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Slavery, Abolition, and the Quest for Freedom: The Coming of the Civil War, 1793-1861 Chapter 6 Life in the Cotton Kingdom
1835 Advertisement • A slave buyer offers cash for men, women, and children in this 1835 advertisement.
I. The Expansion of Slavery • Invention of cotton gin, 1793 Made cotton profitable • Rapid territorial expansion of slavery • Atlantic coast to Texas • Forced removal of American Indians • Slave population increased six-fold, 1790-1860 • Grew fastest in Alabama and Mississippi
Map 6–1. Cotton Production in the South, 1820–1860 • Cotton production expanded westward between 1820 and 1860 into Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and western Tennessee.
Ownership: Slaves in the Old South • Slavery unevenly distributed • 25% of white families owned slaves in 1860, down from 36% in 1830 • Nearly half of slaveholders owned fewer than five slaves • 12% owned more than twenty slaves • 1% owned more than fifty slaves • Typical slave lived on a sizeable plantation
Map 6–2. Slave Population, 1820–1860 • Slavery spread southwestward from the upper South and the eastern seaboard following the spread of cotton cultivation.
Black Slaveholders • In 1830, only 2% of free blacks owned slaves. • Protected their families from sale and distribution • Southern states made manumissions harder • Threatened to banish former slaves
The Battle of Put-in Bay • In this engraving, which dates to about 1860, slaves harvest cotton under white supervision on a southern plantation. Note the division of labor with women picking and men packing and carrying.
II. Slave Labor in Agriculture • Slaves in the South • 55% cultivated Cotton • 10% grew tobacco • 10% produced sugar, rice, hemp • 15% domestic servants • 10% trades and industries
Agriculture, Industry, and Slavery in the Old South, 1850 • Map 6–3. Agriculture, Industry, and Slavery in the Old South, 1850. • The experience of African Americans in slavery varied according to their occupation and the region of the South in which they lived.
Slave Labor in Agriculture (cont.) • Tobacco • Labor intensive crop • Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina • Rice • South Carolina and Georgia coastal waterways • Large plantations needed large labor force • Some with 300, 500, one planter with 1,000 slaves
Slave Labor in Agriculture (cont.) • Sugar Along the Mississippi River • Southern Louisiana • -Warm climate • Long growing season • Sixty inches of rain per year • Constant labor • Harsh conditions ~ hot and humid • African Americans feared being sent to work here
Cotton Exports as a Percentage of All U.S. Exports, 1800–1860 • Figure 6–1. Cotton Exports as a Percentage of All U.S. Exports, 1800–1860 • Cotton rapidly emerged as the country’s most important export crop after 1800 and key to its prosperity. Because slave labor produced the cotton, increasing exports strengthened the slave system itself.
Slave Labor in Agriculture (cont.) • Cotton • Most important crop in the South and the nation • Exports more than 50% • Increased exports strengthened slavery itself • Cotton plantations employed bulk of slaves • Britain and New England textile mills • Mississippi and Alabama ~ leading producers • Price for slaves increased
Cool Down • Explain why you think most slave owners owned very few slaves? • List the four main crops that required slave labor.
Hauling the Whole Week’s Picking • Hauling the Whole Week’s Picking, painted in 1842 by William Henry Brown, shows slaves at work on a Mississippi cotton plantation. Brown emphasizes the heavy physical exertion required of men, women, and children.
III. House Servants andSkilled Slaves • 25% of slaves did non-agricultural duties House servants ~ elite slaves • Cooks and maids • Less physically demanding • Better food and clothing • Grueling, hard work in 19th century kitchens • Closer white supervision than field hands • Skilled craftsmen ~ elite slaves • Carpenters, blacksmiths, and millwrights • Traveling for tool and spare parts gave a taste of freedom • “Hiring out” – sold service to another
Urban Slavery • Urban slaves Domestics, washwomen, waiters, artisans • Interacted with free black community • Urban slaves had opportunities to earn money when not working for masters • Hired out and paid masters a portion of earnings • More self-sufficiency ~ masters had less control
Industrial Slavery • About 5% of 1860 slave population Textile mills in South Carolina and Georgia • Iron Works in Virginia and other locales • Lumber industry, naval stores • Most industrialist in the South hired slaves • Slaves preferred industrial to plantation • Greater self-rule • Path to freedom for some
Population Percentages in the Southern States, 1850. • Map 6–4. Population Percentages in the Southern States, 1850. • The percentages of slaves, free African Americans, and white people varied from state to state. In the upper South white populations were substantially larger than black populations. In the deep South, however, the races were more in balance.
Punishment • Physical punishments • For good performance • Fear of the lash • Induced discipline and work • Encouraged cooperation for mutual protection
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.
Check Point • Breaking of Kunte Kinte
The Domestic Slave Trade • The Selling of slaves from plantation to plantation • South and westward cotton expansion Upper South sells excess slaves to Lower South • Upper South sent 50% slaves to Lower South, 1820-1860 • “Sold down river” • Economic necessity • Profit • Form of punishment • Separated families
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.”
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.
VII. Slave Families • No legal standing • Unions were encouraged • Reduced rebelliousness in young, single men • Slave weddings • Most could chose their mates • Jumping the broom • Southern white concept of patriarchy (male dominance) saw white men have complete power over their wives. • Because black men lacked power, their wives were more like partners than servants
Slave Families (cont.) • Children - Survival skills • deception and cleverness • Instructed in family history, religion, conduct • Folk stories • Extended family relationships • High infant mortality • Diseases • Unsupervised play with white children
Exploitation • Sexual exploitation Long-term relations between slave women and masters common in 19th century • More common was forced sex • Justifications: • Black women were promiscuous and deduced white males • Reduced Prostitution • Promoted purity among white women
Virginian Luxuries • Throughout its existence, slavery in America encouraged white men to exploit black women for sexual purposes and to abuse black men and women physically. Virginian Luxuries, painted c. 1810, aimed to expose and ridicule these practices.
Sexual Exploitation Story • In Antebellum south (pre-civil war) case of Robert Newsom and Celia • Robert Newsom 60 year old slave master, Celia 14 year old slave • Repeated abuse • She murdered him in 1855 • Celia’s attorney argued that Missouri law made it a crime to “take any woman unlawfully against her will” and Celia had the right to defend herself. • White male jury • Convicted her of murder and executed
Cool Down • Why was physical punishment so widely used by slaveholders? • Could slavery have existed if it wasn’t for physical abuse? Explain.
VIII. The Socialization of Slaves • Subtle survival skills • Mental agility • Self-confidence • Learned to watch what they said around whites • Learned not to talk back • Learned to camouflage their feelings
Religion • Coping mechanism • Mid-19th century most slaves Protestant • Biracial Baptist and Methodist churches • Racially segregated • Shared cemeteries • Slaves believed white churches taught “Servants obey your masters” • Preferred semi-secret black church • Moses and deliverance • Emotional - Musical
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.
The Character of Slavery Legacy • Historians have debated the character of the old south’s slave system • 1910’s – U.B. Phillips, slavery a benign institution • Christian slave owners cared largely for content slaves; rescued an inferior race from barbarism • 1950’s – Exploitation for white profits • Most masters never met their slaves face to face • Stories of whippings, domestic slave trade, family separation.