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Unit 2 Slave Controversy and Social Reform. Chapter 9 The Antebellum Era 1820-1860. Slavery and the Nation.

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unit 2 slave controversy and social reform

Unit 2 Slave Controversy and Social Reform

Chapter 9

The Antebellum Era 1820-1860

slavery and the nation
Slavery and the Nation
  • By 1860 there were 4 million slaves in the US. Most northern states had abolished slavery- not b/c they disagreed with it per se, but b/c it wasn’t economically practical. Before 1793 southern econ was weak, and many southerners (Like Jefferson) believed there was no need to “deal” with slavery, it would die out on its own.
  • Mason Dixon line: boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania (which had been in dispute) was the border between slave and free states
cotton and slavery
Cotton and Slavery
  • Cotton gin and industrialization of textiles expanded demand for cotton and therefore need for slaves
  • Geographic advantages made south main source worldwide of cotton (supplied 80% of British manufacturing, 100% of American) with ever increasing farming (like tobacco, cotton wears out the land) in the west (by 1860 1/3 of cotton farmed west of Mississippi)
  • North and South were engrained in their economic choices, so the West (which got influxes from both areas) became a source of sectional tension
the slave economy
The Slave Economy
  • Even though the slaves were in the south- the entire national economy was impacted by slavery. Transportation, banking, and factories all were involved in cotton trade- this made it harder for abolitionists to fight slavery.
  • Slavery discouraged immigrants from going to the south (made south most anglo-saxon section of country)
  • Southern cities stayed small (only New Orleans really large) transportation in short lines rather than long distance.
the three souths border south
The Three Souths: Border South
  • Generalization- the further north, therefore cooler the climate, fewer slaves in area.
  • Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri (did not secede in 1860)
  • Plantations scarcer- very little cotton, tobacco still the main crop.
  • Slaves = 17%, 22% of population owns slaves – only 1% owns more than 20 slaves
  • Largest amount of industry in the South
middle south
Middle South
  • Virginia, N. Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas.
  • Each of these states had sections that functioned like the Border South, and like the Lower South.Largest numbers of plantations in eastern VA and western TN
  • Waffled in 1860- but ended up seceding (they were the last to go- most not until AFTER fighting started)
  • Slaves= 30% of population. 36% of population owns slaves, 14% of that owns more than 20
lower deep south
Lower (Deep) South
  • S Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas
  • This is plantation world, the “cotton belt”- grew 95% of the south’s cotton.
  • This is where secession happened (SC led the way)
  • Slaves = 47% of the population, 42% of population owns slaves, 62% of those own more than 20
slavery and southern society
Slavery and Southern Society
  • In no part of the south do the majority of whites own slaves. Less than 2000 families own more than 100 slaves each, but they are the dominant force in society.
  • Represent some of greatest wealth, felt strong obligation for public service (presidents, senators, judges etc..)
  • Considered business to be an inferior way to make $$- and not a lot of respect for “poor” whites
  • The idea that slaves were mentally inferior, and that a kind owner treated his slaves as children, not really capable of thinking for themselves, in need of constant supervision.
  • Southern men thought of their wives in the same way- but southern women often had more responsibilities than men. She had to supervise the house and staff, he would have an overseer for field work. Plantation women had very little contact with social equals
the peculiar institution
The Peculiar Institution
  • The southern name for slavery.
  • Plantation owners were the apex

of society (which made south the least democratic part of the country)- but their econ success depended on their slaves, and it was a one crop economy.

