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Slavery and the Old (Antebellum) South: The Cotton Kingdom. Building the Cotton Kingdom. White Gold (King Cotton). Textile manufacturing around the world ¾ of world supply came from the southern United States Over ½ of total exports from U.S. by 1850

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Slavery and the Old (Antebellum) South: The Cotton Kingdom

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white gold king cotton
White Gold (King Cotton)
  • Textile manufacturing around the world
    • ¾ of world supply came from the southern United States
    • Over ½ of total exports from U.S. by 1850
      • $ used to purchase imported manufactured goods
southern economy
Southern Economy
  • Limited industry
    • Southern banks loaning $ for slaves and land
    • Less than 10% of manufactured goods
  • Discouraged immigration
  • Inhibited technological advances
    • Short rail lines (point A to point B)
    • Cotton Gin, Flat bottom Rear Paddle Steamboats
the expansion of slavery in a global economy
The Expansion of Slavery in a Global Economy
  • In 1860 the American South, if independent, would have been one of the wealthiest countries in the world based on the revenue of the cotton trade.
  • Cotton cultivation and its expansion depended on technological development, land, labor, demand, and a global system of trade.

This is the triangle slave trade.slaves were legally trafficked between Africa and the United States (until 1808) and Latin America.

slavery in latin america
Slavery in Latin America
  • Europeans depended on African slavery in their New World colonies.
  • African slaves were imported to replace the indigenous populations that were eradicated by disease.
  • Sugar production was the cash crop for the Latin American holdings of the European powers.
white and black migrations in the south
Whiteand Black Migrations in the South
  • Between 1830 and 1860, southerners began to migrate in a southwest direction to fill up the fertile land and increase cotton production for the mills of England.
  • The center of cotton production gradually shifted from South Carolina to Mississippi.
  • “Sold Down the River” (Coffle)
  • An estimated 1 million slaves were transported westward by this forced migration.

Southern Society (1850)

“Slavocracy”[plantation owners]


The “Plain Folk”[white yeoman farmers]

Black Freemen


Black Slaves3,200,000

Total US Population --> 23,000,000[9,250,000 in the South = <40%]

paternalism and honor in the planter class
Paternalism and Honor in the Planter Class
  • Most Southern males adhered to a long-standing tradition of medieval chivalry and aversion to industrialization.
  • The Southern planters developed a paternalistic attitude towards his slaves; a supposedly kindly father-and-child relationship.
  • An intensely masculine code of honor placed the virtue of women on a pedestal.
  • The smallest insult could lead to pistol duels.
yeoman farmers
  • Most slaveholders (70 percent) belonged to the mid-level yeoman farmer class.
  • A Yeoman farmer might have owned as many as ten slaves, but usually worked alongside them.
  • 75 percent of all southerners held no slaves at all.
plain folk in the south
Plain Folk in the South
  • 3 of 4 white families owned no slaves
    • Family labor
    • Hired workers
  • Not involved in market economy
    • Home production
  • Little access to public education
    • Illiterate
    • Mean as hell?
why the plain folk didn t despise the planters
Why the Plain Folk didn’t despise the Planters
  • Economic and Personal Freedoms
    • Planter class had power
    • Racism
    • Political culture
    • Loyalty
    • Power (slave patrols)
    • Rented slaves from plantations
mountain whites
Hated Planters

Hated Blacks

Hated Everybody

Hinton R. Helper’s

Impending Crisis of the South (1859)

Andrew Johnson

Mountain Whites
paternalism or feudalism revisited
Paternalism (or Feudalism revisited)
  • Agrarian society (Father is the head)
    • Personal responsibility for physical and moral well-being of their dependents
      • Master has right to obedience and labor
      • Slave has right to protection, guidance, subsistence, care and attention
  • Code of personal honor (dueling)
  • Loves his wife because she is weak

The Southern “Belle”

