Slavery & Plantation
Life.
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Svea Conrad
New idea of democracy reinforced sense of equality to those who
belonged to the political nation & deepened the divide form to
those who did not.
Blacks were considered a group apart, not dehumanized.
Resumption of trade w/ Europe after war of 1812 created huge
overseas markets for American grain and cotton.
Early industrial rev. centered on factories using cotton a raw
material manufactured cloth- cotton became the most
important commodity in international trade.
Reasons for expansion of Slavery:
1860, 1/3 of the nation’s cotton crop was grown west of the Mississippi.
Division between slave and free societies– North and South. (Southern planters
Who Dominated slavery also had huge influence nationally.
South also fed the North, it’s slave grown cotton, a source of wealth to
slave-owners, provided material for the North’s textile industry.
Cotton from the south provided ¾ of cotton supply.
Cotton trade financed industrial development & improvement in the North
because its profits funded these growth. Northern ships carried cotton to Europe,
N. factories turned cotton into cloth.
South and North… Agriculture vs. Industry. One feeds the other.
How and why practice of slavery
varied from region to region:
Most Southern cities were located on the periphery & served mainly as centers
for gathering and shipping cotton, they were not booming technological city
centers.
The South itself was very rural, white farmers lived outside the plantations in
Hilly areas.
Rural vs. Urban
dichotomy:
The slogan for plantation life was labor “from sunup to first dark”, work occupied
most to all of the slave’s time
125 Slaves on a plantation, for example, included a butler, two waitresses, a nurse,
a dairy maid, a gardener, ten carpenters and two shoemakers. Other plantations.
Also had engineers, blacksmiths, and weavers, also, domestic workers like cooks
and coachmen.
Slaves cut wood for fuel of steamboats, worked in iron and coal mines, manned
docks and southern seaports, laid railroad track.
Local authorities were the ones that commandeered the work bridges, roads
federal gov. also implemented slaves to build forts & other public buildings.
Banks in S. financed plantations.
Small farmers manned slave patrol, keeping lookout for runaways.
Large plantation owners ran the business.
How Plantations were organized and
work divided:
Plough, oxen and mules. Both men and women performed this labor. (Here
Read highlighted) Plowing. Planting and then picking
“Driver” follows slaves on horseback with a whip.
Additional plantation
work facets:
Unlike planters of the West Indies, many of whom resided in Great Britain,
Southern slave-holders lived on their plantations, thus had year- round contact
w/ their slaves.
Difference between Amer.
Slavery and other slave systems in
the Western Hemisphere:
1. The idea that blacks were inferior to whites.
2. Slavery was seen as essential to human progress. Slavery integral to social order.
3. Without slavery, planters would be unable to cultivate the arts, sciences & other
“civilized” pursuits.
4. Slavery for Blacks was the “surest guarantee to perfect equality” among whites,
b/c it liberated them from low, “dirty” jobs like factory and domestic labor.
5. Slavery made white planters independent they claimed. And independence
Was necessary for citizenship.
6. Biblical argument.
7. “If we concede an inch, concession would follow concession… until our ranks
Would be so broken… that effectual resistance would be impossible” (John C. Calhou
8. Said that abolition and the union could not coexist.
9. Slavery maintained existing race relations,( keeping the voices of the revolting
quiet).
10. Slavery kept blacks “civilized” and so improved, not only physically, but morally
and intellectually, by enslaving them, their civility was ensured.
The Pro- Slavery
Arguments:
Slavery in S. limited growth of industry, discouraged immigrants, inhibited
technological progress.
Slavery had economic centrality.
South was self-sufficient, therefore did not provide market-manufactured goods
Like the N… Economy was more internal it seems.
Economic and social power lay in the hands of the planters  they dominated
political parties and controlled fertile land. Had the highest incomes.
Investment in slaves, investment in railroads and canals.
“Plantation mistresses” exuded the highest lore. They supervised plantations
while Husbands were gone, cared for sick. Role of women.
Impact of Slavery on Social/ Economic
structure of South.
Planter’s values glorified hierarchical agrarian societies b/c slave- holding men
assumed power over everything. “Paternalism” became even more ingrained after
closing of transatlantic slave trade in 1807, because now slaves were not as easily
“replaceable” owners had to invest in the well being of their “property”.
More profitable for slave owner to keep workers in bondage that to use free labor.
Southern planters were glad to see that the escalation of battles over slavery
guaranteed them Andrew Jackson’s support, who, himself was a southern slave
Owner.
(Fear of revolt, and horror at sharing society with blacks).
Social & Economic..
Cont.
Clark, Hewitt, Brown, Jaffee. “Who Built America” Third edition.
Sweet, John W. “Bodies Politic”. The John’s Hopkins University Press. 2003
Metzler, Milton. “The Black America”.
Foner, Eric. “Give Me Liberty an American History”. Norton & Company, NY.
http://www.eblackstudies.org/intro/chapter4.htm
Sources:

Slave Life