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What Are Your Impressions?. How prevalent was slave ownership in the South? How were slaves treated? How did the demand for slaves impact prices? How important was cotton to the American economy?. The South. Cotton was the most important Southern crop and America’s major export

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What Are Your Impressions?

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What are your impressions

What Are Your Impressions?

  • How prevalent was slave ownership in the South?

  • How were slaves treated?

  • How did the demand for slaves impact prices?

  • How important was cotton to the American economy?

The south

The South

  • Cotton was the most important Southern crop and America’s major export

  • South not impacted by immigration, urbanization, or industrialization- primarily agricultural

  • Older sections of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina were shifting from tobacco to wheat

Economics of slavery

Economics of Slavery

  • The increased importance of cotton increased the importance of slavery

  • Price of slaves rose until by 1850 a slave was worth as much as $1800

  • Crop value per slave rose from $15 to $125

  • High prices for slaves in the Deep South caused a shift of slaves from older regions to “down the river”

Economics of slavery1

Economics of Slavery

  • A great migration of slaves occurred as they were shipped further west from the seaboard states

  • Slave trading became big business- but impacted slave families as husbands, wives, and children were separated (mostly in the Old South)

Economics of slavery2

Economics of Slavery

  • Because it was so lucrative, the business of slave trading lost its social stigma and men of high social station engaged in it

  • Since slaves were so expensive, holders of slaves became smaller in number

  • By the Civil War, only 1 in 4 Southern white farmers owned any slaves at all

Economics of slavery3

Economics of Slavery

  • Small farmers grew the staple crops- they might have a slave or two toiling alongside

  • “Poor white trash” lived in squalor in the mountains eking out what they could from the poor soil

  • Large plantations grew commercial crops and usually had profits of %10 or more

Antebellum plantation life

Antebellum Plantation Life

  • Plantations were like small villages

  • Southern homes were centers of manufacturing- turning out clothing and other textiles

  • Wives often ran the plantation

  • White children were raised by white family and slaves

  • Slave children normally did not begin work until age 6-7

Sociology of slavery

Sociology of Slavery

  • Treatment of slaves depended on the master- some did not whip while others whipped at least once a month

  • Average of 20 lashes for small offences such as shirking work and 39 or more for running away

  • Some slaves were whipped to death but by 1821 laws allowed masters to be charged with murder if a slave died from abuse- conviction resulted in a large fine (one woman was fined $214.28)

Sociology of slavery1

Sociology of Slavery

  • Most owners provided adequate clothing, food, and housing (slaves were valuable)

  • Slave infant mortality was twice that of whites and life expectancy about 5 years less than whites

  • The US was only place where slavery grew due to natural increase (only %5 of slaves to the New World went to North America- ½ million grew to 4 million by 1860)

Sociology of slavery2

Sociology of Slavery

  • Masters generally felt responsible for their slaves and slaves were dependent and often imitative of their masters

  • From their close proximity arose every type of human relationship

  • Slaves adapted to the system while attempting to resist it

Sociology of slavery3

Sociology of Slavery

  • Because slaves often appeared happy and were not overtly rebellious, whites persuaded themselves slaves were content with the system

  • As Northern opposition to slavery mounted, the system hardened towards slaves

  • The fear of revolt caused harsh treatment

Sociology of slavery4

Sociology of Slavery

  • The 1822 Denmark Vesey Conspiracy resulted in the execution of 37 slaves with another 30+ deported

  • After a Louisiana revolt, 16 slaves were decapitated

  • The 1831 Nat Turner revolt in Virginia killed 57 whites

  • After the Turner revolt, the South made it harder for masters to free slaves

Manufacturing in the south

Manufacturing in the South

  • Small flour and lumber mills flourished

  • Iron and coal were mined

  • By 1825 textile manufacturing was on the rise due to water power

  • Less than %15 of manufactured goods came from the South

  • Almost all goods and services came from the North

Northern industrial juggernaut

Northern Industrial Juggernaut

  • In the North – rapid industrial growth

  • 1859 – Northeast produced $1.27 billion out of $2 billion

  • Steam power facilitated by rich coal fields in Pennsylvania

  • American society open to innovation

  • Inventions included vulcanization of rubber, sewing machine, cylinder press, screw-making machine, friction match, and the lead pencil

Northern industrial juggernaut1

Northern Industrial Juggernaut

  • Machines substitute for shortage of skilled labor

  • By 1850, US led world in manufacture of goods by precision instruments

  • Expansion westward uncovered new resources

  • Workers open to labor-saving devices (Luddites)

  • Society more open to corporations

Northern industrial juggernaut2

Northern Industrial Juggernaut

  • Immigration stimulated manufacturing

  • Gold finds added to supply of capital

  • European investors financed American businesses

  • Improvements in transportation made goods cheaper

  • Middle class = expanding national markets

Nation of immigrants

Nation of Immigrants

  • Jobs created by industrial growth attracted immigrants

  • Attitudes of “native” population

  • Social, racial, and economic rivalries

  • Immigrants brought about end of hiring young women (Waltham System)

The Irish

How wage earners lived

How Wage Earners Lived

  • Low wages and crowding increased slums in cities

  • City services virtually non-existent

  • Factory towns - small gardens possible

  • Cities – even grass unusual

  • All members of poor families had to labor to survive

  • Unions established with varying results – general unionization did not arrive until after Civil War

