• amanda0195

Slavery


THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND SLAVERY

  • Word "slavery" is not used in the Constitution

  • Article I, Section 2: (Three-fifths clause)

  • "Representatives and taxes will be apportioned along the states according to respective numbers adding the "whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons"

  • Article I, Section 9: (importation of slaves will not be banned before 1808)

  • "The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight (1808)"

  • Article IV, Section 2: (Fugitive slaves must be returned to owners)

  • "No Person held to Service or Labour- in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due."

BACKGROUND OF SLAVERY IN THE U.S.

FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICANS

  • Arrived 1619 on Dutch ships

  • Probably worked as indentured servants.

MIDDLE PASSAGE

  • Atlantic Ocean between America and Africa

KING COTTON

  • Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin in 1793

  • Separated seeds from cotton bolls.

  • Renewed the interest in slave labor.

  • Slave population in America rose from about 700,000 in 1790 to almost 4 million by 1860.

  • Cotton replaced sugar as the world's major crop produced by slave labor 19th c.

  • 3/4 of world's cotton supply came from southern U.S.

  • Supplied textile mills in Great Britain.

  • From 1803, cotton was America's most important export

  • Cotton, unlike sugar, doesn't grow very high so slave overseers can see their workers.

  • Other crops in the South

  • Rice (southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia)

  • Sugarcane (southern Louisiana)

  • Tobacco (western Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Missouri)

  • Hemp (Kentucky, Missouri)

SLAVE TRADE AFTER 1808

  • Importation of slaves outlawed after 1808 (see constitution)

  • Internal slave trade continued - mostly up and down Atlantic coast.

SOUTHERN SLAVE OWNERS

  • Slave owners

  • 3/4 of white southerners didn't own slaves.

  • Most lived on self-sufficient farms and supported slavery and the planter elite

  • By 1850, most slave holding families owned 5 or fewer slaves.

  • Fewer than 2,000 families owned 100 slaves or more.

  • Only 250 families owned more that 200 slaves.

  • Biggest plantations were on the coast of South Carolina and along the Mississippi River.

  • Most supported slavery and the planter elite.

ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF SLAVERY

  • Paternalism and slavery as a "positive good."

  • Idea that slave owners were kind, responsible masters who took care of the slaves.

  • Who would feed and clothe slaves and take care of them in old age.

  • Slaves happy.

  • George Fitzhugh argued that "universal liberty" was exception, not the rule

  • And because slaves not burdened with financial concerns, they were the happiest and freest people in the world.

  • Slavery as a "necessary evil"

  • Slavery is necessary for human progress.

  • Ancient Greece and Rome used slaves.

  • Without slavery, freedom was not possible (for whites)

  • White supremacy

  • Argument that white people were biologically superior to slaves.

  • Fitzhugh wrote Cannibals All! 1857

  • Said Negro race incapable of civilization's higher callings.

  • So owners doing slaves a favor (see paternalism above)

  • Josiah Nott collected skulls and measured brain cavitities

  • Concluded that blacks had smaller brains than whites

  • Slavery guaranteed equality for whites

  • As long as there were people who were below whites in social status.

  • All white people would be equally superior.

  • Biblical justification

  • The Bible contains many references to slavery so God must have approved.

  • However, black Christians looked to Biblical stories about freedom and empowerment:

  • Exodus, David and Goliath, Jonah and the Whale.

LAWS

SLAVE LAWS

  • Slaves not allowed to testify against a white person

  • slaves not allowed to carry firearms

  • Slaves not allowed to leave plantations without permission

  • Slaves not allowed to read or write

  • Slaves not allowed to gather in a group without a white person present.

  • Masters controlled whether slaves were married

  • Masters controlled how slaves spent free time.

LAWS FOR FREE BLACKS

  • Free blacks

  • About 1/2 a million (488,000)

  • 226,00 in North (100% of the total black population)

  • 262,000 in South (6.2% of the total black population)

  • Most in the Upper South (Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina)

  • In Virginia, created community called Israel Hill

  • Free blacks allowed to own property and get married

  • Free blacks could not be bought or sold

  • Free blacks not allowed to own a firearm.

  • Free blacks not allowed to own dogs

  • Free blacks not allowed to have liquor.

  • Free blacks could not testify in court or serve on a jury

  • Free blacks could not strike a white person - even in self-defense.

FUGITIVE SLAVES

  • U.S. Constitution

  • Article IV, Section 2: (Fugitive slaves must be returned to owners)

  • Followed the North Star as guide (see journal by Douglass)

  • Estimated 1,000 slaves a year escaped

  • Most from Upper South

  • In South most escaped to cities where they could blend in with free black population.

  • County governments were requried to maintain slave patrols to cruise the countryside looking for wandering slaves.

  • Some counties hired "paddyrollers" -- posses of armed, lower-class whites who had level right to break into slave cabins and demand at gunpoint that they account for themselves.

  • Slaves needed written passes from masters giving them permission to be off property.

  • Underground Railroad

  • Loose organization of abolitionists who helped slaves escape.

  • Harriet Tubman, escaped slave, made 30 trips to Maryland to lead slaves to freedom.

  • Amistad

  • 1839 group of slaves collectively seized freedom while on board Amistad.

