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New communities that developed in the fertile, cheap areas out West. Linked by transportation networks to markets out east. Populated by European immigrants and free people of color from the East. Religious fervor following the Second Great Awakening inspired some to seek spiritual regeneration through utopian communities rather than cash crops. Valued community and social gatherings.
Largest of communal utopian experiments, reached their peak from 1820 to 1860: 6,000 members in 20 settlements across 8 states. Through agricultures and hand crafts most became self-sufficient, profitable enterprises. Originally established in England. Apocalyptic and anti-sex beliefs, thought they were the instrument of salvation. Abolished families and elected women, relied on recruitment.
Most successful communitarian group, founded by farmer Joseph Smith who believed he'd been visited by an angel Moroni who showed him golden tablets and published his beliefs. Encountered violent opposition for their "treason", self-governing, introduced polygamy. Eventually, under Brigham Young, they established a patriarchal community of saints in Utah.
Cooperative in West Roxbury, MA. Members rejected materialism in favor of rural communalism, combining spirituality, manual labor, play and intellectual life. Founded by literary critic George Ripley and played a big role in the flowering of an American literature.
The belief that the physical world is secondary to the spiritual realm, which human beings can know by ignoring custom and experience and relying instead on intuition.
Hawthorne, Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, Melville, and others contribute to literary outpouring with an Americanized approach to the European Romantic movement with philosophical intensity and moral idealism. Universal themes and American characters and settings.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Essayist and mother of American Renaissance, originally a minister, but quit to write about individualism and self-reliance, and that intuitive experience of God is attainable. Writing had force because of it's simplicity and directness.
California Gold Rush
Gold discovered in 1848 and western traffic begins to flow south. James Marshall spots gold in Sutter's Mill and word spread, leading Californians to rush to scrabble for instant fortunes.
Young men mine gold, hoping to get rich quick after leaving their homes all over, but most never found enough to cover their expenses. Many ended up working in California's cities and agricultural districts. Enterprising merchants rushed to supply, feed, and clothe the new settlers.
California Agricultural Boom
49-ers had to be fed, lots of wheat because it's easy to plant, required minimal investment, and offered quick return. Many horsedrawn machines imported because of scarce expensive labor. Linked to rest of country, cleared land, and relied on irrigation.
Early 19th Century Urban Problems
Because of rapid expansion, cities were disorderly, unsafe, and unhealthy. Migrants relieved themselves outside and threw refuse in any vacant area leading to the spread of disease and polluted water. Slowly helped with piping, sewers, and refuse collectors. Cities lacked adequate taxing power to provide services for all.
Secretary of State Board of Education from 1837 to 1848, enabling Massachusetts to lead the way in public education by establishing a six month minimum school year and formal training for teachers. Preached that free, state-sponsored education would end misery, crime, and suffering.
Became normal in 1830s as professionals, merchants, craftsmen, and laborers vented their rage against political and economic rivals. Especially present among workers in Philadelphia, and led to police forces.
Alexis de Tocqueville
French nobleman that wrote Democracy in America about the equality he observed in his travels there, attributing it to geographic mobility, as it gave people the opportunity to start over.
New Aristocracy of Wealth and Power
New York Sun publisher Moses Yale Beach observes wealthy New Yorkers in a gossipy context, accusing the rich and well educated of exploiting others as it was concentrated in a small percentage.
Poverty struck newly arrived immigrants, free blacks, the working poor, and thieves, beggars, and prostitutes eked out a living. Dreaded illness, disability, old age, widowhood, and desertion.
New York City's Five Points
Few blocks from city halls, no running water or sewers, notorious for its squalor. Old Brewery converted to housing, primarily Irish immigrants and free blacks.
Urban Middle Class
Small, but distinct. City businessmen, traders, and professionals of the market economy. Increased with growth and specialization of trade. Enjoyed new consumer items and lived in big houses. Backbone of American clubs and societies.
Cult of Domesticity
A woman was expected to be an unpaid laborer of her home and achieve mastery in religion, morality, domestic arts, music, and literature.
Came when potato famine led to starvation, malnutrition and typhoid. From 1847 to 1854, 1.2 million came. Majority were young, female, Gaelic, Catholic, and poor and found work in the textile industry.
Anti Catholic Sentiment in Early 19th Century America
British Protestants view Irish Catholics as inferiors, with anti-riots being commonplace, often motivated by economic competition and anxiety. Blamed for immorality, alcoholism, poverty and economic upheaval.
