American Slavery c.1750-1820 (and its effect on the society of the South)


Pre-independance before 1777

Virginia armed all persons "except negroes"


By law, had obligation to defend the colony from Nat Ams/ Europeans
=> arming slaves too risky tho

Same year, case of John Punch, a black indentured servant who was sentenced to a life of enslavement rather than his other white aids' 4 years additional specifically bc he was black

Massachusetts first colony to put slavery in law


The Massachussets puritans believed slavery was "Biblically endorsed"-Williams
Apostle Paul urged a fellow Christian to treat a slave as his brother => treat well

They approved slavery as long as people were not stolen/puritans didnt know they were stolen (says Williams)

Slavery gradually written into law from here


Distinction between indenture and slave made more clear

"by the end of that century (17th) black people were being held in lifelong, hereditary slavery, meaning that they, their children, and their grandchildren's children would be enslaved. No longer could they expect to work for a period of time and gain their freedom."
"Colonists in Virginia, Massachusetts, Dutch New Amsterdam, or English New York did not establish a system of perpetual slaavery all at once, but at the end of the century, slavery was firmly in place: Africans and their descendants were clearly demarcated as the enslaved"

Virginia makes slavery hereditary


declared that the status passed through the mohter, rather than through the father (not the case in England)

"all children borne in this country shallbe held bond or freely only according to the condition of the mother"
=> although interracial sex illegal, if did happen it would not automatically make the offspring free bc the father a white man

Virginia says not murder to kill slave while punishing


Three ships from Barbados find Charleston


in Carolina

Barbados was England's boom colony in the Carribean
=> sugar cane
=>using slaves from West Africa

this was the PRECEDENT for the move away from indentures toward slave labour (imported)

Bacon's rebellion


on the Virginia landscape
=> led to increased reliance on slavery instead of indentures
Williams said majority of pop had been indentures until that

3k slaves in Jamestown



clergyman Morgan Godwyn writes


"these two words, Negro and slave (are) by custom grown Homogenous and Convertible; even as Negro and Christian, Englishman and Heathen, are by the like Custom and Partiality made Opposites"

=> Williams says African became "virtuously synonymous with slave" bc enslavemetn of Native Americans "proved difficult or against colonists' self-interest"

13k slaves in Jamestown


Rice the main souce of South Carolina's success


by this time

"this was bacbreaking work that enslaved people did with hand tools, standing in wet sooil in hot, humid weather"-Williams

Virginia makes a formal slave code


-all imported non-christian servants were slaves
"baptism of slaves doth not exempt them from service"
"so religion had become the pretext; teh real barrier was race"-Reynolds

-whites could not marry blacks
-if slave resisted master => could kill with no consequence

"the treatment of slaves was usually harsher than in Spanish conolies, where they often had the right to marry and even hold properties"-Reynolds
=> harsher language also increasingly used by colonists agaisnt blacks

"there were still free Negroes in the eiteenth-century but colour was now becoming the great divide"-Reynolds

"A developing racist ideology marked both Indians and Africans as heathens or savages, inferior to white Europeans and therefore suited for enslavement"-Heather Andrea Williams

New York makes it illegal to enslave Nat Ams


"Negroes alone shall be slaves"
Hard to enslave nat ams if they had lived long on the lands/ had nearby allies
"it was much less complicated, though more expensive, to bring in Africans"-Williams
=> no one to run to => no escape/revenge

