The Old South

The Old South
Peoples, Apologists, and Critics,
The South as American
• Shrouded in Myth: “Gone with the Wind”
versus “Simon Legree”
• Distinctive Features: heat, humidity, staple
crop agriculture, native born populations,
• Colonial Economics
Attempts at Manufacturing
• Daniel Pratt—Prattville, Alabama
• Joseph Reid Anderson—Tredegar
• William Weaver and Daniel C. E. Brady—
Buffalo Forge
Daniel Pratt
Tredegar Works
Slaves at Buffalo Forge
White “Society” in the Old South
• Only a few were planters
• Only a few were managerial or
professionals—mostly Ministers and
• Large Yeoman class
• Poor whites
Slaveholders in 1850
68,820 have only 1 slave
105,683 have 2 to 4 slaves
80,765 have 5 to 9
54,595 have 10 to 19
29,733 have 20 to 49
6,196 have 50 to 99
1,479 have 100 to 199
187 have 200-299
56 have 300-499
11 have 500 more
347,575 slaveholders in 1850
White Women and the “Myth of
the Sisterhood”
• Plantation mistresses complained about the
hard work of slavery
• Many were frustrated by the “double
• Few openly or covertly criticized slavery
• Why?—Women had a stake in the system
and were socialized into the racial fears of
the white men.
Honor in the South
• Face to face honor
• Poorer men had stake in herrenvolk
• “Masters of Small Worlds”
• “Holy Honor”
African American Society
• Most slaves worked
on large plantations
• Plantation Culture—
from dark to dawn
• Free blacks—a few of
whom owned slaves
• Slave women were 2x
• Celia’s story—only
Robert Newsome was
protected by law
against rape—he could
sue another man for
trespassing on his
Slave Rebellions
• Gabriel’s rebellion in 1800
• St. John the Baptist Parish Rebellion in
• Denmark Vesey Rebellion in 1822
• Nat Turner in 1831 "I should arise and
prepare myself, and slay my enemies with
their own weapons."
Advent of Immediatism
• Colonization and expatriation from 1816 to
• William Lloyd Garrison’s Liberator
• American Anti-Slavery Society
• Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth—
underground railroad and other direct action
Southern Proslavery
• Thornton W. Stringfellow—Biblical
Defenses of slavery
• George Fitzhugh—Cannibals All, or Slaves
without Masters
• Henry Hughes—Treatise on Sociology
So What—they ain’t nuthin’ but
inbred bubbas
Honor based society
Fear of slave rebellion
Concept of “whitening”
Accustomed to proslavery national
government—don’t like the gag rule
controversy or the abolitionist mail
campaign in 1835
• Belief that slavery had to expand or die
Alexander Stephens’
“Cornerstone Speech”
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea;
its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great
truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -subordination to the superior race -- is his natural and normal
condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in
the history of the world, based upon this great physical,
philosophical, and moral truth.