Short-staple cotton, the variety grown in the Southern U.S.
Profitable Cotton Production Requires 5Things:- a quick method for cleaning- land- warm climate- labor (to plant, weed, harvest, and clean)-transportation
1860 - Cotton Production at the time of Lincolns Election
Population Density• The number of people in a given area.• Expressed as a ratio: # of people / size of areaMost of the time it’s # per square mile or per square kilometer• Think of it as crowded an area is.
Facts:US Cotton Production in 1800 : 156,000 bales (1 bale = 480lbs)US Cotton Production in 1860 : over 4,000,000 bales (60% ofall US exports)US Slave Population in 1800 : 887,612US Slave Population in 1860 : 3,953,760Price of a healthy male field hand in 1850s: $1800Estimated value of Slave property in 1860: $ 3,000,000,000 (1860 dollars: $1 today = $100 in 1860)
More Facts:- Only 10% of all Southerners wereslaveholders....but 1/3 of all Southern familiesowned slaves. In the lower South (Mississippi,Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana)the number was closer to 1/2.- over 50% of all slaveowners owned < 5 slaves- 12% of slaveowners owned > 20 slaves- 1% of slaveowners owned > 50 slaves- 2% of free blacks owned slaves (mostly to protectfamily)
The Breakdown75% of all slaves worked as unskilled agricultural laborers(planting, weeding, harvesting). South Carolina slaves planting sweetpotatoes in 1862.55% worked cotton10% worked tobacco (Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina)10% worked rice (coastal areas of South Carolina & Georgia),sugar (Louisiana & Florida) or hemp (Missouri)
More breakdown15% of slaves worked asdomestics (house workers:nannies, cooks, butlers, maids)10% of slaves were skilledworkers (carpenters,seamstresses, blacksmiths,coopers) These slaves weremore valuable than field handsas they helped plantations beself-sufficient. These slavesalso would make their own A coachman...someone whomoney and buy their freedom. drove a horse-drawn carriage.
More of the BreakdownMost slaves worked onlarge plantations (20 ormore slaves)That means that a majorityof slaves were owned by12% of the population.That also means that amajority of the productiveland was owned by 12% ofthe population. (wealth inthe South = land andslaves)Most of these slaves hadlittle or no contact with theirmasters. Cabins where slaves were raised for market – The Hermitage, Savannah, GA
QuestionsWhich slaves were best prepared for emancipation? Why?A group of refugee slavesnear Cumberland Landing, VA
Racial Interactions on large plantationsThe only contact with whites these slaves had was with anoverseer, who was mainly a poor white man with little to noland or slaves who worked for the plantation owner; and withslave patrols: poor, armed local whites who wouldoccasionally act as low-level cops making sure slaves werentroaming around without permission.The overseers job was to get the most work out of the slavesas possible. He set work hours and administeredpunishments, and was not well-liked. There were blackoverseers as well. There were not many and they wereespecially hated.
Racial Interactions on small plantations• Most slave owners owned 5 or fewer slaves. Slaves on these plantations lived and worked very close to their owners, most often in the field alongside them and had very little contact with other slaves.• They would often live in a small cabin or lean- to right next to the owner’s house.
The roots of racial misunderstanding• Most black people in the pre-war South lived on large plantations around other blacks did not interact with “typical” white people on a daily basis.• Most white people lived on small farms and did not interact with “typical” black people on a daily basis.• This dynamic stayed in effect long after slavery ended.
Question: -What did non-slaveholding whites inslaveholding areas have to gain bysupporting slavery?