More slaves han whites in S Carolina


"owners lived with anxiety and fear of insurrection"-Williams

Carolina divided into two separate colonies


North and South

South Carolina ltos of rice originally
They did loads, tally og skills of runaway slaves in colonial South Carolina:
45 different scales
including carpenter, shoemaker, seamstress, butcher, "a kind of doctor", wagon driver, cattle hunter, silversmith, jeweler, boat pilot and barber
worked in:
Thomas Jefferson's nail factory on his plantation in Virginia
produced bricks in Charleston, South Carolina
made metal reailings in New Orleans
produced whisky, peach and apple brandy on the Wessyngton Plantation in Tennessee
Stagville Plantation Durham the 900 enslaved people made bricks and made a huge barn for the mules bred on the plnatation
worked in large-scale iron works in the south => much went to the building of railroads
mined gold in North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia, and later in california
mined lead in Virginia and Missouri
mined salt in Virginia, Kentucky, and Arkansas
distilled turpentine from pine trees in Carolinas + Georgia
built the infrastructure for the southern colonies and states:
-dug canals and levees
-"helped to build almost EVERY sotuhern railroad"-Williams

Williams said some jobs remained the realm of slave men e.g. blacksmithing

North Carolina tobacco
=> the first cash crop in the colonies

group of slaves set fire to the outhouse of the owner of two of them

April 1712

In New York
killed 9 + wouned 7 of the whie residents putting out the fire
6 of the rebels committed suicide upon capture
21 slaves executed in response

"as Frequently occured followin uprisings, the legislature put even more restrictive rules in place to control enslaved as well as free black people in the colony"
-> more difficult for owners to manumit slaves
-> any slave freed after 1712 couldn't own real estate
-> any white could arrest a slave who violated the curfew rules + whip them

"uprsisings, large and smal, occured over time in the colonies and states"
Historians thinkt they were recently transported African slaves who didn't like the new limitations

27k slaves in Jamestown


"over the course of the seventeenth century, Virginia evolved from a society with slaves to a slave society where the major form of labour was slavery and all the slaves were black"-Williams

Robert Hazard owned 12,000 slaves


Williams says he "came close to approximating the large planters of Virginia and South Carolina"

-majority of whites in New England owned slaves -> most 1-4, working alongside the master on the farm to raise various crops (not one dominant crop like in south)
-Rhode Island +Connecticut => land more fertile, some as many as 60

"so prevalent was enslaved labour in the northern coloniss that some white workers felt threatened on two counts":
-thought they would not be able to compete against unpaid labour of enslaved people
-thought their status would be diminished if they performed the same work as slaves, or sometimes even a free black person

Group of London merchants receive a royal charter


For a new English Colony, Georgia
"there was one notable attempt to move in a different direction

run by trustees mostly funded by British taxpayers

featured a BAN ON SLAVERY
James Ogelthorpe (colony's first governor) not contre slavery in principle, thought it was wrong for Georgia

Ide for the colony was that they would farm and serve in the militia, as a buffer for South Carolina against Spanish Florida
to make Georgia a slave society woud undermine this
-> would live lives of "luxury" and "ideleness"

Floridan edict promises to free any runaway slave


Spanish colony of Florida

who made it to the garrison at St Augustine in Floida
At first the Spanish themselves enslaved them
but then in 1738 they lvied up to their word
settlement of runaways established north of St Augustine

petition in Georgia criticised the "want of the use"


"of negroes"

their lobbying cry was "liberty and property without restrictions"
"in other words, the liberty of whites depended on the unfettered ownership of blacks as property. By the mid-eigteenth century that had become unequivocally the Southern way."

=> campaigners gradually wore down the trustees

Stono rebellion

9 september 1739

twenty slaves stole guns and powder from a store
banging two drums and chanting "liberty", marched towards Spanish Florida (welcomed runaway slaves)
Burned 7 plantations
killed >20 whites
"the group was clearly interested in revenge as well as escape"-Williams, robbed a house + killed the owner
spared a tavern keeper bc he was known to be a good man who was kind to his slaves
at least one instance slaves hid their owners and were later rewarded for their loyalty
By mid-afternoon a posse of planters caught up with them, now ~100
Shot and decapitated many of the slaves

"this is to be said to the honour of the Carolina Planters, that notwithstanding the Provocation they had received from so many Murders, they did not torture one Negroe, but only put them to an easy death"-an unkown white man

=> "caused terror in the whites across South Carolina" despite being a "relatively minor affair"
=> "slave codes were made even tighter"-all Reynolds

