Slavery in america



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ASA-AP U.S. History Student Exam Review

Document Based Question





SLAVERY IN AMERICA
Written by John A. Braithwaite

DIRECTIONS:

The following DBQ is based upon the accompanying documents and your knowledge of the time period involved. This question tests your ability to work with historical documents. Your answer should be derived mainly from the documents, however, you may refer to historical facts, materials, and developments NOT mentioned in the documents. You should assess the reliability of the documents as historical sources where relevant to your answer.
TEXTBOOK RECOMMENDATIONS:

Davidson, et.al. Nation of Nations

Boyer, et al. Enduring Vision

Murrin, et al. Liberty, Equality, Power

Norton, et al. A People & A Nation

Divine, et.al. America: Past & Present

Brinkley American History

Bailey & Kennedy The American Pageant

Henretta, et al., America’s History

Nash, et al., The American People

Bailyn, et.al. The American Republic

Burner & Bernhard Firsthand America
QUESTION FOR ANALYSIS:

What were the economic, social, and political motives for the creation and maintenance of slavery in America? Discuss these issues at some significant length and be sure to touch upon all facets of slavery-racial, gender, and child slavery.


  • Formulate a thesis statement.

  • Use documents provided as well as your own outside knowledge of the period.

  • Deal evenly with each part of the assessment.

  • Be sure to cover the time period given.


Document A


Source: Donald Wright, African Americans in the Colonial Period.
In the spring of 1727 an English barque, the John and Betty sailed up Chesapeake Bay and into the mouth of the Rappannock River with 140 African slaves on board.
The cargo was smaller than many straight from Guinea, so it was not of extraordinary value. Still, it was early in tobacco-growing season and demand was high. Also, a number of the Africans were from Senegambia and the Gold Coast, the areas Virginia planters favored most.
What occurred on the Rappahnnock in 1727 took place in varied fashion over several centuries along the Atlantic side of the New World, from the British colonies in the north to Brazil in the south. The colonies were part of an enormous economic system that linked the continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean. The system relied on European management, capital, and shipping, and involved New World production of goods for European consumption. By the seventeenth century those in control of the system preferred African slaves for the colonial labor force.
The idea of importing labor from some distance for intensive work on export crops was an old one. From the thirteenth century a plantation system had existed in the eastern Mediterranean, geared to provide a European market with sugar. Like the Atlantic plantations of half a millenium later, capital management came from Europe and labor to grow the cane was human property. Mediterranean shippers brought in workers from southern Russia (thus the word slave, from Slav), the eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa. For over two centuries the plantations made profits and the institution spread. By 1450, on the even European expansion into the South Atlantic, sugar plantations existed in the western Mediterranean and even on nearby Atlantic islands.



Document B

Source: Map of Africa as it appears in Donald Wright's African Americans in the Colonial Erp.10.





Document C

Source: The Presidents Speak, speech of Franklin Pierce. [Davis Newton Lott, The Presidents Speak New York: Henry E. Holt & Company,1994, pp. 125-26]
.... .1 believe that involuntary servitude, as it exists in different States of this Confederacy, is recognized by the Constitution. I believe that it stands like any other admitted right, and that the States where it exists are entitled to efficient remedies to enforce the constitutional provisions. I hold that the laws of 1850, commonly called the "Compromise measures", are strictly constitutional and to be unhesitatingly carried into effect, I believe that the constituted authorities of this Republic are bound to regard the rights of the South in this respect as they would view any other legal and constitutional right.


Document D

Source: Kenneth M. Stampp, A Peculiar Institution. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1956, p.

385. The following was a printed quotation from anonymous Alabamian in (1853)


"I think of no investment so sure as a plantation and Negroes."

Document E

Source: Donald Wright, African Americans In the Colonials Period. Harlan Davidson. 1990, p. 17.
"In rough terms, over 11.5 million people were exported from the Atlantic coast of black Africa and nearly 10 million of these people arrived in the New World. Annual averages of Africans brought to the New World grew from about 2,000 in the late 1500's, to a peak of 80,000 in 1780. No enterprise of such proportion could have existed through casual contact or chance capture. The Atlantic slave trade was carefully planned big business.


