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Michael Chiu

AP US History
Period 2

Outline of Chapter 11: Cotton, Slavery, and the Old South

-The South experienced dramatic growth in the 19th century- however, didn’t experience as
much as a fundamental development as the north had experienced – remained agrarian
The Cotton Economy
-Shift of economic power in the South from “upper South” to “lower south” (southwest)
The Rise of King Cotton
-The tobacco economy declined because the market was unstable – rapidly exhausted land
-Rice was a more stable crop – southern regions of coastal South still relied on it
-Short-staple cotton was a hardier and coarser strain of cotton that could grow on a variety of
soils – cotton gin helped to remove seeds – became a popular product to grow
-Cotton production began to spread quickly in the 1820s, 50s, and 60s – the number of slaves
also increased rapidly in the cotton-growing regions
Southern Trade and Industry
-Industry remained an insignificant force in comparison with the agricultural economy
-The South had a very inadequate transport system; few canals, crude roads, few railroads
-The south depended on the north economically – James B.D. De Bow advocated for southern
commercial and agricultural expansion – De Bow’s Review – southern independence
Sources of Southern Difference
-One of the reasons the south continued to remain so different from the north was because of
the region’s agricultural system – cotton production – not focused on industrial work
-South also discouraged growth of cities and industry – southerners had the cavalier image –
one based on chivalry, leisure, and elegance – free of acquisitive instincts of the “yankees”
White Society in the South
-Only a small percentage of southern whites owned slaves
The Planter Class
-The planter aristocracy – cotton magnates and the sugar and rice nabobs, who owned many
slaves and a lot of land – had a lot of power and influence in the south
-Although planters were influential, the business was competitive and risky – had to supervise
their operations carefully to make a profit
-Wealthy southern whites tried to sustain aristocratic values, such as avoiding occupations like
trade and commerce – those were didn’t become planters joined the military – more “suitable”
-Idea of honor in the south connected to public appearance and saving face
-Avenging insults was a social necessity, especially to women Ex. Preston Brooks pg. 300
The “Southern Lady”
-White men were more dominant over white women in the south than in the north
-Southern white birth rate higher than that of the nation as a whole and infant mortality was
higher than elsewhere
The Plain Folk
-Typical white southerner was modest farmer
-some owned slaves but most did not
-southern educational system provided few opportunities for poor whites to learn
-The “hill people” opposed the planter elite – however, most isolated from region’s life –
secluded and unconnected with commercial economy of south
-The whites who lived in the midst of the plantation system accepted the system because they
were tied to it – depended on it for many things – pg 302
-The single greatest unifying factor among the southern white population was their perception
of race – could look down on the black population of the region
Slavery: The “Peculiar Institution”
-Slavery isolated the South from the rest of American society
Varieties of Slavery
-Slavery as an institution was strictly regulated in detail by law – however, enforcement was
generally uneven
-Plantations usually used one of two methods of assigning slave labor: task system and gang
-task system involved slaves being assigned a particular task during a time of day
-gang system involves slaves being divided into groups and directed by a overseer who were
told to work for as many hours the overseer saw fit – more common method
Life Under Slavery
-Slave women worked very hard – did physical labor and domestic chores
-There were very high slave mortality rates – due to enforced poverty
-the work of household slaves was generally less arduous than field hands – lived close to the
master – familial relationships sometimes developed
-However, female servants were vulnerable to sexual abuse
Slavery in the Cities
-Urban slaves had more independence than those in plantations
Free African Americans
-Most slaves who were free paid enough for their freedom; some were set free by a master’s
will after his death or by one who had moral qualms about slavery
-However, from the 1830s, slave laws became more rigid
-Free blacks in the south usually lived in terrible poverty
The Slave Trade
-Slaves were transported on trains or by river – on shorter journeys, slaves traveled on foot –
bid for and judged by buyers – trade was dehumanizing
-The foreign slave trade was just as bad or worse
Slave Resistance
-There were two extremes of black response to slavery: the “Sambo”, who acted out the role he
recognized he was expected to play, and the slave rebel, who was forever rebellious
-In 1800, Gabriel Prosser gathered slaves in Richmond, but word leaked out and the Virginia
militia quelled the uprising before it began
-The same thing happened in Denmark Vesey’s attempted rebellion
-In 1831, Nat Turner and his followers armed themselves and killed whites in Virginia
-Many slaves resisted simply by running away – underground railroad assisted them
-Many slaves just refused to work hard – also used sabotage
The Culture of Slavery
-Blacks adapted by developing their own, separate culture – established racial pride and unity
Language and Music
-Pidgin was a simple language that slaves developed to overcome language barriers
-Drew primarily from English
-African music relied a lot on rhythm – the banjo became important to slave music
-Most important were voice and song – the spiritual emerged in the nineteenth century
African-American Religion
-Blacks developed their own version of Christianity
-African-American religion usually more emotional than white counterparts
The Slave Family
-Slave marriages were held in a ceremony involving formal vows after conceiving a child
-Husbands and wives sometimes visited each other with permission at night
-Family ties were very strong
-When marriages didn’t survive, it was usually because of things that weren’t in blacks’ control
-Extended kinship networks were important – one of the common reasons for running away
was a desire to find a relative who was somewhere else
-Because they were so dependent on their masters, slaves had a paternal relationship with their
masters – a vital instrument of white control