Slaves outnumber free whites 2:1 South Carolina


Only colony in mainland America with an African majority

Negro Act in S Carolina

May 1740

Outlaws teaching slaves to read/write bc it would lead to "great inconveniences"
greatly restriced black mobility
slaves no longer allowed to grow their own food/earn their own money

First colony to litigate against literacy
in response to Stono + the one planned to attack Charleston

Conspiracy for a rebellion attacking Charleston

June 1740

150 slaves to do it
50 slaves caught and hanged for it

Rice planters in South Carolina


have the highest per capita income in the colonies

defeated trustees of Georgia hand it to crown


the bans on lawyers, liquor and large landholdings had already been dropped

within a few years it became a plantation society

More equality for free blacks

1771 - 1785

(1780s-early 90s)

Most states dropped restrictions on their freedom of movement, protect their property, and allow them to enrol in the militia. All but three states either permitted free Blacks to vote or made no specific attempts to exclude them.

18 Massachussetts men challenge black intelligence


these were "prominent" men
including the governor of the colony

examined Phillis Wheatley in Boston's Town Hall to determine if she could have produced the poetry which she claimed to have writeen

concluded she did
But even then the book was first published in England

10% of Virginia's population baptist


Evangelicalism "would have particular resonance with slaves" Reynolds

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, came out v against slavery
George Whitefield, for slavery but "had no doubt that the Gospel was for blacks as much as whites" much of the money he raised went to support an orphanage in Savannah, Georgia with blacks

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral published


by Phillis Wheatley
"but questions about her intellect and, by extension, that of other African Americans enslaved and free did not go away"-Williams

Four slaves send a petition for feedom

April 1773

in Boston
asking to return to Africa

They believed the revolution supported them
"we expect great things from men who have made such a noble stand aainst the designs of their fellow-men to enslave them"

David Margate arrives at Whitefield's orphanage

January 1775

originally impresses head of the orphanage, Revd William Piercy, with his piety

But then started claiming that he was Moses, would deliver his people from slavery "Egyptian bondage"

a group of whites banded together as a lynch mob
=> Piercy had to ship him away to England

Post independance to the 19th century 1777-1800

Quakers condemn slavery

1754 - 1776

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends (oversaw Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland) upon the urginig of a minister John Woolman and teacher Anthony Benezet renounced slavery

"subsequently, some Quakers freed their slaves, but most did not"

Abigail Adams writes to her husband


told him about the discovery of a widespread plot of slaves in Boston
"I wish most sincerely that tehrre was not a slave in the province... It always appeared a most iniquitous scheme to me to fight ourselves for what we are dalily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to feedom as we have

More ask slaves petition for their freedom

May 1774

to the Massachusetts legislature

Wante gradual emancipation
six weeks later followed up with a request for land

None of the petitions granted

American revolution

1775 - 1783

there are 20,000 slaves in New York
=> >1/2 of them on Long Island, worked in agriculture

Williams says that during this time "the most sustained and successful effort to take slavery apart occured"
=> American whties articulating freedom + equality led to the freeing of thousands of black people
Also, first person to die in the revolution was an enslaved black Crispus Attucks -> martyr of the Revolution, connected the colonial struggle against Engladnd ofr independance witht he black's struggle to be free says Williams
But then the constitution locked slavery into place in the South

George Washington forbade the enlisment of black men in the war
But then changed mind when Lord Dunmore of English promised freedom to slaves who joined up
by end of 1776 troop shortages => Continental Army recruits black men
Northern colonies allowed owners to free their slaves to serve in place of them and their sons

In the years following the revolutin slavery "eventually" disappeared int he northern states
some owners in the Upper South also freed their slaves
"simultaneously, slavery grew in the Lower South"

Yearly Meeting of Quakers decides to


prohibit slave ownership among its members

Vermont affirms that slavery was a violation of


"natural, inherent and inalienable rights"