Document F

Source: Number of slaveholders in the United States in 1850. Atlas of Historical Geography of the United States. (Used by permission from the Carnegie Institution of Washington).




Holders of 1 Slave

68,820

2 - 4 Slaves

105,683

5 - 9 Slaves

80,765

10 - 19 Slaves

54,595

20 - 49 Slaves

29,733

50 - 99 Slaves

6,196

100 - 199 Slaves

1,479

200 - 299 Slaves

187

300 - 499 Slaves

56

500 or more Slaves

11

Total Number of Slaveholders

347,525


Document G


Source: A Century Of Population: From the First Census of the US to the Twelfth, 1790-1900
Slave Population 1790-1860
Year Total Population

1790 697,624

1800 893,602

1810 1,191,362

1820 1,538,022

1830 2,009,043

1840 2,487,355

1850 3,204,313

1860 3,953,760




Document H

Source: Richard D. Brown. Slavery in American Society. (Lexington, Mass: D.C. Heath & Company, 1969.)
"Every slave state made it a felony to say or write anything that might lead, directly or indirectly, to discontent or rebellion. In 1837, the Missouri legislature passed an act ‘To prohibit the publication, circulation, and promulgation of the abolition doctrines.’ The Virginia Code of 1849 provided a fine and imprisonment for any person who maintained 'that owners have no right of property in their slaves' Louisiana made it a capital offense to use 'language in any public discourse, from the bar, the bench, the stage, the pulpit, or in any place whatsoever' that might produce 'insubordination among the slaves'. Most Southern states used their police power to prohibit the circulation of incendiary material through the United States.”

Document I

Source: The Wilmot Proviso.
“Acquisition of any territory from the republic of Mexico by the United States...neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory..."



Document J

Source: Article IV, Clause 2, and Constitution of the United States.
"No person held to service or labor 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 labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to who such service or labor may be due."

Document K

Source: Fugitive Slave Act, 1850
The federal official was "hereby authorized and required to employ so many persons as he may deem necessary to overcome such force, and to retain them in his service so long as circumstances may require. The said officer and his assistants, while so employed, are to receive the same compensation, and to be allowed the same expenses, as are now allowed by law for transportation of criminals, to be certified by the judge of the district within which the arrest is made, and paid out of the treasury of the United States.”


Document L

Source: James McPherson, Ordeal By Fire. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 34-38 & 51.
Economic historians have demonstrated that slavery was profitable. But profitable for whom? Another way to look at the economics of slavery is to ask whether the institution promoted or inhibited Southern development. (p51)

Slavery formed the foundation of the South's distinctive social order. . ."Break down slavery," said Governor Wise of Virginia, "and you would with the same blow destroy the democratic principle of equality among men." Here was the central paradox of American history: slavery became for many whites the foundation of liberty and equality.

For the slaves there was no paradox: slavery was slavery, and freedom was it opposite. Chattel bondage gave the master great power over his slaves to buy or sell, to punish without sanction of the courts, to separate families, to exploit sexually, even to kill with little fear of being held legally responsible. As a form of property, the slaves had few human rights in the eyes of the law.

Document M

Source: Henry Steele Commanger, Documents of American History. Volume I. "Chrittenden Peace Proposal" December 1860.
"In all the territory of the United States now held, or hereafter acquired, situated north of Latitude, 36*30', slavery or involuntary servitude... is prohibited...

Congress shall have no power to abolish slavery in places under its exclusive jurisdiction... no power to abolish slavery with the District of Columbia so long as it exists in the adjoining States of Virginia and Maryland, or either, not without the consent of the inhabitants, nor without just compensation first made to such owners as do not consent to such abolishment... no power to prohibit or hinder the transportation of slaves from State to another...

... and no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which shall authorize or give Congress any power to abolish or interfere with slavery in any of the states by whose laws it is, or may be, allowed or permitted.


Document N

Source: Excerpt from a long poem by William Grayson. Praises Negro slavery over wage ­slavery.
The Hireling

Free but in name--the slaves of endless toil...

In squalid hut--a kennel for the poor,

Or noisome cellar, stretched upon the floor

His clothing rags, of filthy straw his bed,

With offal from the gutter daily fed...

