An unintended consequence of the cotton gin was the increased demand for slave labor that occurred in the south. Whitney’s invention transformed cotton into a crop that was easy to harvest and clean. Plantation owners wanted slaves to plant seeds, harvest the crops and work the cotton gins.
The expansion of slavery allowed plantation owners to increase their profits dramatically, but its effect on the people living in the south was even greater.
Slavery Divides the South
Slavery divided white Southerners into those who held slaves and those who did not. Slaveholders with large plantations were the wealthiest and most powerful people in the South, but they were relatively few in number. Even though the number of slaves in the South increased dramatically between 1790 and 1840, only about 30% of white families living in the south owned slaves at that time. Of those families that did own slaves, only about 10% had large plantations with 20 or more slaves. Slave ownership was emphasizing
slavery divided white southerners, hope and fear helped to unify them. white southerner
Summarize these two paragraphs in 10 words or less: Slavery divided white southerners and united them (ask students to explain how it divided them [haves/have nots] and united them [us v. them])
African Americans in the South
Slavery divided black Southerners into those who were enslaved and those who were free. In 1840, about 8% of the African-Americans living in the South were considered to be “free”. They had either been born free, been freed by their owner, or bought their freedom. Most of the freed slaves lived in southern cities like Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. Though they were legally “free”, these African-Americans still faced many problems. Most states did not allow free blacks to vote or
receive an education. Most employers refused to hire freedmen 9as free blacks were often called back then). Perhaps the biggest threat they faced was being captured and sold back into slavery (which was not uncommon).
Enslaved African Americans formed about 1/3 of the South’s entire population in 1840. Though on many plantations, the slaves
outnumbered the white people living there. About half of them worked on large plantations with white overseers. The conditions faced by these men and women were horrendous. They were forced to work unimaginably long hours and were given little food or time
for sleep. Slaves were not legally allowed to marry. Slaves often had their children taken from them at a young age. Slave owners used fear and intimidation as tools to control the people that they had enslaved. They hoped that doing so would prevent the slaves from attempting to escape or rebel.
Summarize these two paragraphs in 10 words or less: Both free blacks and those enslaved faced oppression in the South (Discuss with students the hardships that both groups endured)
Despite the harsh conditions they faced, many slaves tried to find ways to hold onto their humanity. Some turned to religions, others tried to escape. An even smaller number attempted to rebel against the slave owners. The most famous slave revolt was led by a man named Nat Turner. On August 21, 1831, Turner led a rebellion of 70 followers which resulted in the killing of 55 white southerners. Turner is quoted as saying the following about the rebellion:
We do not go forth for the sake of blood and carnage;…Remember that ours is not a war for robbery…it is a struggle for freedom.
Most of Turner’s men were captured when they ran out of ammunition. When Turner was caught he was tried and hanged,
Turner had hoped that his rebellion would help to bring attention to the horrible reality of slavery. He hoped that it would inspire other rebellions that would result in the abolition of slavery in the United States. However, his slave revolt had the opposite effect. Turner’s rebellion terrified white southerners. In hope of preventing more revolts, they randomly killed some 200 African Americans in an act of revenge.
Newspaper article on Turner’s RebellionWhites hoped that this would send a message to any slaves planning on staging copy-cat revolts. Southern states enacted laws to further limit the rights of freedmen. Free African Americans were not allowed to own weapons following the 1831 revolt. Turner’s rebellion also slowed the growing abolitionist movement in the North. As news of the rebellion spread, northerners opposed to slavery found it difficult to defend Turner’s violent actions.
Summarize these two paragraphs in 10 words or less: Slave rebellions made life worse for African Americans in the South.
Main Idea Statement: Slavery had various impacts on different groups of people living in the South in the 1800s.
Name: US History
The Effects of Slavery on the South:
Reflections & Summary
Directions: Use the reading “Effects of Slavery on the South” to answer the following questions.
Which of the following correctly identifies one unintended consequence of the cotton gin?
Cotton became much easier to harvest and clean
Cotton became a very profitable crop
The demand for slaves increased
True or False. Most white families living in the South owned slaves.
I think that this statement is _______ (true or false) because in the text it says: ____________
According to the text, how did slavery “divide” white southerners in the 1800s? ____________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Not all blacks living in the South were slaves. What percentage of blacks living in the South were free? ________%
According to the text, what were some problems that freedmen faced in the South? ________ ______________________________________________________________________________
Slaves made up about ______ of the South’s total population.
Did slave rebellions, like that of Nat Turner, have appositive or negative effect on other slaves? Explain. _______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Briefly summarize today’s reading. Be sure to use the questions you answer at the end of the reading to guide you through the process.