Chapter 10: Antebellum Society 1800-1860

Chapter 10:
Antebellum Society
SS8H6 The student will analyze the
impact of the Civil War and reconstruction
on Georgia.
a. Explain the importance of key issues and events that led to the Civil
War; include slavery, states' rights, nullification, Missouri
Compromise, Compromise of 1850 and the Georgia Platform,
Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott case, election of 1860, the debate
over secession in Georgia, and the role of Alexander Stephens.
• b. State the importance of key events of the Civil War; include
Antietam, Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the
Union blockade of Georgia's coast, Sherman's Atlanta Campaign,
Sherman's March to the Sea, and Andersonville.
• c. Analyze the impact of Reconstruction on Georgia and other
southern states, emphasizing Freedmen's Bureau; sharecropping and
tenant farming; Reconstruction plans; 13th, 14th, and 15th
amendments to the constitution; Henry McNeal Turner and black
legislators; and the Ku Klux Klan.
SS8E1 The student will give
examples of the kinds of goods and
services produced in Georgia in
different historical periods.
• SS8E2 The student will explain the
benefits of free trade. a. Describe how
Georgians have engaged in trade in
different historical time periods.
Cotton is King!!
• Eli Whitney invents the cotton gin.
• Before the cotton gin, a worker could clean
the seeds of one pound of cotton a day.
With the cotton gin, 50 pounds of cotton
could be deseeded per day.
• Increased cotton production requires an
increased labor force (slaves)
• The importation of slaves into the US is
banned in 1808.
Slavery Expands
• Slaves are traded across state lines to
meet the demand in the south.
• In 1820, the south sold 22 million dollars of
cotton. By the late 1830’s that number had
risen to over 200 million.
• In 1790 a male field hand sold for about
$300.00; in 1830 that price had risen to
roughly $1,000.00.
Difficulties with Farming
• Most farmers did not use the mechanical
farming tools available at the time. The
hoe and one-mule cottonseed planter
were the primary farming implements.
• Soil exhaustion from over planting.
• Crop Failures=Farm Failures
Industry in Georgia
Textile mills
Saw Mills; Flour and Grist Mills
Because of the wealth accrued from
growing cotton, very little money was
invested in industry. This will be a major
issue in the war.
• Rivers and steamboats
• Railroads: 1837 Western and Atlantic
Railroad (W&A). The first stake of the rail
line was driven into ground about 7 miles
east of the Chattahoochee River. This
point was called Terminus. This is now
• By 1860, all but two of the major railroads
passed through Atlanta, making this the
“Gate City”.
• Wealthy families sent their children to
private academies or had private tutors
that came to their homes.
• Poor School System: Public education for
the needy (poor) and mainly boys. Many
people were ashamed to send their
children to the poor schools.
Elementary Education
Poor School
Old Field
Children of
wealthy families
Children of
needy (poor)
Children of
families who
could pay
State-funded for
poor whites
Tuition paid for
by families.
Limited to basic
education and
was seasonal.
Planters: paid
for by the
Higher Education
• First University: Franklin College was chartered
in 1785. Males Only until 1903.
• Now called the University of Georgia (UGA)
• The first president of UGA was Abraham Baldwin
and John Milledge donated 622 acres for the
• Named after Benjamin Franklin
• First female college created in 1839 by the
Methodist Church was Wesleyan Female
Religion, Reform, and Cities
• The South is swept up in a religious
awakening. Camp Meetings are common
in both the white and slave communities.
• Institutions were created to provide for the
mentally ill, criminals, those physically
challenged as well as the blind and deaf.
Milledgeville is home to the “insane”
• Savannah: 22,000 people; Augusta:
12,500; Columbus, Macon, and Atlanta:
Society in Antebellum Georgia
• Southern society was class driven. The
poorest whites were higher in the hierarchy
than even freed slaves.
• Only about ¼ of the south’s white population
owned slaves.
• Owning slaves was a sign of wealth and
political power.
• Most slave owners owned 1-10 slaves.
• Planters owned more than 20 slaves.
• Their farms were referred to as plantations
and covered hundreds of acres.
• In 1860, fewer than 3,000 of Georgia’s
600,000 white citizens could be called
• Their homes were usually modest and not
as elaborate as what you see in the movies
or on television.
• Plantations were small communities and
fairly self-sufficient.
Planters (more)
• Plantations were supervised by an OVERSEER, a
person that was in charge of running the day-to-day
operations of the plantation.
• Planters frequently lived in town for the social and
educational advantages that cities offered, and to
avoid the diseases from insects.
• Planters were usually well educated and involved in
politics. Their children were sent to private
academies and colleges with the expectation that
they would grow up to be community leaders.
Yeoman Farmers
• Most whites were yeoman farmers.
• They owned a few acres of land and grew
their own crops.
• Some owned slaves.
• They lived in communities called
• They hunted and fished and grew crops.
They were fairly self-sufficient within the
settlement with churches and other stores.
Poor Whites and Freed Slaves
• Poor whites did not own any land and
often hired themselves out for labor. They
lived at the subsistence level barely
getting by in terms of food, clothing, and
shelter. Most eventually wound up working
in the cities.
• In 1860 there were about 3500 freed
slaves. Most lived in the city and were
required to carry papers showing proof of
freedom. Some were kidnapped and sold
back into slavery.
Enslaved Africans
• Slaves were viewed as property.
• Their was a hierarchy in the slave
• Slaves were not generally allowed to learn
to read and write.
• Slaves could not legally marry.
• Some were allowed to grow their own
gardens and were given rations for
• The children of slaves were also slaves.
Slave Hierarchy
• House Slaves
• These slaves were at the top of the hierarchy. They worked inside the home
cooking, cleaning, and tending the planter’s children. They often dressed better,
ate better, and were allowed to bring their own children into the house. They
generally had their own quarters in or near the house.
• Skilled Workers
• Theses slaves fell into the middle of the slave hierarchy. They worked as
blacksmiths and carpenters. They could be hired out to other farms or
plantations and would sometimes be allowed to keep a portion of the money
they earned at these jobs.
• Field Hands or Slaves
• These slaves were at the bottom of the slave hierarchy. They plowed, hoed,
and harvested the crops. They worked from sun-up to sun-down. They were
allowed to tend their own gardens after work.
In Conclusion
• The cotton boom
changed the economy of
the south. But slavery
affected all of the people
who lived there. The
states enacted harsh
slave codes to deter slave
revolts and runaways.
The issue of slavery is not
going away.

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