These are the miseries, such the wants, the cares, The bliss that freedom for the serf prepares...
The Slave

Taught by the master's efforts, by his care

Fed, clothed, protected many a patient year,

From trivial numbers now to millions grown,

With all the white man's useful arts their own,

Industrious, docile, skilled in wood and field,

To guide the plow, the sturdy axe to wield....

Guarded from want, from beggary secure,

He feels what hireling crowds endure,

Nor knows like them, in hopeless want to crave

For wife and child, the comforts of the slave,

Or the sad thought that, when about to die,

He leaves them to the cold world's charity.


Document 0

Source: James 0. Randall & David Donald, Civil War & Reconstruction. New York: D.C. Heath & Company, 1961, PP 52-53. (Student should check Chapter 3: entitled "Slavery")
Comments On Slavery
The historical background of American slavery must be sought in the early slave trade of Europe. The introduction of slavery came rather as an incident of the long process of discovery and colonization.

By the year of independence the number of slaves in North America increased to 500,000. The heyday of the slave trade brought from 40,000 to 100,000 Negroes taken from Africa each year. and the ultimate toll of the trade upon the native African populations was of colossal proportions.



Many died on the way from thirst, famine, or exhaustion. On arriving at the coast, the Negroes were selected and purchased by the traders and then subjected to the horrors of "the middle passage" The realities of the middle passage were in fact so revolting that a writer of the present day hesitates to give such details to his readers.... an eye witness spoke of "400 wretched beings... crammed into a hold 12 yards in length and only 31/2 feet in height." There were "Fifty four crushed and mangled corpses lifted up from the slave deck". In a forty-day period 175 slaves died on the ship while many others died after being landed. Slaves were branded with a hot iron like cattle. They were held in chains and ruled by fear.



Document P

Source: John Randolph and Roanoke: 1773-1833. Richard Randolph explains Act of Manumission.
"To make retribution, as far as I am able, to an unfortunate race of bondmen, over whom my ancestors have usurped and exercised the most lawless and monstrous tyranny, and in who my countrymen... have vested me with absolute property... I could not exercise the right of ownership necessary to their emancipation and ... obliged to keep them on my land... I do hereby declare that it is my will and desire, nay most anxious wish that my Negroes, all of them, be liberated. . .”

Document Q

South Carolina Department of Archives, "Lucy Andrews Petition To Enter Slavery. (1859).
"To the Honorable, the Senate... The humble petition of Lucy Andrews, a free Person of color, would respectfully represent unto your Honorable Body... That she is dissatisfied with her present condition being compelled to go about from place to place to seek employment... no one caring about employing her... Slaves are far more happy and enjoy themselves far better, than she does, in her present isolated condition of freedom... Your Petitioner therefore prays, that your Honorable Body, would enact a law, authorizing, and permitting her, to go voluntarily into Slavery...”


Document R

Source: Winthrop Jordan, "Englishmen and Africans" quoted from his award winning book

White Over Black, as it appears in abstract form in Roberts & Olson, American Experiences:

Readings in American History [pp.54-74].
The Elizabethan English were race conscious and very explicit about sex and Negroes. It is certain that the presumption of the power of sexuality in the black men was far from being an incidental or casual association in the minds of English. [Southerners were so pro-English that they fit into the very same cultural stereotype.]
How very deeply this association operated is obvious in Othello, a drama which loses most of its power [and] points because the black man was the hero... Shakespeare was writing both about and to his countrymen's feelings concerning physical distinctions between peoples; the play is shot through with the language of blackness and sex. Iago goes out of his way to talk about his own motives:

"I hate the Moor,"

"And it is thought abroad that twixt my sheets, he has done my office."
And then, Iago told the agitated Brabantio that

"An old black ram, is tupping your white ewe" and alluded to "Your daughter is covered with a Barbary horse."




Document S

Source: Philip Burnham, a Washington based journalist who specializes in issues and concerns of minorities. As quoted in John A. Garraty, Historical Viewpoints. Vol. 1, New York: Harper Collins, pp 295-310.
But in the hundred and fifty years that followed, many other black slave owners imitated Johnson's example, and for a variety of reasons. According to U.S. Census records, 3,775 free blacks-living mostly in the South owned a total of 12,760 slaves. Though vast majority of these owned no more than a few slaves, some in Louisiana and South Carolina held as many as seventy or eighty. Nor was the South the only region to know about black Slaveowners. Their presences were recorded in Boston, by 1724 and in Connecticut 1783. As late as 1830, some blacks still owned slaves in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and New York....