=> Vermont judge told a master suing for the return of a runaway slave that he would not get it back

Other northern states followed

Declaration of Independance

4 July 1777

Williams says by this time every English colongy in America (north included) "had people who were considered slaves" => and African already synonymous with slave

Pennsylvania became first state to abolish



Made March 1 the cut off for slave owners to adjust
no slave before the date was freed until age of 28
"in other words, after their owners had got some useful work out of them"
=> no slave had liberty until at least 1808 "hardly the floodgates of freedom, more a dripping tap"-Reynolds

Rhode Island frees slaves


similar provision to Conneticut

Conneticut passes law against slavery


manumits slaves born before that year
requires they work as indentures until 25
=> not free until 1809

Thomas Jefferson discredits Wheatley's poetry


In his publication "Notes on the State of Virgnia"
In it he claimed that African people had emoitions but kacjed the capacity to translate them into "the revered European poetic form"

"the most prominent arbiter of black people's nitellectual ability"-Williams
said didnt change that he thought black people inferior to white

Northwest Ordinance


Bans slavery around the Great Lakes

USA constitution

17th September 1787

Jefferson appears to be against slavery

Jefferson claimed George III had "waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither"

"this was strange stuff, coming from a Virginian slave owner"-Reynolds (he acc freed them later)
"the idea that George III had forced the slave trade on Virginians was, of course, preposterous"

=> was in fact trying to justify slavery in a declaration
about the inalienable right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness"

=> Congress cut the whole passage

-set a date for when Congress could outlaw the Atlantic slave trade
-had the "three-fifths clause" for Congressional representation
-provided for the return of fugitive slaves to owners
"wih these three provisions, the US constitution accepted slavery as a valid institution in the new nation, thereby inserting thefederal government into the role of regulating slavery"-Williams

But Williams says that constitution did positively contribute somewhat
abolitionists from then on drew on the language of justice and liberty in the consitution
"throughout the nineteenth century black and white abolitionists demanded the fulfilment of the promises of the founding documents"-Williams

Delegates from S Carolina + Georgia refuse to enter teh Union if it threatened slavery

Ban on slave trade agreed in Congress

17th September 1788

Many were worried there would eventually be conflict between the states over the institution, since the slave states were split sectionally

The South was allowed to use slaves to count as population
=> for the House of Representatives
=> one slave was 3/5 of a white, "even though slaves were not part of the electorate"

Governeur Morris of New York "upon what principle is it that the slaves shall be computed in the representation? Are they men? Then make them citizens and let them vote. Are they property? Why then is no other property included?"

Most accepted this as the price of slavery

Agreed that the ban of the slave trade (by South Carolina and Georgia) would happen twenty years later in 1808

"the story of Josiah Henson showed the essential arbitrariness of slavery"



born 1789
first owned by a master "far kinder to his slaves than the planters generally were"
then he died, sold to a more brutal owner
became basically overseer of plantation because he was young and able
he married and converted to christianity
=> wanted to buy his freedom
owner kept raising price
taken by his master's son to New Orleans to be sold
pleaded to son, scolded him
son got fever, he cared for him
but then soon up for sale again
1830 managed to escape with wife and children in underground railroad
when he reached the Canada shore he was elated

probably inspired Uncle Tom's cabin

Williams says cotton had outpaced

1790 - 1799

all other crops by this time

Had been grown in Virginia and the Carolinas since the early colonial period
but Williams says "it was the American revolution that began its precipitous increase"-Williams
=> Americans boycotting English-made items including cloth and clothing

19th century, cotton grown in:
-N Carolina
-S Carolina

"cotton became so profitable that in the 1790s some planters abandoned tobacco and indigo cultivation in favour of cotton crops"-Williams

"increased production of cotton and the improved ability to process it led to an increased demand for slave labour, and for the land on which to grow the crop"

North Carolina legislature outlaws killing slaves


“distinction of criminality between the murder of a white person and one who was equally a human creature, but merely a different complexion, is disgraceful to humanity” and authorise the execution of owners who killed slaves

