Chapter 2: The Antebellum South

Chapter 2: The Antebellum
Luke Keister
The Southern Economy Pg.27-29
The South did not modernize
– Agriculture was very labor intensive
– Agricultural technology did not modernize
from 1800-1860
– South did not take to education and had very
little commitment to education
– Almost half the southern population was
The Southern Economy Pg.27-29
North Modernized greatly
– North had voluntary associations
– North had reform movements
– North had self improvement societies
The Southern Economy Pg.27-29
The South valued tradition and stability
The North hurtled toward a future of
competitive, meritocratic, free labor
The South responded with distaste and
“Southern separatism was rooted in
resistance to this Northern vision of what
America should become” (pg.27)
The South as a “Colonial” Economy
The South had four fifths of all colonial
exports before 1776
Whitney’s Cotton Gin made large cotton
plantations feasible
The North’s textile industry made a much
greater demand for cotton
My thoughts
This made slaves a necessity for the
growth of cotton, due to the fact that the
south had no modernized machines or
methods for planting, growing, and
harvesting cotton
Slaves were the only option for the
production and harvesting of cotton
Class thoughts on this point
The South as a “Colonial” Economy
The Southern output of cotton doubled
every decade from 1800-1860
Cotton was more then half of all America’s
exports from 1815-1860
Plantations were very profitable, but much
of the money made want to outsiders
The South had an economic relationship
with the North and Great Britain
The South as a “Colonial” Economy
“’At present, the North fattens and grows
rich upon the South’ declared an Alabama
newspaper in 1851” (pg. 30)
Southern economy grew but did not
The South did not make a sustainable
middle class, therefore not developing a
diversified economy
The South as a “Colonial” Economy
Southern per capita wealth for free
southerners in 1860 ($3,978)
Northern per capita wealth in 1860
When slaves are included in the per capita
wealth for the South, the South is 27%
less then the North
South believes slaves are improvements,
the more slaves the better
Slavery in the American South Pg.
Slave labor in the 1850’s
– 10% in mining, transportation, construction,
lumbering, and industry
– 15% in domestic servants or other non
agriculture related labor
– 75% in agriculture
55% in cotton
10% in tobacco
10% in sugar, rice or hemp
Herrenvolk Democracy Pg. 36-38
“Slavery was not only a system of labor
exploitation, it was also a method of racial
control” (Pg. 37)
“However much some nonslaveholders
may have disliked slavery, few could see
any alternative to means of preserving
white supremacy” (Pg. 37)
People believed that slavery was wrong,
but equality wasn’t right
Herrenvolk Democracy Pg. 36-38
“The sociologist Pierre L. Van den Berghe
has described this rationalization for slaver
and white supremacy as “Herrenvolk
Democracy”- the equal superiority of all
who belong to the Herrenvolk (master
race) over all who did not” (Pg. 37)
This appeals to both the North and the
Herrenvolk Democracy Pg. 36-38
Jacksonian democrats advertized this
This advertisement attracted Butternuts,
Irish and unskilled laborers from the North
to the Democratic party
Herrenvolk Democracy Pg. 36-38
“’Slavery is the poor man’s best
government’ wrote Governor Joseph E.
Brown of Georgia” (Pg. 38)
“Slavery was for many whites the
foundation of liberty and equality” (Pg. 38)
The Conditions of Slavery Pg.38-41
“For the slaves, there was no paradox: slavery
was slavery, and freedom was the opposite”
“Chattel bondage gave the master great power
over the slaves to buy or sell, to punish without
sanction of the courts, to separate families, to
exploit sexually, even to kill with little fear of
being held legally responsible. As a form of
property, the slaves had few human rights in the
eyes of the law” (Pg.38)
The Conditions of Slavery Pg.38-41
Blacks have many restrictions, and being free is
hardly any better then being enslaved
Slaves spoke the same language and worshiped
the same God as their masters
Slaves died quickly in the early stages of slavery
U.S. slave population increased an average of
27% per decade after 1810, which is almost the
same as natural whites
The Conditions of Slavery Pg.38-41
From 1820 on the sex ratio among slaves
was virtually equal, in turn there were less
large scale revolts in the U.S. then in Latin
America where there were more men then
Slave owners broke up slave families very
Slavery and the Work Ethic Pg.4142
Slaves can not move up the social ladder
Slaves did slipshod work
Slaves were inefficient
Whites were able to accomplish twice as
much work then a slave in the same
amount of time
Slaves were careless
Slaves caused a technology lag in
Southern agriculture
Slavery and the Work Ethic Pg.4142
Slaves were careless with and regularly abused
the animals
Slaves used mules, because mules were able to
withstand the abuse better then horses
90% of slaves were illiterate
South had a low literacy rate compared to the
Abolitionists said the South had a
“backwardness” about it and slavery was

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