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Antebellum Southern Slavery


Antebellum Southern Slavery HIS 265 * * * Growing Black Population 600% increase in black population, 1790-1860 Less than 700,000 in 1790; 4 million by 1860 1 out of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Antebellum Southern Slavery

Antebellum Southern Slavery
  • HIS 265

Growing Black Population
  • 600 increase in black population, 1790-1860
  • Less than 700,000 in 1790 4 million by 1860
  • 1 out of every 3 Southerners majority in
    Mississippi South Carolina
  • Mostly due to natural increase - only 50,000
    smuggled in after 1808
  • 260,000 free blacks by 1860 (6 of black
  • Over 10 of all blacks free by 1810, but many
    states forbade manumission in 1820s-1830s
  • Required to carry papers very limited in rights
  • Could own slaves 3,200 did so
  • Many were mulattoes

Population of the Southern States
The Rise of King Cotton
  • Eli Whitneys cotton gin made it possible to
    profitably grow short-staple cotton.
  • Annual production soared
  • 1790 3,000 bales
  • 1810 178,000 bales
  • 1860 4 million bales
  • By 1860, South grew 75 of worlds cotton.

Eli Whitneys Cotton Gin
The Cotton Kingdom
  • Over ½ grown in Ala., Miss. La.
  • ¾ grown by slaves
  • 1 million slaves moved to new western
    plantations, 1790-1860
  • Mostly young adults
  • 60-70 sold
  • Equal sex ratio, except for sugar plantations

Plantation Profits
  • Capitalist agriculture
  • 8 annual return on investment, 1820-60
  • Demand rose 5 annually
  • Benefited rest of U.S.
  • Cotton 60 of U.S. exports by 1840
  • South became prime market for Northern
    manufactured goods
  • Hampered economic development of South
  • Few factories
  • No public education

Main Plantation Crops
Slaveowning Concentrated in Wealthy Hands
  • Only 26 of Southern white families owned slaves
    by 1860
  • Majority of slaveowners had 5 or fewer
  • 2.7 owned 50 or more
  • 0.1 owned 200 or more
  • Average wealth of slaveowners was 13.9 times that
    of non-slaveowners
  • Majority of slaves lived on middling or large
  • 25 on small holdings (1-9 slaves)
  • 50 on middling holdings (10-49 slaves)
  • 25 on large holdings (50 or more)

Plantation Life
  • Supervision varied by size
  • Resident masters supervised smaller plantations
    (under 30 slaves)
  • Hired overseers ran larger ones
  • Foremen (drivers) often slaves
  • Lenient treatment mixed with harsh punishment
  • Typical rations 1 peck of cornmeal 2.5-4 lb.s
    of bacon per week 4 suits of clothing per year
  • Each family had small wooden cabin, cleaned
    regularly to protect health
  • Sundays Saturday afternoons off

Slave Quarters, Carters Grove Plantation,
Slave Quarters, Carters Grove Plantation,
Life as a Slave
  • Nuclear families with 7 children on average
  • Masters encouraged monogamy to maintain order
  • most escapees were young, unmarried men
  • Economic imperatives took precedence, however
  • 1/3 of all slave marriages broken up by sale of
    spouses in Upper South
  • almost ½ of all children separated from at least
    1 parent
  • Distinction between field slaves house slaves
    real, but exaggerated
  • Field slaves (75) had more freedom but worse
  • House slaves (25) had better conditions but less

The Paradox of Black - White Relations
  • Dialectical relationship
  • Each shaped the other
  • Blacks contributed to broader American culture
    while creating separate subculture
  • Whites could never resolve inherent
    contradictions of slavery
  • Philosophical contradiction rests on assumption
    that one man completely surrenders his will and
    becomes an extension of another mans will
  • Legal contradiction slaves simultaneously people

Justifications for Slavery
  • Racism blacks seen as lazy childlike
  • Argued slavery civilized Christianized them
  • Argued only whipping would make slaves work
  • Christian Religion
  • Believed Bible condoned slavery
  • Thought Curse of Ham (Gen. 920-27) justified
  • Feudal Myth
  • claimed reciprocal relationship provided for
    slaves needs in exchange for devoted service
  • Paternalistic care contrasted with inhumane
    treatment of Northern factory workers

Woodcuts from Josiah Priest, In Defense of Slavery
Blacks View of Slavery
  • Rejected racism, but learned to conform to
    whites expectations to avoid punishment
  • Saw Christianity as affirming their equality
    offering promise of earthly freedom as well as
    heavenly redemption
  • Blacks neither grateful for care, nor considered
    it payment viewed it as fundamental right
  • Used whites rhetoric of feudalism to demand
    better treatment
  • Appreciated good masters accepted punishment
    when deserved

Extremely Unfavorable Conditions for Rebellion
  • High ratio of whites to blacks, unlike rest of
    the Americas
  • Small size dispersed nature of most
  • Well-armed resident masters who kept close watch
    on their property
  • Political stability (except during the
    Revolutionary Civil Wars)

Effects of Slavery on White Relationships
  • All whites got benefits of being part of the
    master race
  • Racism used to keep nonslaveholding white
    majority in favor of system
  • All white men expected to ride slave patrols
  • Concept of chivalry defined women as weak in
    need of protection from rapacious black men
  • Women had to endure husbands raping of female
  • Women often biggest critics of slavery as a
    result e.g. Sarah Angelina Grimke