  • Very resentful of the north, saw themselves as put upon by industry, felt north made profit from their labor (except they weren’t the ones working)
non slave owning whites
Non Slave owning Whites
  • Interestingly were some of the strongest defenders of slavery, especially to those from outside the south.
  • Dreamed of upward mobility- thought they might have slaves of their own one day. Often the most racist, if their life was very hard, at least they could feel superior to someone….
slave life
Slave Life
  • Very few legal rights- it was “technically” illegal to kill a slave, (except in self defense) but they were property- bought, sold, and cared for at will.
  • Slaves were expensive, and therefore valuable (up to $1800)- only a fool destroys his own wealth, but there were no guarantees.
  • Work long hours, live in small cabins on plantation. Little personal property. Overseer, or “slave driver” set pace of work. Conditions varied widely
  • Some plantations (esp rice) set Task Labor, when you had done your assigned tasks, you were done for the day
house v field
House v. Field
  • Majority of slaves field hands, but the prized jobs were for “house slaves” who were essentially domestic servants (get better food, clothing, less strenuous work, get to know white family better-therefore better treatment) Stereotype of Black “mammy” or “Uncle Tom” who cares for the family.
  • Children generally give more chores (carrying wood, sweeping, bring water) than full work
slave culture family life
Slave Culture- family life
  • US developed a unique slave culture- where growth came from natural increase. Family life was more possible (though not legally recognized)
  • Kinship ties were strong, and where possible, slaves culture depended on extended families or “fictive families” (members of community treated as family though share no blood). Threat of sale often used for discipline
  • Men and women had very equal relationships (no “cult of domesticity”). Female slaves had to worry about forced relations with whites
oral tradition
Oral Tradition
  • Valuable in maintaining African heritage

Literacy generally forbidden, this keeps

history alive.

