Out of Many Chapter 10 Slavery had long dominated southern life Slaves grew tobacco, rice & indigo while the slave owners made fortunes Slave system waned until cotton entered & became highly profitable Dominant crop in MD, DE, VA, NC, SC, GA, KY, TN, MO, AL, MS, LA, AR, FL, & TX Created a regional culture quite different from that of the North Cotton had one drawback: the seeds were so difficult to remove Took 1 day to hand-clean 1 lb. of cotton Eli Whitney, Yale graduate, northerner Hired as a tutor for a southern plantation Catherine Greene, widow, plantation owner 1793, built the cotton engine, or “gin” Catherine suggested making the teeth out of wire Suddenly you could clean 50 lbs. of cotton per day New land was wanted because cotton rapidly depleted the soil “Alabama Fever” Southern farmers rushed to the exceptionally fertile lands of Alabama & Mississippi One of the swiftest migrations Slaves cleared the land, drained swaps, built houses & barns, & planted the first crops Settlement of the Old Southwest took place at the expense of the region’s Indian population Worldwide demand for cotton supported slavery Export of cotton a dynamic part of American economy Financed northern industrial development Northern industry directly connected to slavery Cotton & slavery tied up capital leaving the South lagging behind the North in urban pop., industrialization, canals, & railroads The demand for cotton was a result of the technological & social changes that we know today as the Industrial Revolution A Series of inventions resulted in the mechanized spinning & weaving of cloth The ability to produce large amounts of cotton cloth revolutionized the world economy By the time of the Civil War, cotton accounted for nearly 60% of the US’s exports As cotton boomed, it provided capital for the new factories in the North After the Rev. War, the northern states abolished slavery & many slave owners in the Upper South freed their slaves Jefferson thought that a “total emancipation with the consent of the masters” wasn’t too far in the future January 1, 1808 – slave trade was constitutionally abolished in the US A small number of slaves continued to be smuggled in from Africa But, for the most part, now depended on natural increase The South was being consumed by cotton Did not see the need to invest in risky businesses like canals & railroads Did not industrialize as quickly as the North did Cotton created a distinctive regional culture. Slave states were losing political dominance because their population was not keeping up with that of the North In 1850, 55% of all slaves were engaged in cotton growing Seventy-five percent of slaves worked as field hands, from sunup to sundown, performing the heavy labor needed for getting out a cotton crop. Some slaves worked as house servants. About 1/3 of the female slave pop. in VA were servants Needed them to maintain their newly “rich” lifestyles Some slaves were skilled workers. Weavers, seamstresses, carpenters, blacksmiths, mechanics Lumberjacks, miners, & deckhands The wages of the slave belonged to the master, not the slave Not surprisingly, many suffered from poor health. As the expansion in the Southwest accelerated, so did the demand for slaves in the newly settled regions Upper South (DE, KY, MD, VA, & TN) slave owners sold slaves “down the river” More slaves – est. 1 million – were uprooted by this internal slave trade & forced to migrate than were brought to N. America during the entire time the international slave trade was legal If they weren’t traveling down the Mississippi River on steamboat, slaves travelled by foot They were often chained together in groups of 50 or more Were a common sight on southern roads Once they arrived at their destination, they were carefully inspected by potential buyers & sold at auction to the highest bidder Many owners sold slaves & separated slave families not out of necessity but to increase their profits The sheer size & profitability of the internal slave trade made a mockery of southern claims for the benevolence of the slave system A coffle of slaves sold west from South Carolina African American values & attitudes, and especially their own forms of Christianity, played a vital part in shaping a culture of endurance and resistance Most lived on plantations with 20+ slaves Even though slaves were considered property, only the most brutal masters refused to see the humanity of their slaves White masters learned to live w/ the 2 key institutions of African American communities: The Family Church Hermitage plantation slave cabins, Savannah, GA - each 2 rooms, bedroom & kitchen Growth of African American slave pop. Was due to the high fertility rates of African American women (though not as high as white women) Mortality rates of slave children under five twice that of white counterparts Due to the mothers being inadequately nourished, working too hard, & were too frequently pregnant Infectious diseases endemic in the South Life expectancy for whites 40-43 years Life expectancy for blacks 30-33 years Malnutrition & lack of basic sanitation took a high toll on slaves Slavery was a lifelong labor system Owners argued that by feeding & housing them from birth to death, they were more humane than their northern counterparts Children lived with their parents Would play with one another & the white children of the plantation until their were about 7 years old At age 12, they were considered full grown & put