THE PLANTER “ARISTOCRACY”How did cotton shape southern society (identify & describe the slave-owning classin the South)?
How did the plantation system shape the lives of southern women?
SLAVES of the SLAVE SYSTEMIdentify the “cancers” of plantation agriculture for the South.How did the plantation system affect southern sentiments toward the North?
THE WHITE MAJORITYOnly a handful of southern whites made-up the southern aristocracy. Most owned fewerthan 100 slaves. Identify and describe the socio-economic levels below thearistocracy.
FREE BLACKS: SLAVES WITHOUT MASTERSDescribe the free blacks. How did they come to exist? Explain the North’sfeelings toward these free blacks.
PLANTATION SLAVERYIn society’s basement in the South of 1860 were nearly 4 million black slaves. Theirnumbers had quadrupled since 1800.
How did the slaves on the southern plantations actually live “under the lash?”
The most coveted tasks for a slave included any type of domestic work, from kitchen work….
… to nanny for the plantation owner’schildren.These more “domesticated” slavestended to enjoy better generalconditions – why?
Despite no legal rights, what sparedmany slaves from severe beatings?
EARLY ABOLITIONISMThe inhumanity of the “peculiar institution” gradually caused antislavery societies tosprout forth, dating back to the Quakers of the Revolutionary era. Because of thewidespread loathing of blacks, some of the earliest abolitionist efforts focused ontransporting the blacks bodily back to Africa (The American Colonization Society and theestablishment of Liberia)But most blacks had no wish to be sent to Africa – why?
In the 1830’s the abolitionistmovement took on new energyand momentum, coinciding withthe British outlawing slavery inthe West Indies.The Second Great Awakeninginflamed the hearts of manyabolitionists against the sin ofslavery.Theodore Weld was a leadingabolitionist figure.
RADICAL ABOLITIONISM On New Years Day, 1831, a spiritual child of the Second Great Awakening, William Lloyd Garrison, published in Boston his radical paper, The Liberator. Stern & uncompromising, Garrison called for the immediate end of slavery, even if it meant destroying the Union. Garrison antagonized both North and South. He often appeared to be more interested in his own self-righteousness than in the substance of the slavery evil itself. Garrison never explained how the creation of an independent slave republic would bring an end to the institution of slavery.
The greatest of the black abolitionists was Frederick Douglass. Escaping from bondagein 1838, he became an ardent abolitionist, despite beatings and threats to his life. Hisbook, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass,depicted his remarkable origins. Douglass was as flexibly practical as Garrison was stubbornly principled. He increasingly looked to politics to end slavery. These political abolitionists backed the Liberty party in 1840, the Free Soil party in 1848, and the Republican party in the 1850’s.
THE SOUTH LASHES BACKAfter about 1830, the voice of white southern abolitionism was silenced. The Virginialegislature debated and defeated various emancipation proposals in 1831-32.Thereafter, all the slave states tightened their slave codes and moved to prohibit anyform of emancipation.Proslavery whites responded by launching a massive defense of slavery as a positivegood. What two arguments did they put forth?
Southern whites were quick to contrast the “happy” lot of their “servants” with that ofthe over-worked northern wage slaves, including sweated women and stunted children.These proslavery arguments only widened the chasm between North and South. Southerners weredefensive to criticism and resented the constant “nagging” from abolitionists. Southerners alsodeeply resented the flood of northern abolitionist literature, which could cause civil unrest.
THE ABOLITIONIST IMPACT in the NORTHAbolitionists of any kind were for a long time unpopular in many parts of the North.Northerners had been raised and taught to revere the Constitution, which did noteliminate slavery. The idea of Union had taken deep root: radical talk of secessiongrated harshly on northern ears.The North also had a heavy economic stake in Dixieland. The Union during these criticalyears was partly bound together with cotton threads, tied by lords of the loom incollaboration with the so-called lords of the lash.Repeated tirades by the extreme abolitionists provoked many mob outbursts in theNorth, yet by the 1850’s the abolitionist outcry had made a deep impression. Fewnortherners were prepared to abolish slavery outright, but a growing number, includingLincoln, opposed extending it to the western territories (“free -soilers”).