End of DBQ Examination Question



THE ORIGINS OF SLAVERY IN AMERICA

By Dr. John Boles, Rice Univ. & Editor of Journal of Southern History
I. Virginia—comlexify or complexified history!

A. Myths: 1619 slavery was invented in the south; democracy was invented, there were no women in Virginia.

B. England in the new world became the plantations

1. Wanted to replicate the successes of the Spanish; they misapplied the lessons of history.

2. Read about Spanish success in Mexico and Peru, well organized, powerful Indian nations with complicated networks of tribute, the Spanish knockoff the head of the system and collect the tribute using the military.

3. English assume that something like that will happen in Virginia. English knew less about Virginia than we know about Mars. English assume an environment like Sicily, Mediterranean for Virginia.

4. The gold that the Indians had in the south, was gold from Spanish transportation and shipwrecks.

5. The English sent to Jamestown people with military backgrounds, goldsmiths—completely wrong in their match between the skills sent and the skills needed. They sent people who did not know how to become farmers.

6. Why were they so lazy? They were soldiers, for one thing; the assumption that since the Indians could flourish without working, just about any Englishmen could prosper without working.

--The tidal nature of the James River, changed from fresh water to salt water in the summer, gradual changes, by summer, the settlers were salt-poisoning themselves which caused lassitude’s and they were irritable; sewage not taken down-river and they ended up drinking polluted water which causes dysentery.

7. 1614: John Rolf begins to work on making a bitter Indian curing it in different ways making it more palatable to English tastes.

a. Use Indian techniques in planting and curing tobacco

b. Tobacco exhausts the soil in four to five years; need for huge plots of land in order to keep moving ahead of the exhausted land

c. Tobacco is labor intensive crop: tiny seeds, 250,000 seeds per ounce; plant seedlings and protect it from frost; transplant the seedlings; cut off sucker leaves to keep it maturing properly; pluck tobacco worms by hand; hand harvest the leaves and dry it carefully in a barn; must be stored carefully without breaking the leaves.

8. 1620: Labor in the colony becomes a problem.

a. The British know virtually nothing about slavery at this time; it had vanished northern Europe though it still existed in the Mediterranean and far and middle-east.

b. The British, very ethnocentric, associated slavery with a backward Catholic institution; the British want to recapitulate British society in the new world; they are not all at all predisposed to accept black slaves; the slaves brought into Williamsburg in 1619 were exchanged for food; 1624-1625, Virginia census of black in Virginia show very few.

c. Slavery evolved in a very slow process over 17th century, an unthinking solution.

d. British solve the labor problem with the over-supply of workers in England due to a two century population boom in England.

e. Indentured servitude: “unfree” persons in England—not convicts—but are apprenticed,, bound to service for a period of time to someone who “owned” his labor.

--for every indentured person a Virginian brought over, they would be able to purchase at a very low price, 50 additional acres of land.

f. The Indian population is plummeting; the possibility of running away from service for Indian slaves is too great; chances of attack by irritated Indian tribes on the frontier.

9. 1650: the plantation system based upon indentured servitude is well developed; hundreds of thousands of pounds of tobacco shipped to England

a. Thousands of black slaves in Barbados, raising sugar

b. Very few slaves in British Virginia

c. Slaves cost more and don’t live any longer than indentured servants; afraid that the slaves available are trouble makers or in some other way defective. i.e. Illness.

10. Changes occur slowly in ways unexpected and din response to gradually evolving social and economic forces that were not clearly discerned nor understood.

a. By 1660, all of the land on the waterways was brought by the big farmers; indentured servants “out of their time” have no land left on the waterways to purchase; become irritated at their circumstances.

b. 1676, Bacon’s Rebellion; Bacon could use the hatred of the Indians to weld them together into a consolidated force; terrorizes the government and forces the government to deal with this large, landless and dissatisfied workers.

c. Beginning in the 1660’s and 1670’s the availability of potential indentured servants in England drop off; number of colonies is increasing; wages are improving in England; alternative destinations in the New World.