=> attempting to improve conditions, but no hint at emancipation

Benjamin Banneker publishes


a series of almanacs against slavery

Invention of Cotton gin


by Eli Whitney

Ogden Holmes acc invented the one which resembled the one actually used on plantations

50 pounds of cotton could be extracted per day, compared with one pound by manual methods
=> made cotton in USA incredibly PROFITABLE

from South Carolina all the way to Louisiana was ideal climatically
just needed 23 inches of rain/ year and 200 frost-free days

"so Jefferson's Empire of Liberty became the Cotton Kingdom"-Reynolds

Slaves kept working when not farming
Louisiana planter said his expectations for his slaves when weather too bad to agriculute:
"when the hands cannot work outside, they must clean up the stables, mend and grease their gear, and sharpen and put in order their implements, clean up the quarters, pile the manure etc. the cribs, ox lots and stables require much work to keep them in food order, and when the weather is rainy or bad they can do this work, and I desire it to be particularly attended to"

Fugitive slave law


Runaway slaves must be returned to owner

Even denied free blacks the legal protections given to them under the bill of rights => couldn't dispute at court

New York emancipation

1799 - 1827

took longer in New York bc economy more dependant on slave labour

Begins 1799
freedom gained in 1827

New Jersey starts freeing slaves


economy dependant like in New York

but its laws provied fro long-lasting "apprenticeships" which Williams says "possibly more like slavery than freedom"

1800-1820 (1800 to the Missouri Compromise)

No. of enslaved people expans by 33%

1800 - 1810

In part bc of importation from Africa + Caribbean
In part bc of reproduction

S Carolina creates punishments


For thsoe who teach slaves to read/write
and for the enslaved student themselves

Including mexicans, mixed race and free blacks

11% of African Americans are free


had been 8% in 1780

Why this time was referred to as the "high tide" of African-American situation (pathetic)

Gabriel's rebellion

August 1800

Planned insurrection of >1,000 slaves in Richmond
in Richmond and Virginia (didn't acc happen)
=> antislavery sentiment didn't recover until the 1830s

legislation passed in response

potentially dangerous, in Virginia 39% of population slaves

Only one president opposes slavery

1801 - 1861

John Quincy Adams opposed

all others either supported or were slave owners themselves

150k slave shipped into USA

1801 - 1810

highest figure for any decade in American history

second conspiracy discovered


Among enslaved boatmen along the Appomattox and Roanoke Rivers

(more oppression in response)

Louisiana purhcase


"gave slavery a new lease of life" -Reynolds

=> could expand into a vast distance
=> more money

Igbo landing


at Dunbar Creek on St Simons Island, Glynn County, Georgia

mass suicide in 1803 by captive Igbo people who had taken control of their slave ship and refused to submit to slavery in the United States.

although, the Igbo were known as a group of people fiercely resistant to slavery

ALL Northern states had laws constitutions


Which would gradually kill off slavery

Slave revolt of Saint Domingue (Haiti)


All whites murdered 3k-5k
Owners saw that as what would happen if they allowed slaves to be free
South scared of uprisings again

Chatham manor minor slave revolt

January 1805

Chatham's slaves overpowered and whipped their overseer and assistants in a minor slave rebellion.

armed posse of white men quickly gathered. They killed one slave in the attack, and two more died trying to escape capture. Two other slaves were deported.