Punishing slavesSlaves were punished for a variety of reasons. Most punishments were mental/emotional (threats of "selling South," or selling off family or friends, isolation, loss of breaks or free time) Some punishments were physical (whippings, spike collars, clubbings, brandings, mutilations, shackles, slave-breakers)Physical punishments were rare but brutal. This was necessary for two reasons: 1. Physical punishments could permanently damage a valuable commodity. 2. The threat of physical punishment is far more effective than the punishment itself....”Whip one to control 50.” … the mind is a powerful thing. Death was limited to severe cases (murder, rape, arson, assault upon a white person)
Where slaves came from:-Slaves in the Western Hemisphere came mainly from West Africa. Most of these Africans went to Brazil, and the Caribbean Islands. -Few slaves were brought directly from Africa to the U.S. because they were not particularly wanted. -Most slaves imported to the U.S. came from the Caribbean. -In 1808, the U.S. outlawed the importation of slaves. -Most slaves in the United States in 1860 were born in the United States.Virginia’s #1 export for the year 1860 was slaves.
Questions: -Why were slaves from the Caribbean prized over slaves brought directly from Africa?-Why were American-born slaves preferred over imported slaves? Cape Coast Castle in Ghana (West Africa) where thousands of Africans were imprisoned on their way to the Western hemisphere and slavery.
Fighting the systemThe most blatant forms of rebellion were also the most rare:(open revolt, running away) although paranoia was highest about these two. Many slaves who ran away often returned. More "down-low" versions were the most popular:(intentional work slowdowns, faking illness or injury, faking ignorance, sabotage of equipment). Such forms both fed and fed off of racist assumptions.
People who fought the systemNat Turner (center)led a rebellion in 1831 where he and his followers killed 60 white men, women and childrenin Southampton County, VA. He was captured, hanged, beheaded and skinned. His body was then put on display to serve as a warning to anyone else who might be like-minded.
People who fought the systemHarriet Tubman was born into slavery in Maryland around 1820.She escaped in 1849 and made13 trips into the South to help slaves escape North. During the Civil War, she worked as a nurse, cook, spy, and as an armed scout for the Union Army. She was the first woman to lead an armed expedition into combat, leading a raid on the Combahee River in South Carolina that freed 700 slaves.
People who fought the systemWilliam Lloyd Garrison foundedThe Liberator in 1831, the mostfamous anti-slavery newspaper.He was also a foundingmember of the AmericanAnti-Slavery Society and instrumentalin helping Frederick Douglass storyget told. In 1844, he publicly burned acopy of the Constitution, callingit "a Covenant with death." Hewas so outspoken and radicalthat the State of Georgiaoffered $5000 for his arrest.
People who fought the systemFrederick Douglass was born in Maryland in1818. He escaped in 1838 and immediatelybegan working as an abolitionist.William Lloyd Garrison encouraged him tobecome a lecturer on slavery and in 1845, hepublished his autobiography. Douglass workwas so eloquent and well-written, that manypeople doubted that he actually wrote it.In addition to working against slavery, Douglass also worked forequality in education and for womens rights. During the Civil War, heencouraged the recruitment of black soldiers, and his own son servedin the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first all-blackregular unit in the US Army. After the war, he became the USAmbassador to Haiti.
People who fought the systemJohn Brown first came on to theNational scene in 1856 in Kansas.In 1859, he led a raid on HarpersFerry, VA intending to start an armedslave rebellion. The raid failed, andBrown was captured, tried and hanged.Before his death, he said: "Now, if it isdeemed necessary that I should forfeitmy life for the furtherance of the ends ofjustice, and mingle my blood further withthe blood of my children and with theblood of millions in this slave countrywhose rights are disregarded by wicked,cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!"
The Underground Railroad• A network of safe houses and individuals who helped slaves hide and run away north to freedom.• The safe houses were referred to as “stations” and people who led slaves to the safe houses were called “conductors.”• Harriet Tubman was one of the most famous “conductors.” She helped over 70 slaves escape.
Question:• Why didn’t more slaves rebel or runaway? The “door of no return” Cape Coast Castle, Ghana (Africa)
An interesting end note:“Hands that once picked cotton, can now pick presidents.” -Jesse Jackson 1 dot = 2000 bales of cotton produced in 1860