Chapter 16-The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793-1860


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Cotton Production/Eli Whitney
prior to the invention of Eli Whitneys cotton gin in 1793 the South was burdened with low prices and unmarketable products and an unprofitable slave system as some slave holders in the South including Thomas Jefferson spoke of freeing their slaves. However, with the development of the cotton gin and short-staple cotton and slavery itself became highly profitable. The institution of slavery became reinvigorated in the South as more land and slaves meant more profit for the planter class./Cotton gin and short staple cotton made slavery more profitable and reinvigorated it. SLAVERY RE-INVIGORATED THROUGHOUT SOUTH AS A RESULT OF COTTON GIN
Economic Impact of Slavery
was not limited to the South as Northern shippers reaped a large part of the profits from the cotton trade by transporting raw cotton as well as manufactured goods between the South and England and later to northern textile manufacturers as cotton accounted for more than 50% of the value of American exports after 1840./ Bankers also benefited from cotton/slavery lending people money. By 1840 cotton represented more than half of the value of American exports. Whole nation had an economic interest in slavery.
King Cotton
with the belief that England was depended upon the South for its cotton, it falsely assumed that if war should ever break out between the North and South, the harm brought on by a Northern blockade of the South would force England to break the blockade allowing the South to emerge with its independence./ South felt indestructible because of cotton industry. IF WAR OCCURRED BELIF THAT ENGLAND WOULD SIDE WITH SOUTH BECAUSE OF DEPENDENCY ON COTTON
Planter Class
By 1850 only 1,733 families in the South owned more than 100 slaves each (while 75% of southern whites owned no slaves at all). Nevertheless, this planter aristocracy became an oligarchy (government ruled by few) and provided the political and social leadership of the South ensuring that the institution of slavery would remain intact. Because this system was undemocratic, the gap between rich and poor was widened prior to the Civil War as avenues of advancement such as tax-supported, public education was discouraged by this elite who could afford to educate their children in private institutions and send them to the best colleges in the North and England./ "Planter class" defined by owning more than 100 slaves. It dominated the economic, political, and social leadership of the South. Slavery didn't help those of common classes. Great distinction between rich and poor and there was no source of education for poor. POLITICAL SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP OF SOUTH. ONLY 25% OF SOUTHERNERS OWNED SLAVES.
Slave Class Structure
just as there was a definite class structure among white southerners, slaves also had a hierarchy as well with household members like servants, cooks, maids, nurses at the top and field hands on the bottom of the scale. In older slave states like Virginia, some slaves were skilled craftsmen whose wages went to their masters. Sometimes they would keep a percentage of their wages with the hope of purchasing their freedom. Free blacks, although rare, did exist in the South prior to the Civil War, but often had to fear being sold into slavery./ In rare cases some slaves would become skilled laborers.
Plantation System
led to excessive cultivation causing a leakage of population to the West and Northwest. Because the economy of the South was monopolistic, small farmers could not compete and were forced to relocate. Over speculation in both land and slaves ($1200) caused many planters to plunge into debt./ Fertility of soil decreased so moved westward. Because of use of slave labor, smaller independent farmers simply could not compete. Slavery hurt white southerners as well as blacks.
Cotton Dependence
an over reliance upon cotton led to a one-crop economy throughout the South as prices were dependent upon world conditions as the entire system discouraged a more healthy diversification of agriculture and establishment of manufacturing. Many southern planters resented the fact that the North grew wealthy and powerful at their expense by the heavy outward flow of commissions and interest to northern middlemen, bankers, shippers, and agents./ If cotton crop failed whole system failed, or if overproduced prices dropped. Discouraged economic diversification. Still no manufacturing in south. Industry was considered beneath them.
from European countries continuously added to growing populations in the North and Northwest did not take place in the South as a result of its plantation system as German and Irish immigrants could not compete with slave labor./ North's population increased due to immigration. European immigration was very limited in the South because of the lack of available land.
in terms of numbers alone, only 1,733 families in 1850 owned more than 100 slaves. ON EXAM: As a whole, only about 25% of all white southerners owned slaves or belonged to a slave holding family. Small farmers who did own slaves often worked alongside with them in the cotton fields. By the start of the Civil War, over 6 million whites, 3/4 of the population owned no slaves. Many of these non-slave holding whites existed as subsistence farmers while the less prosperous of the farmers were known as clay eaters or poor white trash.
