Controversy arouse in from the years 1793 to 1860 on a wide scale of topics regarding the Slavery as well as North and South arguments lead to impact America throughout these years. Controversy and discussion, even war, were brought about with how the topics such as how cotton developed the “Cotton Kingdom”, the aristocrats of the south, slavery and its systems, how slaves were treated, abolitionism, and the effects of antislavery on the North and South were handled. All of the topics discussed are vital parts that helped to lead the United States into Civil War in 1861.
During this time period in the U. S. History cotton became the biggest agricultural product in the world. The states that produced it where able to pour out loads and loads of the precious fiber everyday. Cotton ended up accounting for half of Americas overall exports and the South, due to the much needed slave labor, was able to produce over half of the worlds cotton putting them in a powerful position and in away holding the importers of their precious cargo loyal to them.Britain became very close to the exporters of cotton, the South, because at the time it was one of the most imported goods to the country and provided work in the cotton industry for more than twenty percent of the British population.
This particular tie to the cotton made the South very popular and they knew it. Not only did the British rely on the South for their cotton industry but the North also was able to profit form the money they made by shipping cotton to England.To be able to achieve such a great “Cotton Kingdom” however America needed a workforce, and “with the slave organizations already adapted to the cultivation of tobacco, the plantations were readily changed over to cotton, ..
. ” (Moore 77). During this outbreak, for the need of cotton, Southerners had to accommodate their new cotton orders by buying more slaves as well as more land to work on. “The prosperity of both North and South-and of England, too- rested on the bent backs of enslaved bondsmen” (Bailey, Kennedy, & Andrew, 372). The South was considered by historians to be less of a democracy during the time period before the Civil War.
They say that it was more closely related to being an oligarchy because of how it was run by a select group of few individuals, a group of about “1,733 families who owned more than 100 slaves each”, were considered, “the cream of the political and and social leadership of the section and nation” (Bailey et al. , 373). This became to be know as the “cottoncracy”. These elite Southern families were able to use their money to provide an easy life and time to study and talk about politics. They were also able to send their children to very good schools over seas or Northern so that they could become well educated and have higher paying jobs.These “Southern planter aristocrats” (Bailey et al.
, 373), were also able to put more higher ranking officials in government before 1860. But this “aristocracy” began to damage the government and also spread the distance between the rich and poor. This separation of wealth came about because of how the Southern aristocrats in government made all of the decisions in favor of themselves and their own causes. The public schools were also damaged because of the fact that these plantation families were sending their children to private “institutions” and no longer payed needed tax money to the public schools.Along with the men making decisions on how to spend their profits and making decisions in government the women were left to in a way “govern” a large household “staff” of slaves, of which were mostly females. The mistress, “even in the most deluxe of plantations, the mistress of the house was expected to run the household, make clothes, darn socks, make soap, make butter and cream, plan and fix meals, educate children, and keep the valuables locked from the household help” (The Plantation Mistress).
These women were in some ways “held captive” by there jobs to maintian the plantation. They were not allowed to leave the house without being taken by a man and their husbands were so busy being out with their new found wealth that they were home all the time. Next to a mistresses own duties she had to make sure that the slaves were doing their jobs such as cooking, doing laundry, and other household chores. different mistress had different relationships with their slaves, from hating them to loving them it varied from plantation to plantation.Although the mistresses of the house may have felt affectionate toward their slaves they still considered themselves higher than them and there for did not have any problem whipping or “protesting” when slaves and slave children were sold.
The slaves during this time period lived their individual or family lives differently due to the many different conditions such as who their masters where, where the region they were working was, and what kind of land they were on, farm or plantation. But despite the conditions every where the slave lived they still dealt with oppression and were given much hard work.They worked in the fields, men, women, and children, for hours from when the sun rose, to dusk, when it fell below the horizon. They had no political rights as people and most of the time were seen more like animals than people at all.
Slaves were brutally punished and in some cases murdered but their assailants or brutal masters would never be arrested because slaves were not allowed to testify in court. Slaves were considered goods and had to be maintained so killing as slave would not usually happen but when a slave needed to be punished, “the objective was to inflict as much pain as possible without doing permanent damage.Scarring or mutilation might decrease a slaves resale value or ability to work” (Williams 19). Among everyone else, the mistreated black slaves, the degraded whites, and whites who wanted to abolish slavery where the free blacks. By the year 1860 there were about two hundred and fifty thousand free black people in the United States.
These blacks gained their freedom from either being born and having heir father being a white planer, or in some cases they could have bought their freedom buying making money for extra work.Even though these blacks were considered to be free, they were still discriminated against and were unable to testify against whites in court or work for or in certain places. Being a free black was not easy and in the North they were unable to go to many public schools,in no way could they vote, and even some of the northern states would not let them even enter. Strangely, even though later on it seems to people that the North loved the blacks out of all the areas of America Northerners had a much stronger anti black feeling towards them.This was so because in a way the North for some reason liked the idea of the black race but could not stand an individual black. This was the opposite in the south with the southerners relating more and liking more the individual more so than the race itself.
Slaves became more and more “concentrated” into the Deep South in 1860. This was the new frontier of the South where the “Cotton Kingdom” had just planted new roots. The slaves had to naturally work harder here than other areas because of how new it was.Down here the black slaves made up more than seventy five percent of the population and were kept on plantations in communities of twenties.