“Lady on a Pedestal”

mary boykin chesnut
Mary Boykin Chesnut
  • Diary from Dixie
justifying slavery proslavery arguments
Justifying Slavery: Proslavery Arguments
  • Biblical Justification: ancient curse upon Ham, a child of Noah and other references
  • Historical Justification: all great civilizations participated in slavery
  • Legal Justification: the U.S. Constitution protected slavery w/o the word “slavery”
  • Racist Justification: multiple theories regarding inferiority of the black race
  • Sociological Justification: the black race as societal “children” that needed paternalistic guidance
south carolina s truth
South Carolina’s Truth
  • John C. Calhoun
    • All men created equal was “the most false & dangerous of all political errors”
    • Freedom is a privilege
      • A reward to be earned and not for all
  • Minister John B. Alger
    • “divine arrangement of the world”
      • Submission of inferior to superior
        • Black to white
        • Female to male
        • Lower classes to upper classes
other proslavery apologists for the peculiar institution
Other Proslavery Apologistsfor the “Peculiar Institution”
  • Thomas R. Dew

The Virtues of


  • George Fitzhugh

Sociology for the South

Cannibals ALL! Or Slaves

w/o Masters

daily toil
Daily Toil
  • Slaves were expected to work an average of 14 hours per day during warm weather and 10 hours in the winter.
  • Work gangs of 20 to 25 slaves labored under the whip of a “slave driver” or

Overseer (usually white trash)

  • The task system allowed slaves to finish a designated task each day at their own pace.
  • A normal slave was expected to pick 130 to 150 pounds of cotton a day.
slave personality stereotypes
Slave Personality Stereotypes
  • Nat Turner-Rebellious, Surly, Hostile, Murderous
  • Masters pictured their slaves as happy-go lucky, docile, simple, childlike, stereotyped



Slave Personality

“SAMBO”pattern of behavior used as a charade in front of whites [the innocent, laughing black man caricature – bulging eyes, thick lips, big smile, etc.].

slave law and the family
SlaveLaw and the Family
  • The legal status of slaves in the South was never fully resolved, leading to a wide range of laws governing the treatment of African Americans. Slave Codes.
  • Marriages between slaves were often arranged for optimal genetic reproduction.
  • Slave families were often separated.
the enduring family
The EnduringFamily
  • Family relationships were central to the lives of most slaves.
  • Slaves could draw love, protection, support, knowledge, and cultural identity from these extended families.
  • Slaves often performed extra work to provide extra food and clothing for their families.

A photograph of a family of slaves posing in front of their cabin.

forms of black protest
Forms of Black Protest
  • Daily acts of resistance might include breaking of tools, burning houses or crops, stealing food, self mutilation or simple work slowdowns.
  • Females might fake sickness or menstrual cramps.
  • The ultimate forms were murder or running away.

The Ledger of John White

  • Matilda Selby, 9, $400.00 sold to Mr. Covington, St. Louis, $425.00
  • Brooks Selby, 19, $750.00 Left at Home – Crazy
  • Fred McAfee, 22, $800.00 Sold to Pepidal,Donaldsonville, $1200.00
  • Howard Barnett, 25, $750.00 Ranaway. Sold out of jail, $540.00
  • Harriett Barnett, 17, $550.00 Sold to Davenport and Jones, Lafourche, $900.00
black christianity
  • Christian worship was an integral part of life in the slave quarters.
  • Black Christianity often included aspects of Islamic and African religions.
  • Black religious gatherings were usually forbidden unless a white overseer was present.
  • For the white planters, religion became a type of social control.

These were used to keep track of the slaves they were. also branded so if a runaway was found the person who found them they would know where to return the slave. to and collect the reward for finding the slave.

Slave tags issued in Charleston, South Carolina, 1817-63


These are shackles used to chain

slaves down so they couldn’t easily run away

slave narratives
Slave Narratives
  • Frederick Douglass
  • Solomon Northrup
  • Harriett Jacobs (Linda Brent)
  • Henry “Box” Brown
  • 100’s more
  • WPA Freedmen Interviews
northern and foreign observations
Northern and Foreign Observations
  • Frederick Law Olmsted’s

The Cotton Kingdom

  • Alexis de Tocqueville’s

Democracy in America

  • Frances Kemball’s

Life on a Georgia Plantation