  • Groups would gather in evenings, older slaves (who did lighter work and prepared meals for field slaves) would tell stories (Br’er rabbit popular figurative hero)- often told in a combination of languages. (Gullah- a hybridization of African and Eng common in lowcountry south)
  • A very important part of slave culture. Slaves “required” to become Christian- and many did, but often blended Christian beliefs with African traditions: music, movement, emotion, call and response, or paid attention to particular aspects of theology. (Exodus: Moses leading out of bondage, the effects of the holy spirit)
  • Rhythm very important in African music- esp drums and other forms of percussion (claps etc..) Drums sometimes forbidden b/c masters feared they were used to send messages
  • The Banjo was an adaptation of an African instrument, and slaves came to love the “fiddle” (variation on violin)
  • Blended traditions of African music incorporated into slave culture became important in development of “American” musical styles of blues, jazz and rock.
resistance runaways slave revolts
Resistance, Runaways, Slave Revolts
  • Because there was huge disparity in treatment of slaves, the slaves themselves had many attitudes towards their bondage. Yet for the vast majority, there was no hope of changing their conditions- and that made many angry, or desperate
  • Most common forms of “resistance” was slowing work, breaking tools, faking illness
  • For those who tried to escape- their limited knowledge of geography hurt them (as did low wilderness skills) Border states (Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky) had best chance for escape. No one knows how many actually did
denmark vesey
Denmark Vesey
  • Stono Rebellion in 1739 and early threat.
  • 1822 Denmark Vesey (a mulatto “house slave” in Charleston) began planning a massive revolt- never materialized b/c another slave informed on the group.
  • Vesey and 30 others publically hanged. (Slave punishments- whippings etc… generally very public so they were threats to full population)
nat turner
Nat Turner
  • Slave revolts were a HUGE concern- slave vastly outnumbered whites on the plantation, and plantations were isolated. Restrictions on slaves designed to prevent opportunities to resist.
  • 1831 Nat Turner (fairly educated, had taught himself to read) led a revolt in Virginia- called for slaves to rise with him, and killed 60 whites. He was caught and killed, as were over 200 slaves from all plantations were there had been any contact (most had nothing to do with rebellion)
free blacks
Free Blacks
  • There were approx 250,000 free blacks living in the South in 1860 (Generally border south)
    • Most often mulattos freed by their master/father
    • Some manages to get enough paid work (after hours) to buy their freedom- rare to have a “skill” however
    • New Orleans had largest, most prosperous free black (primarily mulatto) community
  • Also about 250,000 free blacks in north
    • Still faced severe discrimination and restricted legal rights
    • Irony: South racist towards Blacks as a group, more likely to have a close relationship with an African American. North liberal towards blacks as a group, more individually racist (often b/c never knew or interacted with African Americans)
reform movements
Reform Movements
  • During the prosperous 1820s-40s there was an increasing concern in society as a whole for the need to reform- to make America as great as we felt it could be.
  • The optimism of this time period shaped a number on movements regarding the desire for reform in social class issues, women’s rights/political inequality , religion and racism.
  • Most reformers were middle class- generally from Northeast and Midwest. Women vitally important- guardians of virtue etc…
international abolitionism
International Abolitionism
  • Enlightenment/Age of Revolution called into question the idea of slavery- how can we keep saying all men are born free, and then keep huge numbers in chains?
  • Europe itself didn’t use slavery- so easy for them to preach reform (though they had had no trouble making $$ from slavery for 200+ years)
  • Most former Spanish colonies abolished slavery during their fight for independence (though those countries didn’t have tons of slaves) but the largest #s were in areas NOT freed- Caribbean and Brazil.
  • England abolished slavery in their colonies AND the international slave TRADE in 1834- which cut the numbers coming- but did nothing for the millions here. Essentially slavery holds on as long as it is profitable….
  • Puerto Rico 1873, Cuba 1886, Brazil 1888
abolitionism in us
Abolitionism in US
  • Abolitionist societies have been around since colonial age (Quakers) A consistent issue for reform (big notion in 2nd great awakening)
  • Many abolitionists favored gradual emancipation and Colonization (return to Africa- favored by Henry Clay, John Marshall, Daniel Webster, J Q Adams, Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln) American Colonization society founded 1816- established Liberia on West Coast of Africa.
  • Assumption was that Blacks/Whites couldn’t live together on equal terms
  • Approx 15,000 blacks go to Liberia (capital Monrovia) from 1820-1860, but since our slave trade outlawed 1808- most slaves are native born- not “African”.
militant abolitionism
Militant Abolitionism
  • More aggressive wing of the abolitionist movement- became strong beginning in 1830s.
  • Founded on writings of David Walker (An Appeal to the Colored Citizens) which was all about hypocrisy of liberty v. slavery
  • Demanded immediate, complete, uncompensated emancipation. All about exposing the evils of slavery- often “in your face” screaming and demanding justice.
  • Occasional suggestions that the “virtuous” north should secede from the “decadent” South. Popularity of movement made it clear this issue was not going to be solved quickly or easily.
famous abolitionists
Famous Abolitionists
  • Former Slaves: Frederick Douglas escaped as a young man, self educated. Wrote Narrative on the life of Frederick Douglas, and published his own newspaper The North Star. Sojourner Truth
  • Journalists: William Lloyd Garrison- publisher of The Liberator (“I will not excuse, I will not retreat a single inch, I will be heard” Elijah Lovejoy- his printing press destoyed 4 times, eventually murdered by pro slavery faction in Illinois.
  • Religious Leaders: Theodore Weld- founder of American Anti-Slavery society, wrote American Slavery as it is. Wendell Phillips- great orator, known for sermons during 2nd awakening
  • Philanthropists: Arthur and Lewis Tappan- funded the Liberator. Grimke Sisters- only well known southern female abolitionists (but their main focus was women’s rights)
underground railroad
Underground Railroad
  • Part of the movement was to actively assist slaves trying to escape. “Railroad” was a network of abolitionists who would hide slaves, and help them get from “station to station”.
  • Fugitive Slave Law (1st passed 1793, tightened several times in antebellum period) meant that for slaves to be guaranteed freedom, they had to get all the way to Canada.
  • Best known “Conductor” Harriet Tubman
prigg v pa 1842
Prigg v. PA 1842
  • 1826 Pennsylvania passed a state law which essentially said that their state was not going to participate in the Fugitive slave law (saying that people who tried to take blacks from PA would be prosecuted)
  • In 1837 Margaret Morgan (who had been informally freed by her master in 1832) living in PA was captured by Edward Prigg (At direction of master’s heirs) for return to slavery in Maryland
  • The decision held the PA law unconstitutional b/c it violated a national law (supremacy) BUT- did not condemn action of PA, and left door open for rewording of state law. Northern states began to pass “personal liberty laws” to make catching former slaves harder.
  • Helped convince South that federal gov’t isn’t going to be helpful.
defense of the slave economy
Defense of the Slave Economy
  • Racism was a major element, but southerners (and in fact, most Americans of the time) genuinely believed that whites were mentally superior to Blacks, and that Blacks could not prosper in civilized society on their own.
  • Often referred to bible passages, and the fact that most great ancient civilizations used it.
  • Often the most convincing argument was the economic one- without a labor supply the southern cotton econ crashes…. without cotton the northern textile industry crashes….
gag resolution
Gag Resolution
  • After Missouri Compromise the issue of slavery never seemed to get fully resolved- and growing sectional tensions threatened all legislation passing through congress.
  • To try to sweep the issue under the rug, in 1836 Congress adopted a “Gag resolution” saying no abolitionist bills would be debated/voted on. Repealed 1844
women s rights
Women’s Rights
  • Another assumption is that men are

