Chapter 15

Chapter 15: The Old South

Chapter Outline

Myth and reality in the Old South

  1. Southern mythology
  2. The southern condition
    1. Causal effects of the environment and of human decisions and actions
    2. Factors that contribute a sense of sectional distinction
      1. The weather
      2. The presence of slavery
      3. Highly native-born population
      4. Architecture, penchant for the military, agrarian ideal
      5. Preponderance of farming
    3. Various Souths---Lower, Middle, Border
  3. Southern religion
    1. Dominance of Protestantism
    2. Ministers defend slavery
  4. Myth of the cotton kingdom
    1. Actual variety of staple crops
      1. Cotton
      2. Tobacco in upper South
      3. Indigo in colonial era
      4. Rice in tidewater area
      5. Sugar along the lower Mississippi River
    2. Voracious demand for cotton
    3. The reality of high proportions of other agricultural products
      1. Grains, potatoes, and general crops
      2. Livestock
    4. Exhaustion of the soil
  5. A "colonial" economy
  6. Southern industrial progress
    1. Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond
    2. Limiting factors
      1. Traditional claims
      2. (1).Claims that blacks were unsuited to factory work
      3. (2).Contention that aristocratic prestige precluded trade ventures
      4. Profitability of slaves
      5. "Cotton is king."

White society in the South

  1. The planter elite
    1. Definition of planter
    2. Relative ownership of slaves
    3. The plantation mistress
  2. The middle class
    1. Who was middle class?
    2. The yeomanry---largest group of whites
    3. General style of life
  3. Poor whites
    1. Who were they?
    2. The "lazy diseases"
  4. Honor and violence in the Old South

Black society in the South

  1. Growth of slave population and value
  2. Free blacks
    1. Methods of obtaining freedom
    2. Occupations
  3. Slaves
    1. Domestic slave trade replaces foreign slave trade
    2. Plantation slave life
    3. The experience of slave women
      1. Motherhood
      2. Labor
      3. Sexual abuse
      4. (1).Celia, a slave girl
      5. (a).White owner attacked her repeatedly
      6. (b).She killed him and was executed
  4. Slave rebellions
    1. Denmark Vesey
    2. Nat Turner
    3. Safer forms of resistance
  5. Becoming African Americans
  6. Slave religion
    1. Syncretic nature of the religion
    2. Use of religion as an instrument of white control and black refuge
  7. The slave family
    1. Legal status
    2. Importance of the nuclear family

The culture of the southern frontier

  1. The "Old Southwest"
    1. Largely unsettled until 1820s
    2. A "land of promise"
  2. The decision to migrate
    1. For men, East had decreasing economic opportunity
    2. Women more hesitant to move
    3. Worse conditions for slaves
  3. A masculine culture
    1. Violence and alcoholism
    2. Abuse of women

Antislavery movements

  1. Early opposition to slavery
    1. Establishment of the American Colonization Society
    2. Establishment of Liberia
  2. The movement toward abolition
    1. William Lloyd Garrison's call for immediate emancipation
    2. The Liberator
    3. Garrison blamed for Turner Revolt
  3. Creation of the American Anti-Slavery Society
  4. The antislavery movement split
    1. Garrison and the radical wing refuse compromise
    2. Others want to focus on slavery
    3. Showdown comes in 1840 over women's rights in the society
    4. Garrisonians win the right of women to participate
    5. New Yorkers break away
  5. Black antislavery advocates
    1. Conflicts over the right of blacks to participate in antislavery activities
    2. Former slaves who became public speakers
      1. Frederick Douglass
      2. Sojourner Truth

Reactions to antislavery agitation

  1. Pro-slavery mob kills Elijah Lovejoy
  2. The "gag rule" in Congress
  3. Development of the Liberty party (1840)
  4. Defenses of slavery
    1. Biblical arguments
    2. Inferiority of blacks
    3. Practical considerations
    4. George Fitzhugh's comparison to northern wage slavery
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