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Chapter 16: The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793-1860
Transcript of Chapter 16: The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793-1860
The South and the Slavery Controversy
1793-1860 "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God cannot long retain it." - Abraham Lincoln, 1859 Intro:
• Touched by revolutionary idealism some southern leaders including Thomas Jefferson were talking openly of freeing slaves.
•Iron logic of economy would eventually expose slavery’s unprofitability
•Cotton would soon dominate the southern region Cotton king: •Cotton kingdom developed into a huge agricultural factory
o Planters moved to the bottom land of gulf states, for the good soil the plentiful harvest resulted in a need for more slaves and land •Northern shippers reaped large profit Load bales of cotton from south transport to England sell for gold/sterling buy manufacturing goods (from U.S) plant more cotton •The prosperity and growing wealth of the North, the South as well as England rested on the bent backs of the enslaved bondsmen
oCotton = ½ value of all American exports after 1840
oExport money accounted for republics economic growth
o75% of cotton from the south
oThe cotton gave the south a sense of power over the rest of America The Planter Aristocracy: •Before the civil war the south transformed in some respects from a democracy to an oligarchy meaning a government by the few, in this case a south heavily influenced by a planter aristocracy •By 1850 1,733 families owned 100 slaves; this part of the group provided the political and social leadership of the section and nation.
•The “big house” were dwelt the “cottonocracy •Money from the cotton provided leisure for the study, reflection and statecraft it was true of men like John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis
o They felt a keen sense of objection to serve the people •Dominance by a favored aristocracy was basically undemocratic = it widened the gap between the rich and poor + it hampered tax-supported public education because rich sent kids to private schools. •Sir Walter Scott: helped idealize a feudal society, though many of the economic activity was capitalistic
o Mark Twain accused him of starting a civil war •Female slaves: some took pride in being members of the “household” others just silently lives with it nether accepting nor rejecting because of the fear Slaves of the Slave system: •Plantation agriculture was wasteful largely because king cotton and his money-hungry subjects despoiled the good earth
o Quick profits --> excessive cultivation aka “land butchery” --> increase of pollution to west and northwest • The south became increasingly monopolistic
o People sold holdings to neighbors and went north or west
o The big got bigger and the small got smaller •Plantation system financially instable
Slaves were paid little but the cost of taking care of them was a lot
Quarter of them could be whipped out by disease
Some run away
Slaves = $1,200 in investment •Dominance of the king cotton led to dangerous dependence on one-crop economy
Unhealthy diversification in agriculture and manufacturing
By 1850 the south “Yankees” wanted what the north had, this a lot of resentment developed •The cotton kingdom repelled European immigration which added to manpower and wealth of the north
In 1860 only 4.4% of the south population was foreign-born as compared with the 18.7% for the north
German and Irish immigration to the south was not welcome because of the competition of slave labor, high cost of fertile land and European ignorance to cotton
A white south = most Anglo-Saxon section of the nation. The white majority: •Only handful of whites were really rich
1,733 families in 1850 owned slaves but were less wealthy slave owners
In 1850 some 345,000 families representing about 1,725,000 white persons
2/3 (2555,268) have less than 10 slaves
of the white southerners owned slaves •Smaller slave owners did not own a majority of slaves, but made up majority of the masters
Lesser south masters = typical northern farmer •Beneath the slave-owners were the ones who owned no slaves at all
1860 that population (of persons not owning slaves) increased to 6,120,825
Lived simply from thinner soils of back country and the mountain valleys
Often sneered at lordly pretensions of the cotton “snobacracy”
Scarcely participated in market economy As subsistence farmers, they raised corn and hogs NOT cotton and often lived isolated lives sermonizing at religious camp meetings
They were looked down upon by the slaves as “poor white trash”
Investigation proved that they were not lazy people but sick from malnutrition and parasites like hookworms •These low southerners owned no slaves but were proud defenders of the slave system
Pride and presumed racial superiority would not allow it (they believed that their position would water down if slaves were freed)
The most wretched whites could take perverse comfort from the knowledge that they outranked someone in status: The still more wretched African American slave
Thus the logic of economics mixed with the illogic of racism in strengthening the slave system.
Still had the “American dream” thus hope and belief that soon one day they would own a slave and become filthy stinking rich •Mountain whites: located in the valleys of the Appalachian range stretching from western Virginia to northern Georgia and Alabama
o Civilization passed them by still lived under Spartan frontier conditions
o One of them = future president of Andrew Johnson of Tennessee •Hated both haughty planters and their gangs of blacks
oSaw north and south battle as “a rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight”
oThey played a significant role in crippling the confederacy •Their attachment to the union party of the Abraham Lincoln was such that for generations after the civil war the only concentrated republic strength in solid south was found in the southern highlands. V. Free Blacks: Slaves without Masters 1.By 1860, free Blacks in the South numbered about 250,000.