Support of Slavery
in spite of the fact that most white throughout the South owned no slaves at all, this group represented among the stoutest defenders of slavery despite the fact that they had no economic stake in its preservation. Among the factors responsible for this idiosyncrasy was the mere hope of buying a slave and possibly advancing into the planter class along with a fierce pride in their assumed racial superiority which would be diminished if the slaves became free. On the other hand, many independent small farmers many miles away from the cotton kingdom had little in common with their comrades in slave country and looked upon the upcoming conflict between the North and South as a rich mans war, but a poor mans fight./ Non-slaveholding whites became among the STRONGEST defenders of slavery. (Rich mans war, poor man's fight). Ending slavery=ending hopes of advancement and eventually acquiring slaves. Also didn't want to be equal to blacks, could compete for jobs ect. Slavery was a system of social control.
Free Blacks
throughout the South numbered about 250,000 prior to the Civil War. Many were mulattoes were usually the emancipated children of white planters and their black mistresses. Other free Blacks had been able to purchase their freedom with earning from labor after hours. Some free blacks, although rare, even owned slaves themselves. [In spite of their freedom, they had very limited rights as they were prohibited from certain occupations and could not testify against whites in court. If they remained in the South, they were always vulnerable to being kidnaped back into slavery. In the North, some states forbade their entrance white anti-black feelings ran rapid sometimes stronger than in the South as they found themselves competing with immigrants for menial jobs. Strangely enough, white southerners who were often reared by blacks liked the black as an individual but despised the race while northerners professed to like the race but dislike the individual black./ Free blacks have been able to purchase their freedom. Planters who had children with black women would free children in their wills. In many cases on a personal level African Americans were treated better in the South than in the North. They had established personal relations with their owners. Blacks cared for children of a planter with their own children. ON EXAM: Anti-black or racist feelings were actually stronger in some cases in the North. Characterized by northwest prohibiting blacks from entering their borders.
Plantation Slavery
by 1860 (the civil war) the number of slaves in the South had reached almost 4 million despite the fact that their legal importation had ended in 1808 as NATURAL REPRODUCTION was responsible for its increase. This distinguished slavery in America from other regions in the New World and suggested much about the conditions of family life. In terms of investments, the South had almost $2 Billion of capital tied up (invested) in slaves which consisted of most of its wealth. Because of their value of roughly $1,800 for a field hand, their master preferred to have wage-earners to do dangerous work since they had no investment in them. Even though slavery was profitable on a whole, its existence retarded economic development of the South./ Slaves had a stable life especially a stable family life if they were having that many children. Slaves were so expensive would rely on Irish unskilled labor because they were out of money if something happened to one. Highly profitable. NATURAL REPRODUCTION. INTERNATIONAL SLAVE TRADE HAD COME TO AN END IN 1807
Living Conditions
of the slave population varied from region to region, from plantation to plantation and from master to master. Slavery meant hard work and oppression and for field hands it meant working from dawn to dusk under the supervision of a overseer. Floggings or whippings were used for the substitute for the wage-incentive system and were common. Slaves in the deep South were more harshly treated as well as overworked. A benefit of the larger plantations where most blacks live was that their family like as it was tended to be relatively stable./ Deep south was hotter and more strenuous (cotton, sugar, rice difficult vs tobacco easy). Larger plantation meant that the planter was less likely to go bankrupt and break up slave families.
Education of Slaves
were almost non-existent as they were denied an education as almost 90% of adult slaves were illiterate by the Civil War./ Only exception would be if the children of the slaves became educated because of their relationship with the children of the planter. If they were educated could organize a rebellion or more easily escape.
Early Abolitionism/Quakers/American Colonization Society
began at the time of the Revolution with the Quakers with most of its efforts FOCUSED ON ELIMINATING THE SLAVE TRADE. Another effort was known as the American Colonization Society whose goal was to transport free blacks back to Africa. Founded in 1817, it led to the establishment of Liberia in 1822. Although some 15,000 freed blacks were transported, most had no wish to leave as most had become at least partially Americanized with is own distinctive history and culture./ In many cases identity of blacks was with America. FOCUS WAS TO ELIMINATE THE SLAVE TRADE. AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY.