d. Terms of indentures shorten which raises their price

e. This labor crisis fosters the need for slaves; gradually the English of Virginia learn to acclimatize blacks to work in Virginia; they realize they can work the blacks imported into Virginia harder than they can work English indentured servants; they gradually come to the conclusion that they don’t have to give them land on freedom and deal with their later acculturation.

f. Now slaves are economically profitable in areas of north of the sugar plantations of the Caribbean

g. Royal African Company, 1698 monopoly ends, opening up the prospects for more slave importations, larger amounts at a lower price.

h. Very end of the 1660’s Virginia begins to make the change to black slavery

[1] 1700-1705 more Africans are imported to the Chesapeake than in all of the years combined.

[2] By 1715, Virginia and the Chesapeake is a “slave economy” as opposed to a society “with slaves” as in Massachusetts and other British in America.

11. Laws begin to change to protect the slave owners

a. Language of slave and indentured servant were confusing and not based on race in this early period.

b. Sense of difference toward blacks, from very earliest taxes were paid on black women who were seen as workers just like black men; in indentured servitude, head taxes were not paid on women who were not seen as worker in the same way as men.

c. Christian conversion removed as a criteria for freeing slaves.

d. After 1700 there is a proliferation of laws that create a legal distinction between whites and blacks.

e. As the numbers of blacks increase, the whites begin to feel threatened by them; blacks brought from Africa seem stranger than those who had been in American for some time” outlandish” as opposed to “country-born” slaves; laws reflect the growing “threat” felt by whites toward blacks.

f. English associate whiteness with purity; blackness with the unknown and with evil. This becomes apparent after 1700 in the change in a whole constellation of laws and social structures. 1715-1800 were the hardest times in slave history.




  1. Carolina:

    1. Founded as a colony of Barbados where they can grow corn, peas, and timber that they need in the sugar-producing colony itself.

        1. Deerskins were the most valuable product before the cultivation of rice.

        2. Traded with the Indians inland to the Mississippi; enslaved Indians from the western lands near the Mississippi.

        3. 15% of the slaves in the early colony were Indians; Yemasee War in the 1750s in which 1/3 of the white population was killed ended the enslavement of Indians because it caused such trouble.


PLANTERS AND PLAIN FOLK IN THE OLD SOUTH:
I. Change over time—difficult for students and historians

A. What kind of plantation, cotton, sugar, wheat, indigo and rice?

B. Where were they geographically?

C. What types of labor systems—gang or task?



II. Demographic aspects of the Old South (primarily to 1860)

  1. 24% of white households owned slaves; 75% did not

  2. of the 24.9% who own slaves, only half of those owned 5

  3. In order to be called a planter, you needed to own 20 slaves

  4. Only 12% of slave owners owned as many as 20 slaves.

  5. Multi-millionaires are more common in Mississippi than big planters

  6. TV image big plantation, not more than 2000 in the whole South, less 1% of the population

  7. Non-slave owning white southerners, 75% of the white population, were the “yeomen” or plain folk.

  8. The two big populations in the Old South were slaves and poor whites.

    1. More is known about the planters because they were rich, literate, wrote letters, left account books, historians go where the evidence is which tends to over-emphasize this small group.

    2. The most unexplored group are the poor whites, the least developed field in southern history.

    3. Percentage of whites who own blacks is decreasing throughout the antebellum period; wealth is concentrated: 1830=31%, by 1860=24%.

III. How plantations worked

  1. Crop determined a good deal of life on the farm or the plantation; the demands and culture of your work, seasonal patterns of work

    1. People identified themselves with their crop and the “culture” of the agriculture in which they are involved.

    2. Small farmers associated themselves with the largest planters; and “Imagined community” based on shared categories of experience and reading or production.

    3. Commonalities of cotton production, the planting, laying, picking, etc makes them similar with no difference in scale of production; decreases class distinction.

  2. Plantation of 20 slaves: 5 males, 5 females, 10 children:

    1. If a person only owned 1 slave, typically, that would be a woman

    2. Might be one older of more skilled slave, a natural leader, who organizes the work under the supervision of the planter; planter is really the hands-on supervisor of the work routine.

