The South & Slavery Chapter 16: Pageant Planter ‘Aristocracy’ Slave system White majority Plantation Slavery Abolition Movement
Cotton is King Cotton yields were profitable leading to economic cycle Northern shippers made profit from cotton trade Kennedy: ‘…prosperity of both North & South rested on the bent backs of slave” ½ U.S. export after 1840 ½ of world’s cotton supply produced in South 75% of Britain’s textiles produced w/ U.S. cotton Southern Perspective: Cotton was King; if war broke out, North would blockade southern trade; British factories would close down, angry workers would force gov’t to break northern blockade & South would be victorious
1791: 4,000 bales of cotton are produced 1849: 2, 246, 900 bales of cotton are produced 6 cents a lb. to 14 cents in 1857 Expanded into Arkansas and Texas Crop increase: 2,500,000 bales in 1850 to 5,300,000 in 1860 Crop Value: In 1800, $8 million: In 1860, $250 million Tobacco by 1860 : 200,000,000 lbs. to 430,000,000 lbs.
Total U.S. population was 3.5 million… 700,000 slaves in the U.S. at this time. Still bought slaves through the slave trade.
Total U.S. population was 18 million 2 million slaves in the U.S. at this time. 1808 :Importation of slaves was illegal Slave trade within the U.S. Increase of slave population was from natural reproduction
Southern Society Upper Class Owned some Slaves Achieving good living Owned no slaves Hated white upper class Free Blacks 2 nd class citizens Slaves No rights, considered property 1850: 1,733 owned more than 100 slaves Elite political leadership Believed their objective was to get an education & serve public Gap widened between rich and poor Agriculture was wasteful Despised wealthy for this Small farms sold land; moved west & north Land over-speculation Cost of slaves expensive: $1,200 for solid field hand Dependence on one-crop economy; lacked diversification Planters tired of seeing North grow of their work Bankers Agents shippers By 1860: 250,000 free blacks in South Prohibited from certain jobs Couldn’t testify against whites Vulnerable to being hi-jacked & sold back in to slavery Resented & detested North: 250,000 free blacks Barred from schools, voting Hated by laborers: competition for work
Plantation Slavery Thousands smuggled into South after 1808 Southern juries acquitted slave smugglers when caught Planters regarded slaves as investments: encouraged & forced reproduction Cared for as an investment, not human Cotton farming drained profits from entire region & shifted majority of slaves to deep South Slave auctions were horrendously dehumanizing: slaves treated as cattle, sold amongst cattle Families separated on the auction block, kids taken from parents Slavery was physical & psychological horror
Statistically only 25% of Southern families owned slaves 384,000 Southern families owned 1 or more slaves. 75% of Southern families did not own slaves.
Breakdown of the 25% of the population who owned Slaves: 75% owned 1 to 9 slaves. 22% owned 10 to 49 owned slaves. 3% owned 50 or more slaves
Degradation of the Person Slaves denied dignity: no free-will or responsibility to make choices Denied an education; denied the chance to read & discuss new ideas American Dream was not attainable by majority of all blacks (free or slave) Slaves slowed pace on plantations; stole food from the plantation house or sabotaged equipment Revolts: 1800: armed insurrection by slave named Gabriel in Virginia 1822: Denmark Vesey led armed insurrection in Charleston 1831: Nat Turner led uprising that slaughtered 60-some Virginians in Virgina Slave masters whipped their slaves, branded their slaves Whites lived in a perceived fortress under siege Everywhere they looked, anger and resentment looked back at them Fears led to theories of biological superiority: excuse for their behavior
Arguments for Slavery Economically profitable Slavery is in the Bible Southern duty to Christianize slaves 5 th amendment legalized & protected slavery because slaves were property Slavery was established by decree of Almighty God. It is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation - - Jefferson Davis
Conclusion Slavery was viewed in the South as economic means to an end Majority of southern farmers did not own slaves, but southerners viewed the right to have slaves as a way of life to be protected To compensate for evils of slavery, proponents of slavery used Biblical references to support its survival The continued existence of slavery will lead to opposition, violence and eventual secession The United States Civil War was not fought over slavery per se, but popular sovereignty and the right to own slaves was certainly one of the factors for the call of secession in southern states