The Antebellum South
Show scenes from GWTW • Make a list of observations about the American South • Plantation life • Slavery • Race relations • Southern Belle • The war
“ . . . but this momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror.” – Thomas Jefferson The Missouri compromise
The Missouri Compromise • If Missouri is allowed as a slave state, Maine must be allowed as a free state • To not do so would upset balance of power in Senate • Constitutional issue: specifically forbid slavery in a “free” state • Also forbid slavery in the remainder of Louisiana Territory • Dred Scott (vs. Sanford): Congress cannot prohibit slavery in territories, Compromise is unconstitutional
Antebellum Southern Society
Characteristics of the Antebellum South • Primarily agrarian. • Economic power shifted from the “upper South” to the “lower South.” • “Cotton Is King”: 1860: 5m. bales a yr. (57% of total US exports). • Slow development of industrialization. • Rudimentary financial system. • Inadequate transportation
Southern Society (1850) “Slavocracy”[plantation owners] 6,000,000 The “Plain Folk”[white yeoman farmers] Black Freemen 250,000 Black Slaves3,200,000 Total US Population 23,000,000[9,250,000 in the South = 40%]
Antebellum Southern Economy
Growth of the Cotton South • Spread of the South • Settled parts of the South grew dramatically from 1800-1860 • Early pioneers • generally herdsmen and yeomen farmers • most moved because population growth in eastern states cut down amount of grazing and farmland • tended to move into areas similar to what they left • some moved into rich agricultural areas, but many settled in piney woods regions • Floodtide begins • Alabama and Mississippi saw large-scale migration during 1830s • Pushed into northern Louisiana and Texas during 1840s and 1850s
Cotton fuels growth of the South • For years, best cotton was long-staple cotton, grown along coast of Georgia and South Carolina • Production of short-staple cotton--began to blossom in early 1800s • Short-staple cotton was deemed too expensive to cultivate in 18th century because of difficulty in removing seeds • 1793--Eli Whitney develops cotton gin • Cultivation of cotton spread throughout much of the South -- into any area where soil and growing season could support it
Spread of Cotton = Spread of Slavery • Reason for spread of cotton • demand for cotton from mills • English mills imported close to 70% of its cotton from South • Growth of northern mills further increased the demand • although the demand for cotton sometimes dwindled, it remained sufficiently profitable to make more and more people want to reap its rewards • at same time cotton on the rise, tobacco goes into a slide during 1790s • Spread of slavery • With the spread of cotton came the spread of slavery • In the 40 years between 1820 and 1860, around 2 million African Americans were either forcibly moved by their owners or sold to others in the Gulf states region
Graniteville Textile Co. Founded in 1845, it was the South’s first attempt at industrialization in Richmond, VA
Changes in Cotton Production 1820 1860
“Hauling the Whole Week’s Pickings”William Henry Brown, 1842
The South's "Peculiar Institution"
History of Slavery • 1560s: Spanish colonies used slaves • Virginia first imported Africans in 1619 • This gradually replaced a system of bonded labor known as indentured servitude • From the 16th to the 19th centuries, an estimated 12 million Africans were shipped as slaves to the Americas. Of these, an estimated 645,000 were brought to what is now the United States. • Triangular Trade (see right) • The Middle Passage: 15% of slaves died at sea (about 2 m.). • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo-JejTp7O4 (scene from Amistad)
US Laws Regarding Slavery • U. S. Constitution: * 3/5s compromise * fugitive slave clause • 1793 Fugitive Slave Act. • 1850 stronger Fugitive Slave Act.
Slavery--> An Aberration? 1780s: 1st antislavery society created in Phila. By 1804: slavery eliminated from last northern state. 1807: the legal termination of the slave trade, enforced by the Royal Navy. 1820s: newly indep. Republics of Central & So. America declared their slaves free. 1833: slavery abolished throughout the British Empire. 1844: slavery abolished in the Fr. colonies. 1861: the serfs of Russia were emancipated.
Slavery: Less Efficient in the U. S. than Elsewhere High cost of keeping slaves fromescaping. High cost of KEEPING slaves Slave patrols. Black Codes. Cut off a toe or a foot.
The Middle Passage • Horrific • Considered less than human; they were "cargo," or "goods" and treated as such • Overcrowding, malnutrition and disease • One incident: as supplies dwindled, a captain decided to drown his slaves at sea, so the owners could collect insurance on the slaves.