Abolitionists/ William Lloyd Garrison
The Liberator- among the most noted was William Lloyd Garrison who along with his militant antislavery paper The Liberator began a thirty year war on the institution of slavery. His stern and uncompromising attitude (Puritan) isolated many both inside and outside the anti-slavery movement as he once publicly burned a copy of the Constitution on the Fourth of July (1854) condemning it as a covenant with death and an agreement with hell FYI: This phrase was borrowed from a Shaker condemnation of marriage. Nevertheless, other abolitionists rallied around Garrison and established the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Black abolitionists such as Frederick Douglas also distinguished themselves in the movement./ Wanted immediate emancipation of slaves. Burned Constitution because it condoned slavery. LIBERATOR CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO CIVIL WAR, ABOLITIONISM AS CAUSE OF CIVIL WAR
Anti-Slavery Publications
along with The Liberator, other influential works included Theodore Dwight Welds American Slavery As It Is (1839), but perhaps the most effective work was Harriet Beecher Stowes Uncle Toms Cabin./
Southern Reaction/Nat Turners Rebellion
in order to protect its valuable institution the South did not stand ideally by while abolitionists sprang into action. Antislavery sentiment was not unknown in the South as in the 1820s, antislavery societies were more numerous in this region that the north. However, after the 1830s with its institution and way of life at stake, abolitionism soon disappeared. Most damaging to anti-slavery activity in the South was Nat Turners rebellion in 1831 as slave states began tightening their slave codes and prohibited emancipation. Corresponding with Turners rebellion was the appearance of Garrisons Liberator which was blamed for inciting the incident as the state of Georgia offered $5000 for the arrest and conviction of Garrison./Slavery was both an economic and social institutional thing, so anti-slavery was a threat to peoples lives. Tried to blame Garrison for Turners Rebellion but no slaves could read. SOUTH BEGAN TO DEFEND SLAVERY MORE VIGOROUSLY. POSITIVE GOOD VS NECESSARY EVIL. SLAVES WERE TREATED BETTER THAN WAGE SLAVES
Positive Good v. necessary evil
part of the pro-slavery South was to defend slavery as a Positive Good rather than a necessary evil as it had done in the past. They even went as so far as citing the Bible and saying it was good to rescue the Africans from the barbarism of the jungle and provide them with Christianity./ After 1830 South began to defend slavery as a "positive good" rather than a "necessary evil". Said it was condoned by the Bible. Said Africans were rescued from Barbarianism or the Jungle and it gave them Christianity.
Northern Wage Slaves
another effort to defend their peculiar institution was the effort by the South to compare their servants with the northern factory workers who included overworked women and stunted children./ "Northern Wage Slaves" Proponents of slavery argued that their "servants" obviously were treated far better than Northern factory workers. Slaves could work outside in fresh air. Slavery ensured full employment. Old or sick cared for by family members. Long hours in north. Lungs filling with cotton fibers, bent over machines, industrial accidents.
Southern Reaction
gag-resolution - with the South turning increasingly hostile toward the question of slavery, antislavery forces in the North mobilized as controversy over free speech began to arise of southern postmasters refused to deliver abolitionists literature interfering with the freedom of the press as guaranteed by the Constitution. More troubling, however, was the gag-resolution passed in Congress in 1836 as southerners voted to table any antislavery appeals without debate. ON EXAM: This enraged former president JOHN QUINCY ADAMS who as a member of the House from Massachusetts waged a successful eight year battle for its repeal./CENSORSHIP. VIOLATION OF FREE SPEECH. GAG RESOLUTION FOUGHT AGAINST BY JQA. VIOLATED RIGHT TO PETITION.
Impact of Abolitionist
throughout the North abolitionists were very unpopular as Garrison himself was dragged through the streets of Boston with a rope tied around him while Reverend Elijah Lovejoy of Chicago was killed by a mob in Chicago while trying to keep his printing press from being destroyed. However, when the South began to curb rights protected by the Constitution many moderate and even conservative Northerners began to question the tactics of the South./ Increase in abolitionist activities is part of leading to civil war.CHARLES SUMNER UNHOLY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LORDS OF LOOM AND LORDS OF LASH
Economic Relationship
between the North and South was intimate especially in the cotton textile regions that were dependent upon slave produced cotton from the South. By the late 1850s southern planters owed northern banks and other creditor almost $300 million. Textile mill owners feared a disruption of cotton from the South would destroy their business and bring unemployment to their region. Many anti-slavery politicians like ON EXAM: Senator Charles Sumner from Massachusetts alluded to the unholy alliance between the Lords of the loom (textile owners) and the Lords of the Lash (planters or slave owners)./