
Cities Stagnate Only ports grow large Masters fear cities and don't invest in industry Urban slavery shrinks from 20% to 10% by 1860
The Profits of Slavery Average Profit: 10% annually –Re-invested in more land and slaves –Or blown on luxuries and fun As industry grows, demand for cotton keeps rising By 1860, a slave is worth $900, all slaves together: 3.6 billion (90 billion today!)
Grows tobacco with slaves –This declines after the 1820s Cities begin to develop Diversified farming These changes reduce slavery to lower levels –Slaves are shipped south to Deep South for money
Creolization Slave trade ends in 1807 Slaves become Americanized
Family Life Masters encourage marriage –Encourages stability –Yet 1/3 rd end with sale of a spouse Family life lives in tension with the demnds of slavery –Rape of slave women is common –Families have little autonomy Childhood is short
Slave Religious Life During the Second Great Awakening (1800-1844), many slaves and masters convert to Christianity
Slave Religious Life Masters form official churches which teach obedience Slaves form covert congregations which meet at night to dance, sing, and pray.
Superstitions Old African folk tales and superstitions survive –“Obeah men” know how to deal with spirits, practice folk medicine, and are protected by the slaves from masters
Living Conditions One room family homes 2 sets of clothing a year Food –Cornmeal and salt pork –Many grow extra food on Sunday –Slave cooks shape Southern cuisine
Medicine The larger the plantation, the more access to medicine Admittedly, this might actually HURT you.
Rules Black Codes –Limits on Free Blacks No guns, no land-owning, no voting Slave Codes –Slaves had zero rights whatsoever. Every plantation had its own rules
Forms of Slave Resistance Lying Petty Theft Slowdown Folktales Running Away Underground Railroad.
Slave Revolts Rare Personal Gabriel Prosser’s Rebellion Denmark Vesey’s Conspiracy Nat Turner’s Rebellion The Fear of Rebellion poisoned Southern society
Free Society 25% Slaveowners 60% White farmers and artisans 12% Poor White 3% Free Black
Slaveowners 1% of South owned 51+ slaves 4% owned 21-50 slaves 20% owned 1-20 slaves
Plantation Women Often bitter and isolated –Many male slaveowners had sex, voluntary or not, with their slaves –White Women who did this were punished –This made them bitter
Free Society: The Middle Slaveowners ruled South but had to kiss up to non-slaveowners to avoid being overthrown Most Free people farmed or did crafts Conflict within Whites was suppressed by racism against Blacks
Free Society: Poor Whites The most likely to hate slaveowners They had no land or not enough Racism prevented them allying with poor blacks
Free Society: Free Blacks Mostly in the Upper South Restricted Rights still better than NO rights Cities were a haven. Most were of mixed ancestry
Pro Slavery Arguments After 1830, many begin to say Slavery is a positive GOOD –Blacks are perpetual children who need a big White father –Masters have reason to care for slaves; bosses don't care if wage earners live or die –Wage work is the REAL slavery!!!!
Pro-Slavery Religion Churches schism over slavery in 1840s Southern Churches assert the Bible approves Slavery They claim the CURSE OF HAM means God wants all Blacks to be slaves!