    3. Slave who works in the house is under the direction of the woman

  3. Plantation of 50 slaves:

    1. Supervision divided, planter and overseer—gets them up, sets their tasks, disciplines them.

    2. Overseer is typically a white person—son, brother, etc.—hired to do the work and has the daily, relationship with the slaves, removing the planter from the daily work; slaves may play the overseer against the planter; allows the planter to imagine himself as a paternal relationship.

      1. Post-slavery, many recriminations again the overseers, not so many against the planters.

      2. In some cases, the overseer may be black—a natural leader, sometimes literate and skilled.

    3. On very rare occasions, there will be a series of “drivers”, usually black. Under direction of the overseer.

    4. Incentives to work—security keeping families together, not being shorted on food and clothing, etc. –created a situation in which slaves worked harder than might be expected where there was no apparent reason to work hard.

    5. You cannot use law to describe reality—though legally slaves could not own property, the reality was considerably different.

      1. Most slaves were allowed to own property—horses, cows, boats, gardens, musical instruments, even guns with which they hunted.

      2. May do additional work for money—musicians “loaned” to others.

      3. Most places in the South, slaves had free time Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

      4. There were, in many cases, informal standards worked out about how much work the owners could expect from a slave.

      5. Slaves, overseers, and planters deal with the slack in the system in various creative ways.

    6. Most of the plantations raise food stuff in addition to the money crop, cotton, indigo, or rice.

      1. In 1860, in the South, more acres were planted in corn than were planted in cotton.

      2. Cotton is a successful crop because so much food was raised in the South.

      3. At any level of cotton production, you can plant and cultivate more cotton than you can pick; the amount you can pick sets the amount of cotton you can plant: this creates an excess labor pool during most of the year since the size of your slave force is determined by the picking need and they are only necessary during harvest time.

[1] corn is crop that you can cultivate and harvest around the cotton and is ideally suited to the geography of the South.

[2] more corn is grown in the South than cotton

[3] food production in the south allows significant slave populations.

7. How profitable was cotton production and slave profitability?

A. Slavery survived for three centuries because if was profitable

B. Work force that works hard, the children were property that you owned; producing food for themselves along with the cash crop you sold; made the system productive in many ways and on many levels.

C. As profitable as any other way of investing your money; plantations were making money.

D. Slavery was not only a means of making money, it was also a means of social control.

E. Where there were industries in the South, it was learned that slaves could be very easily adapted to industrial production, efficient and skilled. This was incidental because the agricultural production was so profitable that there was no incentive to move to industrial production.

F. One of the measures of the profitability of slavery is the measure to which those who were making the money by slavery.

G. Planters were disproportionately influential in the South; the tiny percentage own most of the property and controlled most of the wealth

H. While typical white slave owners own few slaves most slaves lived on big plantations.

IV. Small Farmers


  1. Probably owned his own land; 70-150 acres

  2. Grow almost entirely food crops: “Safety-first agriculture”, self-sufficient farming

    1. Potatoes, corn, peas and beans

    2. Cotton only if they have excess labor or land

    3. Essence of your agricultural effort is food

    4. Barter system; commodities in exchange for goods; cashless economy.

  3. Pay almost no taxes; taxes were on slaves owned by the big planters who paid the most

  4. Economic well being is tied up with the prosperity of the large planters;

    1. Small farmers producing hogs; hog drovers

    2. Mules were a prominent part of Kentucky production, 200,000 mules per year for sale in the deep South.

    3. Hemp production in Kentucky for use in the South

  5. All of these 75% of whites who didn’t own slaves all hoped to be able to buy slaves; economic interdependence of the southern economy develops a pro-slavery attitude in all of the South.

  6. Race and economics tie the Whites together.


THE DEVELOPMENT OF SLAVE CULTURE IN ANTEBELLUM SOUTH:

I. In the South, whites and blacks have lived together for 300 years and evolved a bi-racial culture

II. Slave culture is a synthesis of African, Indian, and Anglo cultures.


  1. Musical instruments are drums and banjos or other stringed instruments

  2. Example of the German brass instruments have been adopted by Black musicians and white music adapting the banjo.

  3. Culture is a living thing, constantly changing and adapting elements from all of the influences it encounters.

  1. Population growth and the creation of Afro-American culture.

A. Slave rebellion, a spectrum from relatively small “rebellions” of docile agreeable, coping mechanisms, and armed insurrection (aka Nat Turner)

1. Slave growth and the creation of Afro-American culture

2. Running away for a time, depriving the master of their labor for a time, not the kind of insurrection that will get you kill.