Usually accepted as white and Protestant, thus stereotyped as hardworking, self-reliant, and intelligent, assimilating easily. Came because small landholdings made it hard to earn a living and migrated in groups, maintaining customs.
Hispanics in Early 19th Century America
Became "immigrants" as expansion treaties made them part of the U.S. Treated as foreigners and second-class citizens in their homes. In California, their customs quickly gave way for American Culture.
Blacks began to fight for voting rights through activist movements, stressed racial solidarity and held emigrationist conventions of their own, hoping to create a kingdom in Niger.
The grandson of Major Pierce Butler, a senator from South Carolina, and a wealthy planter. He married a famous British actress named Fanny Kemble but divorced because of disputes about slavery. After squandering most of his fortune in gambling, he set up the largest slave auction in American history, selling over 436 of his own slaves. Managed by Joseph Bryan, the sale was a goldmine for Butler and brought him out of debt, demonstrating the significance of slavery as a trade and the dependence of white wealth on slavery.
Population Distribution in the Antebellum South
The South had a significantly lower population density and was more rural than the north. This is primarily because of the south's economy: plantation owners spread out over hundreds of acres to maximize production and income, and didn't invest in factories or a unified market economy, but rather slavery and agriculture.
Proslavery Arguments in the Antebellum South
Held by the influential and majority wealthy planter class and based on racist ideals, using the Bible and other resources as justification for slavery. White southerners proclaimed slavery as a "positive good" and not a "necessary evil" and that it was the natural status of blacks. Some stated that slaves were necessary to the economy and were symbols of the quest for prosperity. Others believed in a hierarchal view that god had set in stone. Social changes could only come slowly, if at all.
Self-reliant, individualistic and isolated from most of the change happening across the North and Midwest. They pioneered the southern wilderness, moving into undeveloped regions frequently with stories of good land and good opportunities. Began to blend within the staple crop economy, purchasing large amounts of land and slaves. Most stuck to the isolated mountainous areas of the Appalachians, moving as independent farmers.
Yeoman Folk Culture
Based on family, church, and priority in their local region. They attended religious revivals called camp meetings, quilting bees, logrollings, house-raising and other events. The role of a woman in yeoman life was demanding: working the fields with men, preparing food, household chores, caring for sick, and giving birth. Contrast to women of industrious north and rural south.
Landless Whites of the Antebellum South
Demonstrated the importance of land and slaves and how they determined wealth in the economy. Consisted mostly of immigrants working as unskilled laborers for other business in the country side or completing heavy, dangerous labor like building railroads. Owned a few household items and livestock that could feed themselves in an open range. Those who bought a little land had to face an unpredictable crop market, couldn't afford slaves, and became poor.
Free Blacks of the Antebellum South
Neither a social or economic improvement over slavery. Most didn't own land, worked as unskilled laborers alongside slaves. Barely any rights, stopping them from enjoying freedom of the other classes. Small minority bought lang and became skilled craftsmen. Mulattos were held in contempt in most states and often enslaves, but sometimes enjoyed relative privilege in cities like New Orleans.
Slaveholding Planters of the Antebellum South
Most weren't really rich, sophisticated aristocrats, but actually a class of humble, aspiring farmers with under 20 slaves on average. The genteel slaveholding class didn't go away, but the richest of the planters exuded sophistication, attending parties and other exclusive gatherings. Divided between those who were newly rich from cotton and those who inherited their wealth and slavery through a long line of successful ancestors.
Many southern slaveholders saw themselves as benevolent guardians of an inferior race rather than oppressors. Yeoman farmers also thought this. Comforted rich planters because it served as a defense against abolitionist criticism. In reality, served as a give-take relationship because slaves obliged mats and provide them a living space while owners took the labor of the bondsmen.
Women of the Planter Class in the Antebellum South
Because of the paternalistic society, women were similarly subdued. After boarding school, women would return home to marry a suitor, someone she had little connection with and had only known for a brief period of time. Her opinion had little weight in the matter, as women were often alienated and silenced. Ceded all rights to husband and became very isolated, only able to connect through kinship or through other women.
Sexual relations between men and slave women became a problem and white women weren't supposed to take notice (i.e. stuck their head in the ground). Increase of immoral acts of adultery and mulatto children.
Key to becoming agricultural empire, provided the physical strength and knowledge of crops, but were involved in the wrong side of an unequal power relationship. Food was plain and unnutritious and clothes were plain, coarse, and cheap. Except for richer plantations with houses, most slaves lived in one room cabins with 1-2 entire families: filthy, crowded, and disease ridden.
