Antebellum Slavery Chapter 6 Life in the Cotton Kingdom
What does Antebellum mean? • A period of time before a war, usually refers to the American Civil War. • 1820 – 1861 (start of Civil War) for reference purposes only
Section 1: The Expansion of Slavery • Invention of cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793 • Led to rapid expansion of slavery – need land! • Slave population increased tremendously, 1790-1860 • Grew fastest in Alabama and Mississippi
Slave Population, 1820–1860 • Map 6–2. Slavery spread southwestward from the upper South and the eastern seaboard following the spread of cotton cultivation. Source: Sam Bowers Hilliard, Atlas of Antebellum Southern Agriculture (Louisiana State University Press, 1984), pp. 29–34.
Cotton Production in the South, 1820–1860 • Map 6–1. Cotton production expanded westward between 1820 and 1860 into Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and western Tennessee. Source: Sam Bowers Hilliard, Atlas of Antebellum Southern Agriculture (Louisiana State University Press, 1984) pp. 67–71.
Ownership: Slaves in the Old South • Slavery unevenly distributed – think about the statistics from yesterday! • 25% of white families owned slaves by 1860 • Nearly half of slaveholders owned fewer than five • 1% owned more than fifty slaves
Black Slaveholders There were Black Slaveholders, because . . . • They did it to protect families from sale and disruption. • Not very popular. In 1830, only 2% of free blacks owned slaves.
Section 2: Slave Labor in Agriculture • Slaves in the South • 55% cultivated cotton (field slaves) • 20% grew tobacco or produced sugar, rice, hemp (field slaves) • 15% domestic servants • 10% trades and industries
An engraving dating from about 1860, slaves harvest cotton under white supervision on a southern plantation. Source: The Granger Collection, NY
Section 3: Other Types of Slave Labor • 25% of all slaves did non-agricultural duties • House slaves ~ “elite” slaves (cooks, maids, nurses, butlers, gardeners + Less physically demanding + Better food and clothing - Grueling to work in 19th century kitchens (Belle) - Constantly under white supervision
Photograph by L.D. Andrew, 1936, from a vintage photograph taken ca. 1880 - Georgia)http://www.gwu.edu/~folklife/bighouse/panel9.html
Domestic Slave with Planter's Family," Virginia, ca. 1859-64http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/slavery/details.php?categorynum=9&categoryName=Domestic%20Servants%20and%20Free%20People%20of%20Color&theRecord=10&recordCount=56;
Section 3: Other Types of Slave Labor • Skilled craftsmen ~ more “elite” than house slaves and included carpenters, blacksmiths, and millwrights + Could travel for supplies and gave a taste of freedom + Could be hired out (work for $$)
Urban Slavery • Were the “immigrants” of the South • Jobs include: domestics, washwomen, stevedores, general laborers + Interacted with free black community + Had opportunities to hire out ($$)
Young African-American Stevedore Loading Cotton onto a Steamboat at New Orleans, 1800shttp://www.art.com/products/p14385227-sa-i3032613/young-african-american-stevedore-loading-cotton-onto-a-steamboat-at-new-orleans-1800s.htm?sorig=0
Industrial Slavery • Jobs included textile mills, iron working, lumber industry • Most industrialist in the South hired slaves + Greater autonomy + Could provide path to freedom
Why did slavery expand in the cotton kingdom? • How was the slave population distributed across the South? • Why did a small number of free blacks purchase slaves? • What types of crops did slaves cultivate in the South? • What type of jobs/labor was performed by the slaves in the South?
Punishment • Physical (Corporal) Punishment • Supported in the Bible • Essential to keep the paternalistic character of slavery • Kept individual slaves under control • Used as an example to other slaves to keep control • Caused other slaves to work together and protect one another
Louisiana Slave Displays Scars • In this 1863 photograph a former Louisiana slave displays the scars that resulted from repeated whippings. Although this degree of scarring is exceptional, few slaves were able to avoid being whipped at least once in their lives. Source: National Archives and Records Administration
The Domestic Slave Trade • The Cotton Kingdom expands to the South and West • Upper South sells excess slaves to Lower South • 50% of Upper South slaves traded during Antebellum Period • Many feared being “sold down river” • many slaves in Chesapeake Region escaped
A Black Father Being Sold Away from His Family • This woodcut of a black father being sold away from his family appeared in The Child’s Anti-Slavery Book in 1860. Family ruptures, like the one shown, were among the more common and tragic aspects of slavery, especially in the upper South, where masters claimed slavery was “mild.” Source: Courtesy of the Library of Congress
The Domestic Slave Trade • Traders operated slave prisons or slave pens • Washington DC (one of the largest and near the US Capitol)!!! • Slaves were chained or roped together and then walked on foot in coffles
A Slave Coffle • Before 1850 Washington, D.C. was a major depot in the domestic (or interstate) slave trade. This woodcut portrays a slave coffle—a group of slaves bound together—passing the Capitol Building in about 1815. Source: Courtesy of the Library of Congress
The Domestic Slave Trade • This business was opposite of the claim that slavery was a benign institution • Description often used by slaveholders
Section 3 Essential Questions • Why was physical punishment so widely used by slaveholders? • What was the domestic slave trade?
Section 5: The Socialization of Slaves • Surviving Slavery • Used folk tales (Brer Rabbit) to teach children how to conduct themselves • Learned to watch what they said around whites • Learned not to talk back • Learned to camouflage their feelings • Turned toward religion
Religion • Helped in coping • Mid-19th century most slaves Protestant • Biracial Baptist and Methodist churches • Racially segregated seating • Shared cemeteries and joined together in communion • Plantation churches told slaves “Servants obey your masters” • Preferred semi-secret black church • Moses and deliverance • Emotional
Plantation Burial • British artist John Antrobus completed this painting in about 1860. It is named Plantation Burial and suggests the importance of religion among enslaved African Americans. Source: John Antrobus, Plantation Burial, oil painting, The Historical New Orleans Collection. 1960.46
Section 5 Essential Questions • How did African Americans adapt to life under slavery?