Presentation on theme: "Cotton and Slavery 1815-1848. The Cotton Gin The invention of cotton gin in 1793 made short-staple cotton profitable. Thereafter, cotton and slavery began."— Presentation transcript:
Cotton and Slavery
The Cotton Gin The invention of cotton gin in 1793 made short-staple cotton profitable. Thereafter, cotton and slavery began to expand - from the Atlantic Coast to Texas.
Cotton Production in the South, 1820–1860 Cotton production expanded westward between 1820 and 1860 into Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and western Tennessee.
Cotton Production In 1800, the U.S. produced 73,000 bales of cotton. By 1820, cotton accounted for 39% of all American exports. By 1840, cotton accounted for 52% of U.S. exports. By 1860, cotton accounted for 58% of all American exports and 75% of the world’s entire supply of cotton.
Cotton Exports as a Percentage of All U.S. Exports, 1800– 1860 After 1800, cotton rapidly emerged as the country’s most important export crop and quickly became the key to American prosperity.
Between , cotton fueled the entire American market economy! Southern planters sold the cotton and used the income to purchase supplies from the West and goods and services from the North. Northern factories made money by turning raw cotton into cloth and northern merchants profited from shipping the cotton and reshipping the finished textiles. Slavery provided the labor for this American market economy; thus, slavery was a NATIONAL institution that spread its influence throughout the entire nation!
Because slave labor produced the cotton, increasing exports strengthened the slave system itself.
Slave Population, 1820–1860 Slavery spread southwestward from the upper South and the eastern seaboard following the spread of cotton cultivation.
In 1820, cotton production and slavery was concentrated in the upper south. By 1860, cotton production and slavery had spread to the lower south. From the 1840s forward, cotton production made the southern economy stronger and wealthier than the northern economy.
As slavery grew in the South, so did what many Northerners called “The Slave Power. 1.The planter aristocracy - a very small percent of southern society - controlled the social, political, and economic power of the south. 2.From the first presidential election to the election of Lincoln, Southerners controlled the national government most of the time. 3.The South held disproportionate political power under the Constitution. 4.From when the Democrats were the predominate political party - the party of states rights - they used their power to pass federal laws designed to strength slavery as a national institution.
The planter aristocracy - a small percent of southern society - controlled the social, political, and economic power of the south In 1860, 25% of all Southerners owned slaves. Of that 25% 52% owned 1-5 slaves 35% owned 6-9 slaves 11% owned slaves 1 % owned 100 or more slaves Those who owned 20 or more slaves - about 3% of the entire white population - controlled the social, political, and economic power of the South.
From the first presidential election to the election of Lincoln, Southerners controlled the national government most of the time 49 of 72 years were controlled by Southern slave-owning Democrats. The only presidents who were reelected were slave-owning Democrats. 2/3 of the Speakers of the House and Presidents Pro Tem of the Senate were Southerners. For the entire 72 years, the majority of Supreme Court justices were Southerners and most were slave owners.
The South held disproportionate political power under the Constitution In the Senate - while the North had 60% of the total population and 70% of the entire nation’s voters - they only sent 50% of the Senators to Congress as there was an equal number of slave and free states. In the House - the 3/5 compromise gave slave states an average of 20 more congressmen after each census than they would have had on the basis of a free populace. Slaves states had about 30 more electoral votes than their share of the voting population would have otherwise allowed.
And the Constitution (Art. IV, Sec. 4) requires the federal government to come to the aid of any state in the event of “domestic violence.”
From , the Democrats used their political power to pass federal laws designed to strength slavery as a national institution In 1835, after Congress failed to pass a law prohibiting the Post Office from sending “incendiary publications” through the mails, Jackson and those who followed tacitly allowed such suppression. In 1836, Congress banned debating slavery issues in the house. (Was not lifted until 1845.) In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act was passed.
In addition, the white southern slave owners had a huge hold over the white, non-slave owning population. How, then, were they able to convince the vast majority of white southerners to fight for a system - slavery and the power of slaveholding aristocrats - in which they had no stake? White Supremacy!
This woodcut of a black father being sold away from his family appeared in The Child’s Anti-Slavery Book in In summary, the expansion of cotton - encouraged by the new technology of the cotton gin - stimulated the growth of slavery. This economic reality, in turn, was made possible by the “Slave Power.”
The Slave Power and white supremacy were further reinforced by the pro-slavery rationale of John C. Calhoun Slavery was “a good - a positive good” that was both profitable as well as politically and socially sound. “There never has yet existed in a wealthy and civilized society in which one portion of the community did not…live on the labor of the other…I fearlessly assert that the existing relations between the two races in the South forms the most solid and durable foundation upon which to rear free and stable political institutions.”
Calhoun’s argument continued that in a free labor system, labor is a commodity whose price is determined by the laws of the market. In such a system, slavery was necessary because it produced a master class that greatly differed from the ruling class of capitalist industrial society. This woodcut of a black father being sold away from his family appeared in The Child’s Anti-Slavery Book in 1860.
On the one hand, Calhoun argued, slave owners treated their slaves with paternalistic care by assuming life- long responsibility. On the other hand, capitalists hired classes of manual laborers who were treated as wage slaves. Slavery was a blessing to an inferior race. It was the cornerstone of democracy as it avoided bitter class divisions of the north while ensuring the freedom of all white men.
In summary, the invention of the cotton gin made cotton production and exportation a vital force for the entire American economy. Further, the expansion of cotton stimulated the growth of slavery and made slavery a national institution. These social and economic realities, in turn, were made possible by the “Slave Power.”