Slaves' Work Routines
"Sun to sun"; fields in the day, watering livestock and cleaning cotton at night. Most slaveowners desire for wealth and profit fueled violence and cruelty, where every member of the family was required to do some kind of beneficial work. Women worked as hard as men, even while pregnant. Older slaves looked after the children, ginning, weaving, and completing other tasks in their spare time. Slave children regarded as potential labor, once grown, they increased the planters productivity and profit.
Used by planters in SC and Ga by assigning measured amounts of work to be completed in a given amount of time. Once a task was completed, the slave was free to his "own time" where they could tend to garden plots and livestock. At it's best, slaves and masters embraced it, fostering a nuance of mutual trust.
Violence Against Slaves in the Antebellum South
Although physical punishment and abuse was common, most slaves were scarred by immobility in the social hierarchy, hopelessness, and belonging to another person. Physical punishment symbolized the absolute authority that white planters had over their slaves, with little or no interference from the law. Whipping, beating, mutilations, burnings, tortures, and murders were common.
Although some former slaves remembered warm feelings between masters and slaves, many slaves described their relationships with their masters with the words "distrust" and "antagonism". Most were suspicious of white activity and hated their owners.
After the restriction of the slave trade by Congress in the 1830s, all slaves were native born Americans, yet maintained African influences through dance, musical instruments and the basis of their religion, giving them a sense of their past and linking them with their descendants. Began to see themselves as one race.
Used Christianity as a means of support and resistance, putting firm belief in God's justice and his sympathy for the slaves' hardships and plight. As their religion developed, African influences began to appear, and religion meetings became dominated by emotional song and dance. Various sermon chants and hymns were sung, enforcing the slave's close connection with God and a sense of rebellion.
Chanted homilies were both messages from scripture and patterned forms that required the audience to respond punctuated "Amens!" Many themes run through the lyrics of slave songs, later referred to as sorrow songs. Many expressed intimacy and closeness with God. In their countless refrains of their songs, they fashioned survival and resistance out of their own cultural imagination.
As roving businessmen, slave traders made considerable amounts of money, selling large numbers of slaves. Their profession was driven by market forces, and slaves were moved from city to city, placed in "pens" and sold to various buyers at an auction. Showing up to 200 slaves at once, slave traders kept them and their best condition during auctions and often had them sing and dance to promote buying.
Not recognized by law, but allowed by masters because they needed to have children in order to have labor in the "cotton kingdom". Feared violence, separation, and sexual appropriation daily. Struggled to keep kids together and after emancipation spent time trying to relocate them. Emphasized their history by naming kids after relatives of past generations. Kinship networks and broadly extended families are what held life together.
Slave Resistance and Rebellion
Although full scale rebellion was risky, most slaves resisted by altering their work conditions, favoring passive resistance (i.e. slacking off, promoting negative attitude toward owners). These attitudes caused whites to doubt the success of free black labor after the war. Rebellions were violent, often attacking slave owners and overseers, with a painful price of physical punishment or hanging. Some male slaves tried to run away using the underground railroad. Rarely had an impact in slave-reliant communities and didn't ease hopelessness.
Born a slave in Caribbean, but won the lottery and bought his freedom. Determined to free his people, became a religious leader and arranged an insurrection in South Carolina. Before, he and his co-conspirators were arrested, 37 hanged, and others banished. Evidence suggests that no insurrection was planned and the arrests were a result of paranoia.
Struck for freedom in Southampton County, Va in 1831. Learned to read at a young age, became a preacher, and led rebels from farm to farm in the predawn darkness, killing their victims with guns, and before the planters stopped them, killed 60 white men and women of all ages in 48 hours. In retaliation, whites killed slaves at random all over the region. Turner eventually caught and hanged.
Virginia Debate on Slavery of 1832
Shocked by Turner's rebellion, held a full scale public debate over gradual emancipation as a means of ridding itself of slavery and of blacks. Wouldn't have freed any slaves until 1858, and provided that eventually all blacks would be colonized outside Virginia. Didn't pass through House of Delegates, leaving VA to reinforce it's moral and economic defenses of slavery. Last debate of slavery before Civil War.
The Impending Crisis
Published by nonslaveholder Hinton R. Helper as a reaction to the increasing tension between the slaveholding and nonslaveholding populations. Condemned the slave system, publicly expressing the hate and conflict between the once unified classes of whites. Also revealed hidden fears from the slaveholding class about the lack of support from the nonslaveholding population.
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