3. Feigning illness, slaves were worth the equivalent of a tractor today, valuable, very valuable.

4. Cultural insurrection, not letting yourself be enslaved psycho-logically, not letting yourself be defined by the white men; slaves understood that if they could have values and attitudes different from what the white men thought, you could maintain your identity and personhood.

5. Clothing: masters handed out clothes, relatively inexpensive clothes, grey, coarse, and durable, but not pretty; they also handed out of fashion or worn clothing to their slaves disassembled the clothing and remade it using parts of different things in unusual ways to establish their own identity; “clothes make the man” indeed to make statements about their identity. Hairdos: slaves use this to make statements about their individuality!

B. Pidginization, “pidgin” a blended language, elements of the dominant language:

1. West Africa has as many as 200 different languages;

2. Whites could not communicate with the slaves; and slaves could not communicate with slaves; and slaves could not communicated with each other.

3. Language is eclectic blend of words and phrases from a multiplicity of languages; is no ones first language; is a new world of creation.

4. Creole, born in this country

5. Pidgin is the first language of the first generation born in this country; second generation begins pidgin but incorporates more language; evolves in Black English—more verbs and tenses; evolves into standard English. “Gullah and Gee Chee”, pidgin forms that are not evolved into Black English.

6. Rites of passage—the ritualization of various significant stages of change

7. First generation late 1730s because of growth in the slave population;

a. The only place in America where there was indigenous slave population growth is in the American South.

b. 4.5% of slaves brought into the New World were brought to the South, about 500,000 altogether.

c. 1700: 400 slaves (300 men, 100 women); first year=25% will die; women average 23 years of age and takes a year after arrival before she can have a child; has a baby at 25, nurses for four years, next baby comes along when is 29, next baby at 33, perhaps a final child at 37.

d. In the American South, slave adopt the 1 year nursing pattern of the white society, may be because of pressure on the part of their monogamous husbands.

e. Slave babies born here are healthier, 250% increase in the natural birth rate.

8. Naming and dating, marriages, etc. demand culture.

a. Ritual specialists, older people in the tribes

b. In the absence of experienced native specialists, the slaves improving doing African rituals for their children what could be done in Africa if you had the right people and the right ingredients

c. Synthesis between cultures, sometimes mingled with white rituals adapted for their own purpose, bit of pieces in a new grammar creating and American Culture.

IV. Other Elements:



  1. Free blacks in the South

    1. Up to 40% of Blacks in some southern cities.

    2. Free Blacks who owned slaves, usually own their spouse

  2. In every case in the South where there was skilled labor in the South, there were highly skilled slaves working.

  3. The one place where slave owners were honest about their slaves, it was in their runaway ads.

  4. The cities were often the escape valve for many slaves, the example of David Shriver’s runaway slave, Peter.


AP US History Round Table Discussion


TOPIC(S): Antebellum—Old South

STUDENT GROUP: 5-7 students per group



Basic elements of discussion and analysis:[How and why are these topics important]

Geography groups religions


Indians of South Blacks planter class

Poor Whites Commercial centers climate(s)

Economy Social Groups Cultural characteristics

Leaders Events Issues of concern

Labor status Role of women/minorities Problems of slavery

Poor whites land distribution food sources

Immigration sources(map) race relations literary achievements
Student Group Leader is:_____________________________________________

[Answer the following questions orally, and then synthesize with details on paper]


Use the spoke diagram attached to this instruction sheet to outline the major issues discussed in your group
What leader(s) of the antebellum period do you think had the greatest impact on the society?
What were the three basic components of antebellum society—social, economic, and political?
What was the social/cultural status of the average person in period? Would you like to have lived then?
Are there any enduring characteristics from the time period that affect us today?
If you encountered the concept of “slave culture” how would characterize it? Remember the criteria for grading are: fluency, form, and correctness (both of information and style)
Compare the two major antebellum groups and their cultures—both ancient and modern?
Does this region have commercial, industrial, or intellectual elements of uniqueness?






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