to work on the fields or in their designated occupation Marriage not legally recognized but encouraged among slaves frequently not respected by masters a haven of love and intimacy for the slaves Parents gave children a supportive and protective kinship network. Parents made great efforts to teach & protect their children The internal slave trade made separation a constant danger Slave families were often split up. Separated children drew upon supportive networks of family and friends. Slaves were not permitted to practice African religions, though numerous survivals did work their way into the slaves’ folk culture. The first and second Great Awakenings introduced Christianity to many slaves. In the 1790s, African American churches began emerging. Whites hoped religion would make the slaves obedient. Slaves found a liberating message that strengthened their sense of community and offered them spiritual freedom. An 1860 slave burial “drawn from life” at the plantation of LA Gov. Tucker Most slaves understood that they could not escape bondage. About 1,000 per year escaped, mostly from the upper South. Running away and hiding in the swamps or woods for about a week and then returning was more common Harriet Tubman – gained fame by serving as a scout, spay & nurse during Civil War A few slaves organized revolts. Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey organized large-scale conspiracies to attack whites in Richmond and Charleston that failed. Nat Turner led the most famous slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia in 1831. Turner used religious imagery to lead slaves as they killed 55 whites. After Turner’s revolt, white southerners continually were reminded by the threat of slave insurrection. Nat Turner’s Rebellion 1831 By 1860, there were nearly 250,000 free African Americans, mainly working as tenants or farm laborers. In cities, free African American communities flourished but had a precarious position as their members lacked basic civil rights. Throughout the South, state legislatures tightened black codes Laws passed by states & municipalities denying many rights of citizenship to free black people Could not carry firearms, purchase slaves (unless members of their own family), liable to criminal penalties meted out to slaves, could not testify against whites The Middle Class A commercial middle class of merchants, bankers, factors, and lawyers arose to sell southern crops on the world market lived in cities that acted as shipping centers for agricultural goods Poor White People Between 30 to 50 percent of southern whites were landless. These poor whites lived a marginal existence as laborers and tenants. They engaged in complex and sometimes clandestine relations with slaves. Some yeomen hoped to acquire slaves themselves, but many were content with self sufficient non-market agriculture. Yeomen supported slavery because they believed that it brought them higher status. Yeoman Two-thirds of all southern whites lived in nonslaveholding families. Most yeomen were selfsufficient farmers. Their goal was economic independence The strong sense of community was reinforced by close kin connections and bartering. Small Slave Owners Most slaveholders owned only a few slaves. Bad crops or high prices that curtailed or increased income affected slave-holding status Middle class professionals had an easier time climbing the ladder of success. The Planter Elite Most slaveholders inherited their wealth but sought to expand it. As slavery spread so did the slave-owning elite The extraordinary concentration of wealth created an elite lifestyle. Most wealthy planters lived fairly isolated lives. Some planters cultivated an image of gracious living in the style of English aristocrats, but plantations were large enterprises that required much attention to a variety of tasks. Plantations aimed to be self-sufficient. Following southern paternalism, in theory, each plantation was a family with the white master at its head. The plantation mistress ran her own household but did not challenge her husband’s authority. With slaves to do much of the labor conventionally assigned to women, it is no surprise that plantation mistresses accepted the system. Were responsible for arrangements for visitors The slave system rested on coercion and violence. Slave women were vulnerable to sexual exploitation, though long-term relationships developed. Children of master-slave relationships seldom were publicly acknowledged and often remained in bondage Abolitionist engraving by Alex Lawson: “Barbarity committed on a free African, who was found on the ensuing morning, by the side of the road, dead!” Slavery gave rise to various pro-slavery arguments including: in the post-Revolution era, Southern whites found justifications in the Bible or classical Greece and Rome the Constitution recognized slavery and that they were defending property rights by the 1830s arguments developed that slavery was good for the slaves. George Fitzhugh contrasted slavery, which created a community of interests, with the heartless individualism that ruled the lives of northern factory workers. Despite efforts to stifle debate, some southern whites objected to slavery. The growing cost of slaves meant that the percentage of slaveholders was declining and class divisions widening. Hinton Rowan Helper denounced the institution. In six southern states, slaves comprised over 40 percent of the total population.