Because of the new amount of slaves all living in one place they were able to keep their families more stable and begin to develop and maintain and “African-America” culture. Although the slaves had these families and a somewhat “stable” lifestyle, living under a whip was a very degrading life. The white population kept them from becoming educated because that would give them ideas which could lead to revolt and that could not happen with the plantation and Americas income relying on them.Slaves were not allowed to read and when the civil war rolled around over ninety percent of them were unable to even spell their own names.
Because of these factors of being brought down and mentally destroyed all the time slaves would do the bare minimum they could get away with so as not to get whipped. Some slaves would even break parts needed for work so that they would no be able to work until repairs were complete be their masters. Runaways and unsuccessful rebellions where always apart of the slaves lives and how they tried to gain their freedom and dignity back.Slavery not only degraded blacks but also changed the white southern population.
With the ongoing threat of rebellious black surrounding them at all times and pressure from the north they became hardened and had to degrade themselves to continue keeping the slaves in control. Booker T. Washington said, “whites could not hold down blacks in a ditch without getting down there with them” (Bailey et al. , 384).
Eventually “abolitionist societies” began to come forth and form around the Revolutionary war. Some whites felt sorry for how the slaves were treated and began the “American Colonization Society”.This society transported over fifteen thousand slaves over to Africa. Many of the slaves did not want to go due to the fear going into a totally different civilizations. William Lloyd Garrison, a writer and a “child of the second great awakening”, a realization that slavery was a sin, wrote an antislavery newspaper called The Liberator.
This man was, “one of the most important figures in the fight to end slavery in the United States, and perhaps the most controversial” (Fauchald 12 & 13). He was also responsible for some of the reasons for the Civil War. Like Garrison many people began to make moves toward freeing slaves.Individuals would refuse to wear cotton cloth, or eat sugar cane because it was made by slaves.
One of the greatest black abolitionist was Fredrick Douglass. Douglass like Garrison had a close connection with slavery because he had escaped from his own chains earlier in his life. During one of his speeches he chose to burn a copy of the Constitution proclaiming that it was a “covenant with death and hell”. These Abolitionist chose to back up whoever wanted to help their cause and wanted to do it with out fighting but eventually feeling that they had no choice supported the Civil War when the time came around to fight for black freedom.Due to this new uprising of abolitionists, antislavery moved into the south but was soon silenced when emancipation proposals were debated and defeated by the Virginia legislature.
This debate led to slave states becoming even more concerned with their slave codes and destroying an kind of emancipation ideas from the area. Nat Turner, a slave owned by Joseph Travis, “believed that he had been chosen by God to lead a slave rebellion” (Nat Turner Rebellion). He and a gang of seventy five black slaves killed Travis and his family and then continued to kill about fifty whites.Over three thousand state militia troops were sent to stop turner and his rebellious group and were quickly defeated.
After the chaos was over slave owners began sleeping with pistols in fear of similar rebellions. With so many people coming down on the Southern slave sates the South responded with defensive words explaining how by taking in slave they have made the Africans civilized, and that the relationship between slaves and their masters was more like a family than a dictatorship.They also elaborated and tell antislavery protesters that, “slaves are content with slavery, for their masters ensure they're fed, clothed and taught Christian values: comparatively, Southern slaves are better off than many of the immigrant workers in Northern factories who are confined in unhealthy workplaces for long hours” (How did Southerners justify slavery? ). These defenses led to a dispute between the North and South and then threatened to take away the people freedom of speech in the United States. During the year 1836 hundreds nd hundreds of antislavery reformers began to create and send petitions to Congress for black freedom.
When the South saw this as a threat they pushed hard and accomplished something called the Gag Resolution. This Resolution stated that all petitions or arguments related to slavery or the current issues of the slave trade were to be set aside for about ten years. This of course angered many americans not just because they were putting aside the problem of slavery but that it also went against the first amendment and their rights to have freedom of speech.The Gag Resolution was soon repealed after eight years when John Quincy Adams got word of it and fought back for the peoples “given rights”.
Even with many abolitionists working out of the North most of the northerners were no to fond of them. The North was just as connected to the constitution as the rest of the country and saw slavery as something that is and always will be. The Union was “rooted” very deep in Northern ideals. Also another big factor that had the abolitionists becoming not so popular with the North was that during the later 1850’s the southern cotton planters owed the North about three hundred million dollars.This very large amount of money would surely be lost if the Union were to fall during this debate on slavery.
Also not to mention that cotton was a vital source in many of the North’s mills and if slavery was abolished then many Northern whites could lose their jobs because of the lack of supplies that the slaves would had usually brought about. Few people in the North were no ready to abolish slavery right then and there but did make an effort in some recognition in the problem by opposing the extension of slavery to the western states making a move for maybe one day without slavery.All of these factors lead to a great and long debate over many different things. With the emotions for such topics so high strung it was no surprise that they added up to become main factors in the Civil War. With the abolitionist stirring up so much trouble and the ongoing discussion of weather to abolish or keep slavery the two sides of the country had no choice other than to go to war with each other. The end of the Civil War brought the era of Reconstruction and slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation finally ending the dispute on slavery but not ending the discrimination.