Antebellum Mississippi • The antebellum period refers to the time in MS before the Civil War (1817 – 1861). • MS will develop rapidly in many ways during the Antebellum Period.
MS’s New Capital • Most Mississippians live in the Natchez District and those in the eastern and northern parts of the state feel neglected by the state legislature. • In 1821, the state legislature chose LeFleur’sBluff on the Pearl River as the site of Jackson, the state’s new capital. • This location was chosen because: • it was centrally located in the state. • they believed the Pearl River would become a major trade route.
The Era of the Common Man • Andrew Jackson was elected president in 1828. • This began the Era of the Common Man. • Most white males gained the right to vote and hold public office during this time.
MS’s Constitution of 1832 • MS’s Constitution of 1832 reflected the principles of the Era of the Common Man. • Judges were elected and had specified terms of office. • Most state offices became elective. • Paying taxes or owning property were eliminated as requirements to vote. • Representation in both houses of MS’s legislature became determined by population.
The Native Americans of MS • In order for MS to develop, more settlers were needed. • The problem was, most of the lands of MS were controlled by the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes. 3. Assimilation – bringing the Native Americans into U.S. society – didn’t work.
The Indian Removal Act of 1830 • In 1830, in order to remove the Native Americans from the southeastern U.S., Andrew Jackson had the U.S. Congress pass the Indian Removal Act. • This law: • Paid the Native Americans for their land in MS. • Provided new lands in the Indian Territory in the west. • Provided for the move of the Native Americans westward.
MS Native American Land Cessions • Treaty of Pontotoc – 1832 • Treaty of 1816 3. Added in 1812 • Treaty of Fort Adams – 1801 • Treaty of Doak’s Stand – 1820 • Treaty of Mount Dexter – 1815 • Treaty of Hoe Buckintoopa – 1803 8. Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek - 1830
The Trail of Tears • The new Indian Territory that was created was in present-day Oklahoma. • The Native Americans made their way to the territory the best they could, often without the government help that had been promised. • Many Native Americans died along the way.
Prominent Native Americans in MS Pushmataha was a Choctaw chief who served as a scout for the U.S. Army. Greenwood Leflore was a wealthy plantation owner and served in the state legislature.
Slavery in MS • The first slaves were brought into MS by the French. • The French had a set of laws called the Code Noir, or Black Code, which provided slaves with some protections. • In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, a machine that removed the seeds from cotton. • The cotton gin allowed MS farmers to grow larger amounts of cotton, which led to larger numbers of slaves in the state.
The Treatment of Slaves • By 1840, there were more African slaves in MS than white citizens of the state, but only about 9% of the white population owned slaves. • The majority of slaves lived on plantations, which were relatively large farms usually run by an overseer. • Due to the large expense of slaves, most plantation owners provided adequate treatment for their slaves, but there were no protections for slaves at all.
Resistance to Slavery • Some slave owners and overseers were killed while attempting to discipline their slaves. • Owners and families were poisoned. • Machinery was broken. • Cotton gins and bales of cotton were burned. • Slaves would work slowly.
Free Black Mississippians • Some free black Mississippians lived in the towns of Natchez and Vicksburg. • Free black Mississippians lived under many restrictions because white Mississippians were afraid they might encourage the slaves to rebel. • By the 1830’s, free black Mississippians were required to leave MS unless the local government where they lived gave them permission to remain.
William Johnson • William Johnson of Natchez was the most prominent free black Mississippian. • He owned several businesses and according to his diary, even owned slaves. • He was murdered by a white man who was never found guilty because the only witness to the crime was a black man and MS law prohibited a black man from testifying against a white man.
Flush Times • Prosperity was common in antebellum MS due to the cheap price of land and the high price of cotton. • As the prosperity spread, banks began giving easy credit and printed more currency – paper money – than they had specie – gold and silver – to back it up. • This practice eventually lead to the Panic of 1837.
The Panic of 1837 • The price of cotton fell drastically. • In MS, landowners who bought their land on credit and then couldn’t pay back their debts had their land foreclosed on. • Landowners who couldn’t pay their taxes had their land seized by the state. • Banks closed and even the state government went bankrupt.
Transportation in MS • The earliest forms of transportation in MS were the rivers – there were few roads and those in existence were difficult to travel. • The invention of steamboats allowed for faster transportation and opened up more areas of the state to settlement. • The earliest railroads were cotton lines – they connected a town with a cotton gin to the nearest river port. • Later, trunk lines were built, which connected the major towns and cities of MS with those of other southern states.
The West Feliciana • The West Feliciana was the first railroad built in MS - it was a cotton line. • It was built by Edward McGehee.
Antebellum Education • MS’s first public school was Franklin Academy, located in Columbus, MS. • Because MS was a rural state with few towns, 16th section land didn’t raise many funds for education. • Education became the responsibility of the home. • Wealthy Mississippians hired private tutors to educate their children – the children of poor Mississippians often received no education.