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The Peculiar


Comparing the North & the South


Industrialized cities (factories)

Slaves werent a necessity (European
Merchants and manufacturers
participated and benefitted from the
slave economy of the South
Money earned led to industrial
development and internal
Lords of the Loom (Brooks Bros.)


Plantation societies
Limited industrialization & cities b/c so
much land was needed for rice and
King Cotton
Slaves were an absolute necessity
Discouraged European immigration
(exception New Orleans)
Limited transportation (RR short linesplantations to coastal ports)

The Planter Class & Paternalism

Less than 40,000 families owned 20 or more slaves

Fewer than 2000 families owned 100 or more slaves
The majority of slave owning families owned 5 or fewer

Value rose dramatically for slaves ($1500/today just under $40,000)

Most whites simply couldnt afford them- same people supported slavery though
because they still socially outranked the slave

Slavery was a profit making system

Slave owners recognized the value they had in their slaves (property)

Owners saw it as a responsibility to care for their slaves (dont think of it as them
being nice)

Slaves & the Law

Brutal punishments (whipping/flogging)

Illegal to kill a slave except in
Slaves accused of serious crimes had their
day in court (albeit with white judges)
Couldnt testify against a white
Couldnt acquire land or sign documents
In most instances, owners had complete
power over the slave
Celias story (1855)- killed her
master resisting a sexual assault
Any woman acting in that matter
is seen as defending themselves
Court ruled she wasnt a women- she
was a slave

Slave Religion & the Gospel of Freedom

Plantation preachers- familiarity with the Bible, good rhetorical skills

Secret gatherings- praise meetings usually hidden in the woods or
swamps- dance, shouts of praise and emotional outbursts
Slave Exodus- stories of the Jews being led to the promise land, David
& Goliath, Daniel & the lions den

Slave owners saw it as a method of control

Often mandatory

White ministers preached theft was immoral, obey their masters, idea that God led
them away from Africa so their life would be meaningful

Slave Resistance

Day to day- breaking tools, feigning illness, organized slowdowns, acts

of sabotage and arson
Running away- short distance, temporary

Withholding their labor as a bargaining chip

Pace of work
Free time
Access to garden plots
Ability to practice ceremonies free from white oversight
Church (religion)

Permanent escape- underground railroad (Harriet Tubman)

Slave Revolts- Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner, The Amistad

Nat Turners Rebellion

Slave preacher in Southampton County, Virginia

August 22, 1831

Turner along with a handful started going farm to farm

Mostly women & children killed (men at a revival in N.C.)
#s joining Turner grow to 80 before the militia stops them
60 whites dead
Turner along with 17 others were captured and executed

This was the fear that drove slave owners to often beat and
humiliate to keep power over their property