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Southern Slavery. Indentured Servitude. ½ to ¾ of all new arrivals to the Chesapeake in the 17 th c. were indentured servants—main labor force Most were single, 18-35 and sold for 4-7 years of their labor in return for passage to America and their maintenance and support; 80\% were male

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indentured servitude
Indentured Servitude
  • ½ to ¾ of all new arrivals to the Chesapeake in the 17th c. were indentured servants—main labor force
    • Most were single, 18-35 and sold for 4-7 years of their labor in return for passage to America and their maintenance and support; 80% were male
    • Indentured servants did have basic civil rights of all English subjects  
    • Received freedom after completion indenture
      • got an allowance, but not usually any land
        • created a class of discontent young men w/o land
        • move into the backcountry—continued conflict with Indians
bacon s rebellion 1676
Bacon’s Rebellion, 1676
  • 1676, back-country unrest and political rivalries created a major conflict in Virginia
  • The new back-country gentry was at odds in crucial ways with its tidewater counterparts:
    • isolated geographically from the colonial government
    • in constant danger of attack from the Indians
    • Property owners in the backcountry disliked Berkeley’s attempts to hold the line of settlement steady so as to avoid antagonizing the Indians.
  • Indians in western Va. upset with the continual movement of whites into their lands.
    • 1675, Doeg Indians raided a western plantation and killed a white servant.
      • Bands of local whites retaliated indiscriminately
bacon s rebellion
Bacon’s Rebellion
  • Nathaniel Bacon demanded that Gov. William Berkeley send the militia out to pursue Indians
    • Berkeley refused, and instead ordered the construction of several new forts in the west
  • Bacon responded by offering to organize a volunteer army of back-country men
    • Berkeley rejected this proposal
  • Bacon ignored Berkeley and launched a series of generally unsuccessful attacks on the Indians
    • Berkeley then dismissed Bacon from the governor's council and proclaimed him and his men to be rebels.
  • Twice, Bacon led his army east to Jamestown.
    • But his forces were defeated after Bacon died.
  • 1677, Doeg Indians signed treaty that opened western lands to white settlement.
significance of bacon s rebellion
Significance of Bacon’s Rebellion
  • Struggle between Indian and white spheres in Va.
    • Unwillingness of English to abide by treaties
  • Backcountry-Tidewater rivalry among elites
  • Problem of free, landless men.
    • Most of them former indentured servants, had formed bulk of Bacon's constituency during the rebellion.
      • Unable to find work or land, they moved west
      • a large, unstable, population eager for land.
  • Landed elites in BOTH eastern and western Va. began to recognize a common interest in dealing with the problem of landless white men
    • Seek the African slave trade as a means to fulfill their need for labor—replace indentured servitude
slave trade
Slave Trade
  • Trans-Atlantic slave trade begun by Portuguese
    • 1450-1650—small scale; “disposable persons”
    • 1650-1850—large scale
      • By 1850, 1/3 of all persons of African descent lived outside of Africa
      • an estimated 10 million Africans captured and sold into slavery
    • Most slaves NOT captured by Europeans
      • traded for with African monarchs for guns, goods
  • “Middle passage”—Atlantic crossing;
    • ‘seasoning’ in the West Indies
    • ½ of all slaves died before they reached final destination in Americas
slavery in colonial virginia
Slavery in Colonial Virginia
  • First African servants to British North America arrived at Jamestown, Va. in 1619
    • status is unclear—were probably indentured servants  
  • 1619-1650, there were very few blacks in Va.
    • 15,000 whites, 300 blacks in Va. in 1648 
  • Blacks were distinguished by race in early Va.
    • 1629, Va. census distinguished blacks and whites
    • 1640, blacks prohibited from owning firearms
    • 1640, three runaway servants captured—2 were white, one was black
      • whites got 4 years added to indenture; black got life
      • Blacks begin to be sold for life terms—something no white person was subject to
slavery in colonial virginia1
Slavery in Colonial Virginia
  • 1660s, slavery becoming an established practice in Va.
    • As life expectancies increased, slavery became cost-effective
    • slaves didn’t create a problem of a poor underclass when freed
    • slaves could reproduce a new generation of laborers
    • racial slavery bound poor and elite whites together—racial identity
      • black skin identified with inferiority and servitude
  • Laws passed between 1660 and 1705 codify slavery in Va.
    • mid-1600s, most blacks in VA were committed to life servitude
    • 1667 law determined that child would inherit the condition of its mother, and that baptism had no effect on one’s earthly condition
    • 1705 slavery was fully codified in VA law
      • slaves now legally property/real estate, not men
      • could be shot on sight (not innocent until proven guilty)
      • had no right to self-defense
      • blacks tried in separate courts
      • Blacks could not testify against whites
      • Manumission forbidden
development of southern slavery
Development of Southern Slavery
  • 1710, slaves made up 30% of Va.’s population
    • 1750, they made up 41%
  • Slavery soon developed in other Southern colonies
    • SC had a slave majority by mid- 18th c.