  • Unionization seemed “un-American” – wage labor looked down upon

Foreign commerce

Foreign Commerce

  • Increase in both imports and exports

  • Exported more raw materials and imported more manufactured goods

  • Britain remained biggest trading partner

  • Sailing packets facilitated movement of people and freight

  • NE made good living through whaling

  • Advancements in ships- the clipper ship

Foreign commerce1

Foreign Commerce

  • Clipper ships provided swift passage to California gold fields

  • Cut transit time from 5-6 months to 3 months

  • Speed impacted by weight – did not carry bulky goods – carried specialty goods

Clipper Ship

Steam conquers the atlantic

Steam Conquers the Atlantic

  • Oceangoing steamships came later than river ships due to fuel and stability constraints

  • Soon eclipsed the clipper ships (average speed versus bursts)

  • Construction of iron ships spelled end of dominance of American shipbuilders

  • Steamships resulted in drastic decrease in cost of freight and passage

Steam conquers the atlantic1

Steam Conquers the Atlantic

  • Conditions for poorer passengers poor- crowded and foul

  • Allowed even the poorest ability to migrate

Canals railroads

Canals & Railroads

  • Canal building increased internal and external trade

  • By 1840- 3,326 miles of canals

  • Traffic on Erie Canal 20 times greater in 1851 than 1836

Canals railroads1

Canals & Railroads

  • First railroad built in England

  • By 1840- US had 3,328 miles of RR

  • Most track lay east of Appalachian Mts.

  • Engineering problems with track and locomotives made growth of RR slow process

  • By 1860- US had 30,636 miles of RR

  • By 1855- RR connected east with St. Louis and Chicago

Financing the railroads

Financing the Railroads

  • Railroad construction required immense amounts of labor and capital

  • Private investors supplied about ¾ of the money used in railroads prior to 1860

  • Funds were raised periodically through the use of “calls” – sometimes if a railroad made money that money could be used to complete the project

Financing the railroads1

Financing the Railroads

  • Railroads in rich regions had no problem attracting capital- other regions demanded “mixed enterprises” (half the capital coming from state and local government)

  • Most often Congress blocked federal aid to railroads but that changed with the Illinois Central which was granted land (200 foot right-of-way with strips of land 1 mile wide and 6 miles deep)

Railroads and the economy

Railroads and the Economy

  • Agriculture increased as farmers could now transport crops to market at affordable rates

  • Farmers moved into formerly inaccessible territories

  • Railroads sold farmland at low rates

  • Access to markets caused farmers to become more efficient and increase output

Railroads and the economy1

Railroads and the Economy

  • New tools were invented to make farming easier such as the steel plowshare and the mechanical reaper by McCormick

  • Wheat output rose nearly 75% due to the reaper

  • Cities such as Buffalo and Cincinnati prospered but Chicago grew the most due to railroads

Railroads and the economy2

Railroads and the Economy

  • Railroads stimulated more than just agriculture- such as Investment banking and bar and sheet iron production

  • The proliferation of trunk lines and canals led to a sharp drop in freight and passenger rates which helped increase commerce

  • Food that fed the factories on the east coast came from the west via railroads

  • European demand for American foodstuffs made American farms boom

Railroads and sectional conflict

Railroads and Sectional Conflict

  • Increased production and cheap transportation boosted the Western farmer’s income and standard of living

  • Changes had their costs

    • Farmers became dependent on middlemen

    • Buying a farm required more capital due to higher land costs and cost of machinery

    • More farmers became laborers and tenant farmers

Railroads and sectional conflict1

Railroads and Sectional Conflict

  • The West and East became more integrated due to railroads and business

  • These economic ties became cultural and many regions became anti-slave

  • The South failed to forge links with the Northwest as it had no like transportation system- the South relied on the Mississippi River

The eve of the civil war

The Eve of the Civil War

  • The mid-1840s to the mid-1850s was a period of remarkable economic growth due to railroads, canals, and the settlement of new land

  • This boom took a turn for the worse after the Crimean War and Europe’s lack of demand for American food- the Panic of 1857

  • Demand for Southern cotton remained high and the South believed it was immune to downturns and could be better off out of the Union (“King Cotton”)

What are your impressions


  • This was the major American export in the middle of the 1800’s

  • During the middle 1800’s, this was the economics of slavery

  • This was the approximate number of white planters/farmers with slaves

  • Much of the South’s cotton trade was controlled by them

What are your impressions


  • Generalization about the treatment of slaves is difficult because of this

  • Nat Turner became notorious for this

  • This was the Southern reaction to the Nat Turner Rebellion

  • This most accounted for the lack of cities and industry in the South

What are your impressions


  • Manufacturing in the South can be described as this

  • By the 1850’s, the US led in type of manufacturing

  • Wage laborers survived in the cities because of this

  • Clipper ships were popular for this reason

What are your impressions


  • Railroad growth lagged initially due to this

  • Before 1860, ¾ of railroad investment came from her

  • This was the first railroad to benefit from federal support

  • The steel plowshare and his mechanical reaper helped make US farmers more productive

What are your impressions


  • This competed the most with the railroads

  • The decreasing importance of this increased conflict between the South and the other sections

  • How would the US economy be described in the 1840’s – 1850’s?

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