Congress votes to ban African Slave Trade


within two years

"it now seemed that the end of slavery was only a matter of time. As slaves died off, slavery would die out." -Reynolds
=> actually just enhanced importance of internal slave trade

A "thriving domestic slave trade" -Williams moves 1 million people from the Upper South to the Deep South and west
"for the express purpose of producing the crops that American and European economies demanded"

Williams points out that England had banned their participation in the slave trade anyways

Virginia Assembly banned hiring out of slaves


In response to mainly Gabriel's planned rebellion

Jefferson and John Adams start correspondance


Adams likened the slavery issue to "a black cloud" hanging over the country
told Jefferson that he thought a struggle over the issue might fragment the country and "produce as many Nations in North America as there are in Europe"

"Jefferson recognised the danger but had no solution"
Jefferson owned slaves himself and "did not think a biracial society could work, both sides being too locked in the master- slave relationship"-Reynolds

George Boxley attempts a slave revolt


6 slaves invovled
(more showing slaves, when given the opportunity, wanting to escape)

American Colonization Society founed


By prominent white statesmen

Wanted to encourage free blacks to emigrate to Liberia
included Henry Clay, Congressman from Kentucky + Speaker at House of Representatives

But Williams says by 1820s most black people had been born in America => why would they want to go to Africa

James Grimke still supported emigration => believed never coudl progress among whites in America
"Both black leaders and white abolitionists soon rejected the scheme, however, and came to believe that the main intention was simply to rid the country of free black people"-Williams

Missouri Compromise


draws an east-west line through the Louisiana Purchase
=> apart from Missouri, all new states would be barred to slavery north of 36 degrees

Jefferson was utterly appaled "this momentous question, LIKE A FIRE BELL IN THE NIGHT, awakened and filled me with terror"
saw it as a "repreive only, not a final sentence"

1820-1864 (emancipation proclamation)

Slaves work on steamboats

1820 - 1830

"in the 1820s when steamboats became prevalent"
-> worked as deck hands, firemen, engineers, and pilots

even fed gov relied on slave labour
=> supplied them bricks, umber, and sadnstone
=> helped with the construction of the US Capitol in Washington DC

<10,000 people emigrate to Liberia

1820 - 1856

Denmark Vessey attempts a slave revolt

June 1822

"potentially major" -Reynolds

Vessey was to be the ringleader for a slave revolt, from members of a church which had rapidly attracted 1,848 members (AME church)

36 executed including Vessey

Elizabeth Heyrick publishes pamphlet


English Quaker
called "immediate not Gradual Abolition: Or, An Inquirty into the shortest, safest, and Most effectual means of getting rid of west indian slavery"

Chief Justice of N Car supeme court writes..


Thomas Ruffin
about a white man who shot the enslaved woman whom he had hired
"The power of the master must be absolute to render the submission of the slave perfect"
in State vs. Mann case
=> the person who shot Lydia was acc indicted for damaging the slave owner's property (she had been hired out)
=> But then Ruffin overruled "although he claimed to think that slavery was an abomination and looked forward to its demise" => believed violence essential to slavery
"most planters agreed with Justice Ruggin that violence was a necessary measure o extract labour and obedience from enslaved people"-williams
=> espite the paternalism

To avoi whippings/when corporal punishment not effective, owners did other things:
-locked people up at night
-denied passes to leave the plantation => plenty had family on another
Wanted to make sure slaves didn't run away too much
"timed well, the absence of even one slave could have serious consequences for an owner's finances"

A Definite MINORITY says Williams fought back punishment
-Frederick Douglas successfully subdued owner Mr Covey from whipping him
-Ellen Turner resisted whipping when owner tried to punish her for hanging image of Abe Lincoln on her bedroom wall
But they risked being killed/sold by doing this

David Walker appeal published


interesting example of the problem of evil:
""Is not God a God of justice to al his creatures? I he gives peace and tranquility to tyrants, and permits them to keep our fathers, our mothers, ourselves and our children in eternal ignorance and wretchedness, to support them and their families, wuld he be to us a God of justice?"

