Part 3-Causes of Civil War---Reconstruction King Cotton Cotton became a huge agricultural factory-Yields were bountiful Economic Spiral-planters bought more slaves and land North reaped benefits also-How? By 1840 cotton accounted for 1/2 of U.S. exports-South produced more than 1/2 of the world’s cotton-In Britain, 1/5 of the population relied on cotton for a living-75% of the British supply came from the South Southern leaders knew of Britain’s reliance-”Cotton was King”
Planter Aristocracy • Oligarchy-Government by a few • 1850-1,733 families owned more than 100 slaves-Political & Social control-Plantations! • Advantages: Education for their young, $ for leisure and study, reflection, and statecraft. Men like Jefferson Davis and John Calhoun-Obligation to serve • Very undemocratic-widened gap between rich and poor • Sir Walter Scott-author who idealized the feudal society • Really a capitalistic society but he helped to perpetuate the theory of the civilized in the image of a sophisticated Europe • Accused of starting the Civil War-called a “Sham Civilization”
Slaves • Myth of moonlight and magnolia • Agriculture was costly & wasteful-”Land Butcher”-many moved • Economic Structure was monopolistic-as land wore thin, many sold holdings to more prosperous neighbors • Plantation system was financially unstable-Temptation of over speculation of land & slaves • Major expenses(fed for as little as 10 cents per day) • Heavy investment of capital-$1,200 for excellent field hands-may run away or deliberately hurt themselves, disease could wipe several out • King Cotton led to one crop dependency-discouraged diversification • South began to resent North making huge gains off South • King Cotton did not allow immigration-1860-4.4% foreign born in South, 18.7% in the North • Competition of slave labor-High cost of land-Ignorance of cotton growing
White Majority • Below the 1,733 who owned 100 or more slaves-345,000 families (1,725,000 whites)-over 2/3 of these 255,268 owned fewer than 10 slaves each-only 1/4 of white Southerners owned slaves or belonged to a slaveowning family • Lesser masters-small farmers w/ a slave and maybe a slave family, labored alongside slaves • Most owned no slaves-1860-6.1 million-3/4 of South’s whites • They were subsistence farmers-corn, hogs • Scorned by prosperous “hillbillies” etc.-actually sick • Why defend slavery? 1. American dream 2. Racial Superiority?
Free Blacks • 250,000 by 1860-many emancipated during Revolutionary times in upper South-Deep South had many free as a result of white planter & black mistress-some bought freedom • Not many rights-could not testify vs. whites, always run risk of kidnapping, hated by defenders of slavery • 250,000 more in North-plight not much better in North • Why not better in North? North-South mentalities?
Plantation Slavery • By 1860 4 million slaves-cotton had spurred rise in slave numbers • Slave trade ended in 1808 yet smuggling continued-Death Penalty for slaves yet very rare • Slaves were investments-$2 billion in capital by 1860-Protected as a major investment? Some dangerous tasks were assigned to immigrants that were dangerous • By 1860 a majority of slaves resided in S. Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana • Breeding was not encouraged yet women who bore many children were prized-white masters also forced themselves on female slaves-most products of this were enslaved • Auctions along w/rape were most brutal aspects of slave system-Families Broken!
Life in Slavery • Varied from plantation to plantation-worked dawn until dusk under a “driver” • No real civil or political rights-floggings common-”breakers” • Not really a good tactic to beat the slaves? • By 1860-most slaves in “Black Belt”-rough & raw compared to Old South • Most lived on large plantations & in some cases made up large majorities of county populations • Family resilience & stable families remained-not marrying first cousins like In Bred Planters • Religious Practices: Christian and African elements
Burdens of Bondage • Degrading, could not be taught to read-9/10 of adult slaves by 1860 could not read-no “American Dream” • Methods of revolt: slow work (lazy myth), stole food & goods, sabotaged equipment, poisoned food, run away • 1800 Gabriel Prosser, 1822 Denmark Vesey, 1831 Nat Turner-killed 60 Virginians • Whites felt they lived in an area under siege, never knew when revolt could come • Fears led to race superiority theory-whites degraded themselves too
Early Abolition • Slavery led to abolition movement-American Colonization Society • 1822 Liberia formed as a haven (Monrovia), 15,000 over 4 decades-most did not want to go Abolitionism • 1830-movement gained steam-1833 British freed slaves in W. Indies-Religious awakening moved many to oppose slavery • Theodore Dwight Weld-aided by Arthur & Lewis Tappan-paid his way to Lane Theological Seminary-presided over by Lyman Beecher-Weld’s pamphlet, American Slavery as It is-influenced H.B. Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Radical Abolitionism • 1831 Willm Lloyd Garrison-The Liberator-30 year war of words • 1833 American Anti Slavery Society • Sojourner Truth-freed black woman in NY • Martin Delaney-black recolonization • Frederick Douglass-escaped in 1838-tremendous orator-Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass • Garrison complained and burnedconstitution-no real solution • Douglass-looked to politics to rid slavery-Backed Liberty, Free Soil, Republican Party-when does evil need bloodshed
South Lashes Back • Antislavery existed in South-ended in 1831-1832 • After Virginia decided to not end slavery-South tightened down • 1831-Nat Turner’s rebellion sent a scare throughout • Nullification issue in 1832 upset South more • Proslavery-Positive good, supported by Bible, Aristotle, good for Africans, master-slave relationship, contrast slavery w/Northern industry, cared for in old age • South grew more and more intolerant & grew violent in its defense & argument-Gag Resolution of 1836 • 1835 Fed Govmnt ordered southern postmasters to destroy abolitionist literature
Abolitionist Impact in North • Garrison and others not popular in North • Northerners revered Constitution & talk of secession angered many • North had economic interest in South, North bankers & creditors owed $300 million by southern planters, Industry fed by cotton • Repeated tongue-lashings by North eventually led to violence-Lewis Tappan’s house ransacked in 1834 in NY, Garrison w/ rope around neck led through streets of Boston in 1835, E.P. Lovejoy killed in 1837, Politicians avoided abolitionists • By 1850s abolitionists really made a dent in southern mind-more & more began to openly oppose expanding slavery