The Amistad • Slavery already illegal • Captives kidnapped, sold into slavery, rebelled and “captured” ship • Apprehended off coast of Long Island • Victory for Abolitionist Movement • 1840: Federal Court finds the captives as free, not slaves. • Illegal confinement gave them the right to use force to secure freedom. • Africans traveled back to Africa in 1842 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SZFZ3Lg2JI&feature=related
Slave MasterBrands Slave muzzle
Slave leg irons Slave tag, SC Slave shoes
Social Class • Landownership widespread • But huge social difference between Slaveholders and Yeomen • Planters • usually owned 20 or more slaves • About 5% of white population, but control large amount of land (best land) and most of slaves • Lifestyle often different from the movies • Often in debt • Some highly mobile, frequently moving to secure better land • Plantation mistress had heavy burden of responsibility: running household, deputy to husband, child-rearing • Stress on planters' wives caused by double standard • mulatto children (Mary Boykin Chesnut) • Pedestal = means of controlling women
Social Class • Small slaveholders • Less than 20 slaves • About15-20% of white population • Uplands: small slaveholders often side with yeomen • Lowlands: side with planters • Frequently on move for better land and profits • Yeomen Farmers • 2/3 of southern whites • Definition: own no slaves, own farms (50-200 acres) in uplands • Food crops (for selves), but do grow some cash crops • Work their own land, sometimes hire slaves at harvest time • Many desire to become slaveholders if possible
Social Class • Poor whites • 10% of white population • No land, no slaves • Squatters or laborers on other farms • But “self-sufficient” and independent
Economics, Power, and Race • Big planters socially and politically dominant • control of society and politics by planters--with consent of non-slaveholders (requires some trade-offs) • Reasons for non-slaveholders consent • Hopes of becoming slave owners • Best means of controlling what they see as socially inferior blacks • Blacks as laborers means all whites are equal • Proslavery Arguments • slavery a positive good--for blacks and whites • slavery sanctioned by history and religion • southern black slaves treated better than northern "wage slaves" • southern churches increase support of slavery (1830s-1860s)
Life as a Slave • No one way that slaves lived, depended on: • Owner • Type of agriculture practiced • Rural or urban area • Upper South vs. lower South • Presence of other slaves in close proximity
Life as a Slave • Food • basic diet: pork, cornmeal, coffee, and molasses or corn syrup • supplement diet with vegetables grown from own gardens • sometimes allowed to hunt to add more meat • Clothing • rough clothing--usually one or two cotton shirts or dresses per year, rough canvas pants for men, straw hat • shoes--none until weather got cool
Life as a Slave • Housing • Usually lived in one-room cabins (10' x 20'), one or two windows--shuttered, no glass--dirt floor, mud-daubed walls, crude chimney • little furniture--usually hand made • straw bedding • few pieces of cookware • 1-2 families per single cabin • grouping of quarters when larger numbers of slaves • Disease • Poorly balanced diet • No shoes • Crowded housing • Aided spread of contagious diseases and increased severity of infections
Life as a Slave: Work Patterns • Gang labor -- Agriculture • everyone works as group • men and women both work the fields--though often at different jobs • most common kind in cotton or tobacco areas • Task labor -- Agriculture • used mostly in rice and sugar plantations • each individual has different tasks to complete--works separately from others • Amount of labor – Agriculture • Sunup to sundown • Intensity and hours varied from season to season • Spring and summer longest and hardest hours • Fall (after harvest) and winter spent more on preparations for growing– less intensity
Life of a Slave • Slaves working in households or as artisans • Maids, personal servants, blacksmiths, carpenters • Working conditions • Pro: escape harsh labor of fieldwork • Con: • work in close proximity to owners at all times; behavior always looked at closely; close proximity for women had additional hazard of unwanted sexual advances
Life as a Slave • Slaves in the cities and industry • types of work • household • artisans--tin, copper, and silversmiths; blacksmiths; carpenters • greater freedom of movement for city slaves • a few slaves work in southern factories, mines, lumbering • these slaves (especially in skilled crafts) seen as having a higher value than field hands--Charleston slave who was expert silversmith had value of $25,000
Control of slaves • Physical conditions of slaves frequently differed little from that of yeomen or poor whites • Physical conditions are not what make slavery so bad • Physical control • Whipping • Other forms of abuse (branding, caging, denial of food)
Mental aspect of slavery (the really bad part) • Control over movement---Slave patrols • Required to submit to demands of master • Uncertainty
Life of a slave • Attitudes toward the master • "Good" masters vs. “Simon Legree” types • A slave is a valuable piece of human property. Should not be abused so badly that ability to work is hampered • "I have lost two, one after another,--left 'em buried there when I came away; and I had only this one left. He was my comfort and pride, and, ma'am, they were going to take him away from me --to sell him --sell him down south, a baby that had never been away from his mother in his life!" • "We don't own your laws; we don't own your country; we stand here as free, under God's sky, as you are; and, by the great God that made us, we'll fight for our liberty till we die.” • "There, you impudent dog! Now will you learn not to answer back when I speak to you? Take the horse back, and clean him properly. I'll teach you your place!"