David Walker, free black man, in a pamphlet:
"the whites want slaves, and want us for their slaves, but some of them will curse the day they ever saw us. As true as the sun ever shone in its meridian splendor, my colour will root some of them out of the very face of the earth. They shall have enough of making slaves of, and butchering, and murdering us in the manner which they have"
In his "Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in particular, and very expressly, to those of the United States of America"
Also wrote that "for coloured people to acquire learning in this county, makes tyrants quake and tremble on their sandy foundation"

Mum Bett dies


was a female slave in Western Massachussetts
Husband fought and died for independance
She ran away
Her owner sued for return, became a test case in Massachusetts legal battle AGAINST slavery
First act of independance was to choose her own name, becoming Elizabeth Freeman

"any time while i was a slave, if one minutes freedom had been offered to me, and i had been told i must die at the end of that minute, i would have taken it- just to stand for one minute on God's airth a free woman"

when she was allowed to walk free in Brom and Bett v. Ashley (1781), the ruling was considered to have implicitly ended slavery in Massachussetts

Georgia anti-literacy law

December 1829

Just months after David Walker's appeal published
-> whites scared of insurrection

if try to incite insurrection by circulating an anti-slavery pamphlet, death punishment
if try to teach any black person literacy, fine and whipping (black) or fine and prison (white)

One month later Louisiana banned pamphletslike it + prohibited any disrources against slavery, teaching slaves to read/write

Despite this, says Williams, blacks placed a high value on literacy
-access information
-communicate with family members sold away from them
-forge their passes to move around (even if free had to have a white guardian)
-read the Bible for themselves
=> find proof that there wasn't just "Servants obey your master" in the Bible

some learned from their owners' wife => believed everyone should read the Bible e.g. Frederick Douglass's slave mistress (owner soon intervened)
some taught themselves using Noah Webster's Blue Black Speller
Those who had rudimentary literacy skills taught others

"As owners feared, enslaved people's literacy undermined owner's authority" -Williams
=> Douglass read a newspaper when working on the docks -> learned of an abolitionist movement in the North + was able to forge a pass to move around
Some literate slaves used the ability to read the Bible to challene the "dominan white ideology that black people were inferior and suited only to be slaves"

Abolitionist movement pushed more strongly

1830 - 1840

"several groups of people including ardent white believers, black abolitionists... and enslaved people who biolently rebelled against slavery, pushed the abolition movement to more broadly embrace teh call or immediate emancipation"-Williams

e.g. Frederick Douglas, Lydia Maria Child, Reb J.W. Pennington, Sarah and Angelina Grimke, James Forten, Theodore Weld + others

Forced removal by Jackson further expands cotton

1830 - 1840

removal of the

"As Native Americans made the involuntary treks to what would become Indian Country or Oklahoma, white Americans dislocated approxamitely one million African Americans through the domestic slave trade, moving them from the Upper South to the Lower South and westwad, destroying families, and severing community ties in order to create plantations and cultivate cotton"-williams

Gag rule

1830 - 1850

1830s and 40s

Gag rule against discussion of slavery in Congress

Nat Turner's rebellion


aka Southmapton insurrection
took place in Virginia

70 enslaved and free blacks involved
killed 55-65 free people -> highest fatality of any slave uprising in USA, they planned to kill all whites in their path

up to 200 african americans killed in response my militias and mobs, a lot who were probs not involved

Across the South, state legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free black people, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free black people, and requiring white ministers to be present at all worship services.
Soon a felony to make slaves literate in all of South

Worried whites about blacks + christianity too bc Turner said he received vissions from God about the revolt
-> early missionaries claimed it would make them docile

Turner had been a literate missionary

Virginia legislature debated ending slavery alltogether e.g. Henry Berry (a slave owner) advocated a process of gradual emancipation, the institutuion would eventually die anyway
But Dew said slavery was too essential to the economy

Members of the House of Delegates claimed that it was bc of free blacks in the state => should send them to Africa

Blacks 60% of the county's population but the whites owned the guns

William Garrison publishes first issue of Liberator

1 January 1831

At first supported colonisation, but then in 1831 rejected it

(3 big events for abolitionism in 1831, says Williams, was this, Nat Tuner and the enslaved mass rebellion in Jamaica)

Mass rebellion against slavery in Jamaica


More doubt/ fear about slavery

Virginia House of elegates restricts black preaching

March 1832

Said their interpretations of the scriptures was disruptive to the peace of white society
=> Nat Turner was a preacher