superior to women- and as women are

very important in the abolitionist movement their own legal limitations became another area for reform

  • Market revolution had given women new roles. Disparity of Republican Motherhood and Cult of Domesticity v Economic roles . Women are seen as mentally/physically week (despite their work) but morally and artistically strong
  • Feminism: movement to redefine gender roles and promote women’s rights as equal citizens
early feminists
Early Feminists
  • Lucretia Mott: ardent abolitionist- along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton, turned away from international anti-slavery convention in London- which led them into feminism. Fought to end coverture.
  • Grimke Sisters: criticized for giving speeches to mixed gender crowds on abolitionism led them to feminism.
  • Lucy Stone: kept her own name after she married.
  • Amelia Bloomer: advocated “turkish trousers” rather than skirts for women….seen as indecent.
  • Margaret Fuller: transcendentalist, said women needed education to decide their lives for themselves
  • Susan B. Anthony: demanded laws that gave custody rights to mothers, the right to collect their own wages, and inherit property.
seneca falls convention 1848
Seneca Falls Convention 1848
  • Organized by L. Mott and E. C Stanton- 70 women and 30 men in upstate NY. 1st discussion of Women’s suffrage, as well as property rights, need for education and increased econ opportunities.
  • Declaration of Sentiments: modeled

on Dec of Independence, “All men and

women are created equal” protested

“injuries and usurpations to the rights

of women”