  • Supreme Court accepted J.Q. Adams argument that they had been illegally seized in Africa and should be freed.

SLAVE REBELLIONS

STONO REBELLION (1739) (South Carolina)

  • Largest revolt in 13 colonies.

  • 20 slaves under Jemmy

  • Many of the slaves were former soldiers (some in Angola)

  • Gathered at Stono River and raided a warehouse, killing white owners

  • Then to other houses killing more white people.

  • On their way to Spanish Florida (where they would be free)

  • Grew to 100 rebels, shouting "Liberty!" in native African languages.

  • Slaves were caught and 50 were executed.

  • Consequence: slaves more harshly treated than before.

NEW YORK CITY CONSPIRACY (1741) (New York)

GABRIEL'S CONSPIRACY (1800) (Virginia)

  • Led by a slave named Gabriel who lived on Prosser plantation.

  • Gabriel, a skilled blacksmith, could read and write (only 5% of slaves were literate)

  • Inspired by revolt in French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti)

  • Gabriel planned to march to Richmond

  • Take armory and hold Governor James Monroe hostage

  • Until demands for equal rights were met.

  • Uprising planned for August 30

  • But thunderstorm made travel difficult.

  • Many slaves lost faith, one, called Pharaoh, revealed the plot.

  • Virginia captured Gabriel and co-conspirators.

  • 25 African Americans (including Gabriel) were hanged.

DENMARK VESEY, 1822 (South Carolina)

  • Vesey

  • Free black carpenter and Methodist preacher in Charleston, S.C.)

  • As a religious man, he believed the Bible condemned slavery

  • And saw hypocrisy of Declaration of Independence.

  • Hatched plan for a slave uprising:

  • Salves would sack the city for arms and provisions

  • Seize ships in the harbor

  • Then sail for Haiti (all blacks free after successful slave rebellion)

  • Vesey's chief lieutenant - Gullah Jack (Angolan-born plantation slave)

  • Vesey recruited rebels on plantations outside Charleston

  • Many, like Gullah, had been imported from Africa in 1807

  • Year before importation outlawed, SC imported 40,000 Africans

  • The conspiracy was discovered before Vesey could act.

  • Rising was scheduled for June 16 but informer reveled plan.

  • 33 hanged (including Vesey and Gullah Jack)

NAT TURNER'S REBELLION (1831) (Virginia)

  • Nat Turner led bloody uprising in Southampton County, VA.

  • Turner was deeply religious

  • And planned rebellion after prophetic vision ordering him to gain freedom by force.

  • Turner killed his master’s family as they slept

  • Then 70-80 slaves from house to house

  • Killed 50-60 whites, mostly women and children.

  • Militia put them down

  • And Turner and 55 other slaves executed.

  • Last large-scale rebellion in South

  • CONSEQUENCE

  • Caused hysteria – as many as 200 slaves eventually killed by white mobs and militias.

  • Triggered series of oppressive restrictions on slave populations.

  • Laws passed making it illegal to teach blacks to read and write.

ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT

HISTORY OF ABOLITION

  • Outside U.S.

  • Between 1800 and 1840

  • Slavery abolished in most of Spanish America and the British Empire

  • By mid 19th century, slavery only in:

  • Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil

  • Slavery outlawed in Britain in 1838

  • Slavery outlawed in U.S.

  • Northwest Ordinance outlawed slavery in northwest area

  • Missouri Compromise of 1820

  • Slavery illegal north of 36' 30" line.

PEOPLE

Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745-1797)

  • Former slave who bought his freedom from an American Quaker

  • Wrote autobiography in 1789

  • Traveled to London where he supported the British movement to end the slave trade.

  • Influential in passing Slave Trade Act 1807 ending slave trade in Britain and its colonies

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)


  • Escaped slave from Maryland

  • Brilliant speaker

  • Said "I appear before the immense assembly this evening as a thief and a robber, I stole this head, these limbs, this body from my master, and ran off with them."

  • Published his own antislavery newspaper, the North Star.

  • Leader of the Abolitionist movement in Mass. and NY.

  • Wrote autobiography

  • "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave" (1845)

  • Became bestseller.

David Walker (1796-1830)

  • Free African-American from North Carolina

  • Published Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World in 1829

  • Discussed immorality and injustice of slavery

  • Described instances of cruelty slaves suffered.

  • As evangelicalDavid Walker backed every point with quotations from the Bible.

  • Said if whites did not abolish slavery

  • Black people had a morel right and duty to rise up and destroy slavery violently

  • Advocated violence and rebellion as only way to end slavery.

William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879)

  • Became assistant to Benjamin Lundy

  • Quaker publisher of Baltimore anti-slavery newspaper, Genius of Universal Emancipation.

  • But Garrison thought it was too gradualistic.

  • Lundy also supported colonization.

  • 1831 Garrison and Isaac Knapp founded Boston antislavery newspaper, the Liberator

  • Attacked slavery and called for immediate end to it.


Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896)

  • Wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852

  • Sold 300,000 copies within a year.

  • Theme:

  • Uncle Tom was a submissive and loyal old slave

  • Who was sold by his kind paternalistic planter to an evil slave owner (Simon Legree)

  • Book described cruelty and Tom's suffering.

  • When southerners complain that it distorted reality.

  • Stowe wrote A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin which documented allegations with quotes from southern newspapers.


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