2.In the upper South, these Blacks were descended from those freed by the idealism of the Revolutionary War (“all men were created equal”). 3.In the Deep South, they were usually mulattoes (Black mother, White father who was usually a master) freed when their masters died.
4.Many owned property; a few owned slaves themselves. 5.Free Blacks were prohibited from working in certain occupations and forbidden from testifying against whites in court; and as examples of what slaves could be, Whites resented them. 6.In the North, free Blacks were also unpopular, as several states denied their entrance, most denied them the right to vote and most barred them from public schools.
7.Northern Blacks were especially hated by the Irish, with whom they competed for jobs. 8.Anti-black feeling was stronger in the North, where people liked the race but not the individual, than in the South, where people liked the individual (with whom they’d often grown up), but not the race. VI. Plantation Slavery 1.Although slave importation was banned in 1808, smuggling of them continued due to their high demand and despite death sentences tosmugglers
2.However, the slave increase (4 million by 1860) was mostly due to their natural reproduction. 3.Slaves were an investment, and thus were treated better and more kindly and were spared the most dangerous jobs, like putting a roof on a house, draining a swamp, or blasting caves.
o Usually, Irishmen were used to do that sort of work.
4.Slavery also created majorities or near-majorities in the Deep South, and the states of South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana accounted for half of all slaves in the South. 5.Breeding slaves was not encouraged, but thousands of slaves were “sold down the river” to toil as field-gang workers, and women who gave birth to many children were prized.
o Some were promised freedom after ten children born.
6.Slave auctions were brutal, with slaves being inspected like animals and families often mercilessly separated; Harriet Beecher Stowe seized the emotional power of this scene in her Uncle Tom’s Cabin. VII. Life under the Lash Slave life varied from place to place, but for slaves everywhere, life meant hard work, no civil or political rights, and whipping if orders weren’t followed.Laws that tried to protect slaves were difficult to enforce.
Lash beatings weren’t that common, since a master could lower the value of his slave if he whipped him too much.Forced separation of spouses, parents and children seem to have been more common in the upper South, among smaller plantations. 1.Still, most slaves were raised in stable two-parent households and continuity of family identity across generations was evidenced in the widespread practice of naming children for grandparents or adopting the surname of a forebear’s master. 2.In contrast to the White planters, Africans avoided marriage of first cousins.
3.Africans also mixed the Christian religion with their own native religion, and often, they sang Christian songs as signals and codes for news of possible freedom; many of them sang songs that emphasize bondage. VIII. The Burdens of Bondage 1.Slaves had no dignity, were illiterate, and had no chance of achieving the “American dream.
Slaves were not permitted to read because reading brought ideas and ideas brought discontent.
2.They also devised countless ways to make trouble without getting punished too badly.
They worked as slowly as they could without getting lashed.
They stole food and sabotaged expensive equipment.
Occasionally, they poisoned their masters’ food. 3.Rebellions, such as the 1800 insurrection by a slave named Gabriel in Richmond, Virginia, and the 1822 Charleston rebellion led by Denmark Vesey, and the 1831 revolt semiliterate preacher Nat Turner, were never successful. However, they did scare the jeepers out of whites, which led to tightened rules. 4.Whites became paranoid of Black revolts, and they had to degrade themselves, along with their victims, as noted by distinguished Black leader Booker T. Washington. Early abolitionism: Because of the spreading loathing of blacks, some of the earliest efforts on transporting blacks bodily back to Africa The American colonization society: founded for this purpose in 1817
By 1860 virtually all southern slaves were no longer Africans, but native-born African Americans, with their own distinctive history and culture. Struggles were made to end slavery and compelling arguments were made among the most effective abolitionist tracts and greatly influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Radical Abolitionism: William Lloyd (an abolitionist) published in Boston the first issue of his militantly antislavery newspaper, The Liberator. William: “I will be as harsh as the truth and as uncompromising as justice …. I will not retreat a single inch –and I WILL BE HEARD.
The American anti-slavery society. Sojourner Truth fought for women’s rights. Fredrick Douglass was a born slave and became a black abolitionist. He was well educated. He was an orator, writer, and editor.
Douglass looked in politics to end slavery. The South Lashes Back: The Virginia legislature debated and eventually defeated proposals in 1831-1832.
Some whites claimed that slavery was supported by the bible and the wisdom of Aristotle. Gag resolution: required all such as antislavery appeals to be tablet without debate.
Washington asked for all abolishment Martials to be destroyed and called on southern state officials to arrest federals postmasters who did not comply. The Abolitionist Impact in the North: Had a heavy economic stake
Southerners owed northern over$300 million dollars “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
― Abraham Lincoln