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Chapter 13 Section 4: The South's People

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by

Zak Morgan

on 2 May 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 13 Section 4: The South's People

Chapter 13 Section 4: The South's People
Farms and Plantations
The Southern economy was based on
agriculture
. Most white Southerners fit into four categories:
yeomen, tenant farmers, the rural poor, or plantation owners.
Small Farmers and the Rural Poor
Yeomen
-farmers who did not have enslaved workers-made up the largest group of whites in the South. Yeomen lived mostly in the Upper South and in the hilly areas of the Deep South. Not all Southern whites owned land. Some rented land or worked as
tenant farmers
on landlords' estates.
Plantations
A large plantation might cover several
thousand
acres. They measured their wealth partly by the number of
enslaved people
they controlled. A few free African Americans also held
enslaved
workers. The main economic goal for large plantation owners was to earn
profits
. To receive the best prices, planters sold their cotton to
agents
in large cities, such as New Orleans and Charleston.
Plantation Wives
Wives
of plantation owners took charge of their households. They watched over the enslaved domestic workers and sometimes tended to them when they became
ill
. In addition, they might keep the plantation's
financial
records.
Work on the Plantation
Large
plantations
needed many different kinds of workers. They cleaned the house, cooked, did laundry and sewing, and served
meals
. An
overseer
, or plantation manager, supervised them.
Life Under Slavery
Enslaved African Americans suffered
hardships
and
misery
. One of their worst fears was being sold to another
planter
and separated from their loved ones. Enslaved African Americans maintained their family life as best as they could and developed a
culture
all their own, blending African and American elements.
Family Life
Enslaved people had few comforts beyond their bare necessities. American laws in the early 1800s did not protect
enslaved families
. Enslaved people needed some measure of stability in their lives. They established a network of
relatives
and
friends
who made up their extended family.
African American Culture
In 1808 Congress outlawed the
slave
trade. Slavery remained
legal
, or permitted by law, but no new enslaved people could enter the United States.
African American Christianity
For many enslaved African Americans,
Christianity
became a religion of hope and resistance. The passionate beliefs of the enslaved Southerners found expression in the
spiritual
, an African American religious folk song
Slave Codes
Between 1830 and 1860, life under slavery became even more difficult. The
slave codes
-the laws in the Southern states that controlled enslaved people-became more severe. One purpose of the codes was to prevent the event that white Southerners dreaded most-the
slave rebellion
. Slave codes made it a
crime
to teach enslaved people to read or write.
Resistance to Slavery
Some enslaved African Americans did rebel openly against their owners. One was
Nat Turner
. In 1831, he led a group of followers on a
brief
, or short, violent rampage in Southhampton County, Virginia. Turner's rebellion led to more severe slave codes.
Armed
revolts were rare, however. African Americans in the South knew they would only lose.
Escaping Slavery
Some enslaved African Americans tried to run away to the
North
. Getting to the North was
difficult
for most enslaved people. The
Underground Railroad
offered aid to enslaved people who had escaped. Most runaways were caught and returned to their
owners
.
City Life and Education
The South was primarily
agricultural
. It had several large cities by the mid-1800s, however, including Baltimore and New Orleans. The ten largest cities in the South were either
seaports
or
river ports
.
Life in Southern Cities
Cities located at the crossroads of the
railways
also began to grow. Among them were Chattanooga, Montgomery, and Atlanta. In the cities, free African Americans had the opportunity to form their own
communities
. Free African Americans' lives were not secure. Their
rights
were limited.
Education
During this era, no statewide public school systems existed. People who could afford to do so sent their children to
private
schools. The South was behind other sections of the country in
literacy
, the number of people able to read and write. One reason for this situation was the South's
geography
. The South had few people per square mile. In addition, many Southerners believed that
education
was a private matter, not a state function.
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