The South and the Slavery Controversy
Slavery was dying out, but the invention of the cotton gin prompted the plantation owners to keep their slaves as they now produced a high profit harvesting cotton.
"Cotton is King!"
The South controlled Britain because 75% of Britain's cotton came from the South.
The Planter "Aristocracy"
The antebellum South was more of an oligarchy-a government ran by a few. The government was heavily affected by the planter aristocracy. The dominance of aristocracy in the South widened the gap between the rich and poor because the aristocrats made all the decisions in their favor in government.
The Southern plantation wife commanded the female slaves.
Slaves of the Slave System
The economic structure in the South became increasingly monopolistic. The plantation system was very financially unstable. The temptation to over-speculate (no profit w/material held) in land and slaves caused many planters to plunge into debt.
The White Majority
The less wealthy slave owners were below the wealthy slaves owners. The smaller slave owners didn't own a majority of the slaves, but they made up a majority of the masters. Next came the large number of whites (3/4 of South white population) who didn't own slaves. These whites were a support of slavery because they wanted to eventually own a slave or two and achieve the "American dream" of moving up socially in society. The less prosperous nonslave-holding whites were known as "poor white trash" and "hillbillies." Next came the mountain whites who lived in the valley of the Appalachian range. Civilization hadn't reached them yet, and they supported Abraham Lincoln's Union party.
Free Blacks: Slaves Without Masters
Many free blacks settled in New Orleans.
In the South, the free blacks were prohibited from having certain jobs and forbidden from testifying against whites in court. They were known as the "3rd Race."
In the North, the free blacks as individuals were hated more than in the South.
White southerners liked the black as an individual, but hated the race. The white northerner professed to like the race, but disliked the individual.
Because the price of "black ivory" (slaves) was so high, slaves were smuggled into the South despite the importation of African slaves into American ended in 1808. Most slaves were the offspring of slaves already in America.
Planters regarded slaves as major investments.
Life Under the Lash
"Black Belt"- region where most slaves were concentrated; stretched from South Carolina and Georgia into Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Blacks managed to sustain family life in slavery.
Blacks molded their own distinctive religious forms from a mixture of Christian and African elements.
The Burdens of Bondage
Slaves were not permitted to read because reading brought ideas and ideas brought discontent.
Slavery in the South was known as the "peculiar institution."
American Colonization Society- founded in 1817; focused on transporting the blacks back to Africa.
Republic of Liberia- founded in 1822 as a place for former slaves.
The Second Great Awakening inflamed the hearts of many abolitionists against the sin of slavery.
Theodore Dwight Weld- abolitionist who spoke against slavery; wrote the pamphlet American Slavery As It Is (1839) which made arguments against slavery; went to Lane Theological Seminary.
William Lloyd Garrison- wrote a militantly anti-slavery newspaper The Liberator; publicly burned a copy of the Constitution.
Sojourner Truth- freed black woman who fought for black emancipation and women's rights.
Frederick Douglass- lectured widely for abolitionism; looked to politics to end slavery.
The South Lashes Back
In 1832, states were moving to make the emancipation of any kind illegal. This nullification crisis of 1832 caused the voice of white southern abolitionism to be silenced.
The Southerners argued that slavery was supported by the Bible.
The Gag Resolution required all anti-slavery appeals to be tabled without debate in the House of Representatives.
In 1835, the government ordered the southern postmasters to destroy abolitionist material due to anti-abolitionist mobbing and rioting at a postal office in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Abolitionist Impact in the North
Abolitionists were, for a long time, unpopular in many parts of the North. The southern planters owed much money to the northern bankers-should the Union dissolve, the debts would be lost. New England textile mills were fed with cotton raised by the slaves-if slavery was abolished, then the vital supply would be cut off and there would be unemployment.
"Free soilers" opposed extending slavery to the western territories.