British Empire abolishes slavery


In its West Indian colonies by this time

S Carolina again bans literacy


among enslaved and free peoples of colour

happened in other states + colonies

N Carolina legisltation said bc it "has a tendancy to excite dissatisfaction in their minds, and to propduce insurrection and rebellion, to the manifest injury of the citizens of the State"

Richmond, state capital processes more tobacco than any other product

1840 - 1860

1840s and 50s

enslaved people also worked as weavers in:
-N Carolina
-S Carolina
- Georgia
tried to compete with northern mills

tobacco, rice, cotton, wheat, indigo, sugarcane all had to be transported once processed
enslaved people hauled it all to the ports etc.

they even helped to build the railroads on which the cash crops were transported
-Mississippi Railroad
-Georgia Railroad
-Raileigh and Gaston Railroad in N Carolina
all owned slaves
others hired slaves

Creole case


128 slaves gain freedom by overpowering the ship they were on and sailing to Creole

~5% enslaved south people do industial work

1850 - 1860


Often slaves processed the crops that slaves grew, ready for the market

enslaved men and women hired from their owners to factories in:
(all in Virginia)
they refined tobacco into packages of chewing tobacco

100k slaves escaped through undergound railroad


by this time

one estimate

and this wasnt even at its peak yet, was 1850-60

Samuel A Cartwright diagnoses a disease in slaves


who want to escape from slavery
physician in New Orleans

called "drapetomania"
=> slavery was the natural condition of black people + only the mentally ill would want to escape

Nathaniel Heyward dies


He had owned 2k slaves worth $1 mil

but "most slave owners, perhaps as many as three-quarters of them, possessed fewer than ten slaves; only an elite were tycoons"

"the life of slaves therefore varied greatly. On small farms they had a close relationship with the owner, working beside him in the fields. On big plantations, by contrast, he was usually a more remote figure: slaves laboured in gangs cultivating cotton or rice under the often brutal rule of a black overseer"
"in general, the experience of house slaves was better than field hands" (and this was a signifant number of them) "they were part of the family-serving meals, doing household chores and raising the children. Often a real emotional bond developed."
=> often lighter skinned

e.g. John Manning, a South Carolina planter pained to hear the death of a serving slave. "poor Lelia died of inflammation of the stomach after five days of ilness. I felt as if one of the family were dead, so greatly did i regard her"

but "all depended, however on the character of the master"
Solomon Northup, Frederick Douglass,
Harriet Jacobs repeated sexual advances from Dr James Norcom her owner "i turned from him in digust and hatred"

Uncle Tom's cabin published


Harriet Beecher Stowe

Independance Day oration Frederick Douglass

4 Jun 1852

"What to the American slave is your fourth of July?... To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity... your denunciations of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence"

in the South they responded that their slaves were treated better than northern workers
Senator James Hammond "the difference between us is that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated"

Thomas Hart Benton claimed everything interpreted to be slavery issue


A Missouri senator, slaveholder and member of the Free Soil Party who opposed expansion of slavery but not the institution

claimed that no matter what policy was pursued by a president, it would be interpreted that the issue was about slavery and its effect on slavery

George Fitzhugh publishes "Cannibals All!"


Contrasted the slaves in the south to the workers in the north who were callously discarded when they became too ill to work

James Henry Hammond's "mudsill" speech


to the US senate
"in all social systems there must be a class to do the menial duties.. That is, a class requiring but a low order of intellect and but little skill"
"Fortunately for the South, she found a race adapted to that purpose to her hand. A race inferior to her own... We use them for our purpose.. we call them slaves"
=> "it took white southern elites until the nineteenth century to develop such a full-throated defense of slavery, but Hammond's perspective on forced labour reflected how white slave owners had long thought about African Americans"-Williams

1/2 the people working in Virginia tobacco factories


hired slaves

Richmond the wealthiest southern industrial city