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

  • Introduction of Eli Whitney's cotton gin 1793 created a deman for labor -> reinvigoratesd slavery in South

"Cotton is King!":

  • more slaves -> more cotton
  • Cotton also benefitted North -> prosperity of North and South rested on Souther slaves
  • Britain depended on trade of American cotton - gave America power, and was monarch of the South

The Planter "Aristocracy":

  • South was an oligarchy, influence by planter aristocracy
  • John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis - rich Southerners w/ obligation to serve public
  • Sir Walter Scott's manor/castle fiction inspired an idealized Southern feudal society
  • Women commanded household slaves

Slaves of the Slave System:

  • Excessive cultivation - land butchery - many went West and Northwest -> Big got bigger and small got smaller
  • Slaves could be expensive (to feed and manage)
  • Cotton: one-crop economy
  • South didn't attract immgrants - more wealth for North

The White Majority:

  • Only about 1/4 of whites in the South owned slaves
  • Most small slave-owners labored w/ their slaves
  • Non-slave-owning whites -subsistence farmers "hillbillies," "crackers" - defend slavery! Why? They hoped to one day own a slave and move up the social ladder. they liked the "raical superiority" because it was the only thing they had.
  • Mountain whites - Unionists!

Free Blacks: Slaves Without Master:

  • About 250,000 free blacks in South by 1860
  • Kind of a "3rd race" - prohibited from certain occupations - resented by slavery-lovers
  • Unpopular in North too - most states denied right to vote, barred from public schools
  • South liked black individuals, but hated the race. North "liked" the race, but disliked the individuals.

Plantation Slavery:

  • Congress outlawed slave import in 1808, but there was much illegal smuggling (despite death penalty)
  • $1800/slave
  • Wanted slave women to have lots of babies. Many mulatto children - most enslaned
  • Slave auctions - yuck!

Life Under the Lash:

  • Slavery everywhere meant hard work, oppression, no civil or political rights. Floggings common.
  • By 1860, most slaves concentrated in "black belt" S. Carolina -> Georgia, Alabama, Miss, Louisiana
  • Majority of blacks lived on large plantations - family life was stable -> slave culture developed.
  • Religion was amixture of Christian and African elements

The Burdens of Bondage:

  • No rights -no dignity - no "American Dream"
  • Slaves sometimes worked minimally - "lazy" - pilfered stuff from masters
  • Ill-fated rebellions

Early Abolitionism:

  • The American Colonization Society wanted to send blacks back to Africa - Liberia founded for this purpose.
  • Britain freed slaves of West Indies
  • Theodore Dwight Weld - spoke against slavery - travelled through Old NW preaching, wrote pamphlet => influenced Harriet Beechar Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin

Radical Abolitionsim:

  • William Lloyd Garrison - antislavery newspaper The Liberator - 9 parts advocate, 1 part awesome.
  • => Founded American Anti-Slavery Society
  • Black abolitionsists: David Walker, Sojourner Truth, Martin Delaney
  • Frederick Douglass - escaped slave - wrote an autobiography
  • These abolitionist movements influenced the Liberty Party in 1840, Free Soil Party in 1848, and Republican Party in 1850

The South Lashes Back:

  • Souther slave-owners slept w/guns in case of rebellion
  • Pro-slavers tried to make slavery soundl ike a good thing

The Abolitionst Impact in the North:

  • Northerners upset by antislavery movements -> N.E. made lots of $ from South Cotton slavery
  • Union bound together w/ cotton threads


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