  • Mainstream press and churches dismissive- said this “nonsense” would hurt women’s more important reform work. But- women gained greater access to education (esp college) and property rights before the Civil War
2 nd great awakening
2nd Great Awakening
  • Antebellum reform movements had strong moral flavor, and though ¾ of Americans called themselves Christians” in 1850, religion had lost it’s strong hold over citizens.
  • Around 1800 a religious revival began in New England. Charles Grandison Finney: became an evangelical celebrity in upstate NY. Democratizing Christianity- get people participating.
  • 100,000s become “Born Again” Christians. Churches reorganized and new sects created. Important part of reform movement
camp revivals
Camp revivals
  • People would gather for days of preaching and singing by traveling ministers.Attracted more women than men
  • Methodists and Baptists huge participators- saw big jumps in membership. Burned Over District- western New England and upstate NY, known for “hellfire” sermons.
  • Emphasized class divisions, lower classes tended to go in for the emotionalism, upper classes not so much.
impact of 2 nd awakening
Impact of 2nd Awakening
  • Created New Sects:
    • Adventists: Decided world would end Oct 22, 1844. Gave away all property, prepared themselves….
    • Mormons: Joseph Smith had conversion experience with some new ideas. (Polygamy) Brigham Young eventually led Mormons west.
  • Continued the fun theme of sectional tension- southern slave owners didn’t like reform/abolitionist tone of meetings
  • Evangelicals called drinking a sin- and alcohol abuse was a serious problem in 19th c America. Drunkenness decreased ability to work, and increased abuse of families
  • Temperance Movement promoted by churches to get men to slow or stop drinking voluntarily. Called for heavier taxes on liquor.
    • American Temperance Society founded 1826
    • TS Arthur’s “10 Nights in a Barroom and what I saw there” 2nd best seller of 1850s.
  • Temperance Fairly successful in reducing consumption, but many started to look for Prohibition of Alcohol entirely. (Maine 1st state to do so in 1851) Least sectional of all reform movements
utopian communities
Utopian Communities
  • If improvement is the goal- one way to achieve is by grouping together with like minded individuals to achieve your purpose. (whatever that may be) Often disillusioned by materialism and industrialism, wanted to create a simpler, more harmonious lifestyle
  • Generally collective- all property owned by the group (essentially forerunners of socialism and communism)
the shakers
The Shakers 
  • 1st American communal movement. Founded by “Mother Ann” Stanley in England, came to US in 1787. Name comes from religious ceremonies where they were supposed to be experiencing the holy spirit.
  • Had 20 communities in NY and OH with about 6000 (your book says 3000) members at peak.
  • Believed in equality of sexes - opposed to marriage (and sex) made it hard for numbers to grow. (adopted orphans)
  • Prosperous- known for quality furniture making (simplicity) Long lasting- survived until 1940s
new harmony oneida
New Harmony/Oneida
  • New Harmony IN: Founded by British factory owner Robert Owen in 1825 with about 1000 people to negate effects of industrialization. Wanted to stop pursuit of wealth in favor of a “new moral world” of communal living. Failed within a decade
  • Oneida NY: Founded 1848 by John Humphrey Noyes based on new religious morality that sought free love, corporate marriage, and selection of parents for better offspring. (sort of the anti-shaker) but Noyes was very controlling, almost dictatorial. Prosperous due to metalwork (traps and silverware)
brook farm and transcendentalism
Brook Farm and Transcendentalism
  • Founded 1841, Brook Farm was another Utopian Community- but based on the principles of Transcendentalism- the belief that the spiritual world is more real, and more important than the physical one. Truth therefore “transcends” the limitations of what we can experience.
  • Inspired by European Romanticism, a reaction to industrialization that stressed passion and emotion- esp in the arts. Emphasized individualism, and self reliance. Hostile to “conventional” institutions.
  • Brook farm was meant to show that intellect and physical labor are not mutually exclusive. Attracted writers and artists, nonconformists and reformers- but not farmers. Community collapsed in 1846 after a fire.
ralph waldo emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • A leading writer and spokesman for Transcendentalism. (along with Thoreau) Believed in Self reliance- but not the “self made man” personified by Jackson. For Emerson- your success or failure is internal- based on your own goals and reflections, which the outside world may never know. (or accept) Concept of the “Oversoul” every person has an inner light through which they communicate directly with divine power.
  • American Lyceum- lecture circuit which spread Transcendental ideas- many of which were published (Self Reliance is most famous)
henry david thoreau
Henry David Thoreau
  • The other major transcendentalist. Most famous for testing the idea of relying on inner self and simplicity through isolation at Walden Pond (Walden: Or Life in the Woods published 1854) True freedom, he said, came from living for yourself in your own way.
  • Also well known for his essay on Civil Disobedience. In 1840s, during Mex/Amer war, he was jailed for refusing to pay taxes (he was a pacifist) 1st person to talk about non violent noncooperation. (big inspiration for Gandhi and MLK)