  • 1740, slaves accounted for ¼ of the Southern population
    • 1775, they accounted for 40% of Southern colonial population
  • Slavery existed in all 13 colonies before independence
    • But in 1770, Southern colonies had more than 9 times the number of slaves as northern colonies
  • By 1860 there were 4 million slaves in the South
  • 385,000 white families (24%) owned at least one slave
    • 20% had only 1 slave
    • 88% had fewer than 20 slaves
    • 99% owned fewer than 100 slaves
    • Only 14 families had more than 500 slaves
slave work
Slave Work
  • Slaves involved in every phase of agriculture
    • Preparing ground, cultivating the crop and harvesting it
    • curing, ginning or milling necessary to get it to market
  • Slaves were also involved in almost every econ. activity on large plantations
    • Some were skilled artisans
      • carpenters, blacksmiths, brick masons, tanners, teamsters, distillers
    • Others worked in the owners home
      • cooks, butlers, maids, wet nurses, laundresses  
work management
Work Management
  • Small farms—owners worked alongside slaves
  • Large farms—owners usually personally directed slave work but often appointed a “driver”
  • Plantations—owners often distant or absent
    • Hired an “overseer” to run plantation, control slaves
    • Overseers supervised drivers
      • who were in charge of work gangs of about 10 slaves
  • Two basic work schemes existed:
    • Gang system was prevalent in the cotton kingdom
      • Gangs worked from sunup to sundown
    • Task system was prevalent in rice and hemp country
      • Slaves assigned specific tasks to do
work motivation
Work Motivation
  • Incentives
    • Decent food, housing, time off
    • Keeping families together
    • Rewards for loyalty or hard work
      • Family gardens, homes, free time
    • Special meals
    • Clothes
    • Competitions
      • Cash prizes, time off, extra food or clothing
  • Force
    • Punishments
      • Extra work, cancellation of dances/parties, stocks, separating family, whippings
hired out slaves
Hired-out slaves
  • Most industrial slaves were “hired-out”
    • Contracts usually stipulated the term of service, how much “rent” owner would be paid, who would pay slave’s maintenance, and type of work to be done
    • A means for owners to both make money and remove the burden of maintenance of a slave
    • Some slaves, usually skilled artisans, were even able to hire-out their own time, by which they agreed to pay their master a portion of their wages, while feeding, housing, and clothing themselves
  • Other uses of hired slaves:
    • Planters often hired extra slaves during harvest time
    • Railroads hired slaves as construction workers
    • City dwellers often hired slaves as domestic servants
slave economy
Slave Economy
  • Many slaves were allowed to earn money
    • Selling food
      • Many slaves raised vegetables, hunted, and fished
    • Skilled artisans could sell their goods
      • woodworking, basket-weaving, broom-making
    • Slaves who worked on Sundays master were often paid
      • La. law even mandated that slaves be paid for Sunday work
    • Hired-out slaves often allowed to keep what they earned over their rental fees
    • Some slaves purchased their own freedom, and the freedom of their families
slave culture
Slave Culture
  • Evidences of African culture in the Americas
    • Food
      • Southern food—grits, rice meals (jambalaya), hot spices
    • Crafts
      • Brooms, baskets, canoes
    • Folk Medicine/Conjurers
      • Mix of medicine, magic, and superstition
      • Conjurers often held great influence over slaves
    • Language
      • Gullah
      • Influences on American English—especially Southern dialect
    • Folk tales
      • Used to educate, entertain and vent frustrations
    • Music and Dance
      • secular songs, spirituals, folk songs
slave families
Slave Families
  • Obstacles for slave families:
    • Physical proximity
      • “away” marriages
      • Breaking up of families
    • Lack of control/protection of the family
      • Master was the true head of the family
      • Husbands could not protect their wives, parents could not protect children from physical/sexual abuse, sale, violence
      • Master provided food, shelter
    • Legality
      • Slave marriages had no legal standing
slave religion
Slave Religion
  • Before Great Awakening , few slaves were Christians
    • After the Awakening, masters began converting slaves
  • Church the most “Americanizing” institution for slaves
    • But slaves often adapted African religious traditions into American Christianity
    • Black churches were illegal in the antebellum South
      • most slaves therefore worshipped with their masters
      • some masters did allow separate services in the slave quarter
  • Religion was both a means to control slaves,
    • Owners often used the Bible to pacify slaves
      • “slaves obey thy master…”
  • Religion also a way for slaves to resist
    • Hope of deliverance
    • Hymns used to communicate escape routes
slave revolts
Slave Revolts
  • Stono Rebellion (S.C., 1739)
    • Largest slave uprising in colonial British N. America
    • 60+ people were killed, two-thirds slaves
    • In response, S.C. passed the Negro Act of 1740
  • Gabriel Prosser Conspiracy (Va., 1800)
    • Revolt undermined by weather and slave betrayal
  • Denmark Vesey Conspiracy (S.C, 1822)
    • Vesey, a free black carpenter, organized 9,000 slaves and planned an armed attack on Charleston, S.C.
    • Vesey conspiracy was also betrayed by slaves, and Vesey was executed along with 34 other conspirators
nat turner
Nat Turner
  • Largest slave rebellion in U.S.
  • 1825 to 1830, Turner was became a popular slave preacher in Va.
    • sermons focused on conflict and liberation
  • August 22, 1831, Turner’s uprising began at the Travis home, where he was enslaved
    • killed everyone in the household.
  • Eventually 60 to 70 slaves joined in Turner’s rebellion
  • Rebellion lasted almost three days, killed 57 whites, and resulted in deaths of over 100 rebels.
  • The uprising intensified both the antislavery movement in North, and the proslavery forces in South.
slave resistance
Slave Resistance
  • Slave resistance not just armed rebellion.
    • Poisoning
    • slow downs
    • destruction of property
    • feigned sickness
    • Theft
    • Arson
    • Infanticide
    • self-injury
    • Murder
    • running away
      • Underground Railroad