Black Subordination Social Order Dbq

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Black Subordination Social Order Dbq



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Southern planters were getting richer and stronger, but so too were those in the free states who resented slavery. Antislavery sentiment had its origins in the economic changes sweeping the free states. Small farmers in the West feared the competition from slave labor even while they often harbored virulently racist ideas. Northern industrialists complained that slavery impeded the spread of factories and mills, and argued with the planters over tariff policy. Just as importantly, the worldview of the Northern elite increasingly clashed with the realities of life in the South.

Northern industrialists and merchants justified their own wealth and power by celebrating the ability of ordinary people to rise through society and become prosperous farmers or businessmen. The free states, they argued, had no permanent class divisions. The South, where slaves were stuck in a perpetual state of poverty and exploitation, seemed to violate this free labor ideal. Ultimately, while slavery had played a crucial role in the emergence of industrial capitalism across the Atlantic world, it now represented a major obstacle to the bourgeoisie of the free states.

The labor system in the South had some things in common with the wage labor system evolving in the North. Both were based on production of commodities for sale on the market, and both rested on private ownership of the means of production. But slaveowners did not purchase the labor power of their workers; they purchased the workers themselves. This discouraged investment in new technology and ultimately hamstrung industrial development in the South. Slave resistance Even as some Northerners began to question the legitimacy of slavery, slaves in the South demonstrated that they longed to be free. Indeed, it is impossible to understand Southern society and the origins of the Civil War without reference to the constant struggle—sometimes open, sometimes hidden—between the slaveholders and their enslaved Black laborers.

This conflict shaped every aspect of life in the slave states, from the cultural and intellectual tastes of the planter class to the development of mainstream Southern politics. Slave resistance could be small-scale and informal. Slaves feigned illness or pregnancy to avoid labor in the fields, or broke tools to slow down the pace of work. Sometimes individual slaves fought back when confronted with the violence of an owner or an overseer. The truth was, that he had not whipped me at all. Black women were less likely to directly confront their owners or overseers. Nevertheless, female slaves who worked in the Big House had unique opportunities to strike back against their owners. Enslaved African Americans also created a culture of resistance that drew on diverse influences and represented a fusion between African traditions and the customs of both European Americans and Indians.

Christianity played a contradictory role in the lives of slaves. The planters promoted a religious doctrine that emphasized subservience and the duty of slaves to obey their masters. A common form of slave resistance was simply to run away. He will certainly try to get them loosened in any way he may think the most advisable. The most spectacular manifestations of resistance were the mass slave revolts that erupted sporadically in the South.

Indeed, such revolts began the moment Africans were seized from their homes and sold into slavery. Uprisings took place on many slave ships and even at the West African coastal depots where slaves waited for potential buyers. Major rebellions took place in every slave society across the Americas, from the Caribbean sugar islands to the plantations and mines of Brazil. A satisfactory treatment of the major uprisings in North America alone would require a much longer article than this.

For the purposes of the present discussion it will suffice to mention some of the most famous slave rebellions. The colonial period saw its fair share of insurrections. As early as , two dozen slaves rebelled in New York City and killed several whites before their rebellion was crushed. During the Stono Rebellion, which took place in South Carolina in , insurrectionary slaves killed as many as fifty whites before they were defeated in a pitched battle with the colonial militia. In , an enslaved blacksmith named Gabriel led a slave conspiracy and insurrection in Virginia.

As a trained artisan, Gabriel had valuable skills and enjoyed the freedom to travel the countryside looking for work. Gabriel also possessed a sophisticated grasp of world politics, and used it to his advantage. One historian has suggested that Gabriel drew inspiration from the French — and Haitian Revolutions — , news of which had electrified many Black communities in the s, and ordered his followers to spare the French residents of Richmond. In , hundreds of slaves rose up on the plantations along the lower Mississippi River—an area known as the German Coast—and attempted to march on New Orleans. This uprising probably had a direct connection to the successful slave revolution in Haiti.

Many white planters had fled the rebellion on that Caribbean island and brought their slaves to Louisiana. Again, however, these rebels suffered defeat at the hands of the better armed and trained white militia. Nat Turner is undoubtedly the most famous slave rebel of the antebellum era. A Black preacher from Southampton County in southern Virginia, Turner learned to read the Bible at an early age and claimed to have seen visions of a holy war between the slaves and their owners.

He became convinced that he had a divinely ordained role in a coming apocalyptic race struggle. In the summer of Turner and his co-conspirators managed to kill almost sixty white Virginians before their rebellion was crushed. In the aftermath of the insurrection, many Southern states passed laws that forbade anyone from teaching a slave how to read and write. None of these revolts genuinely threatened the stability of slavery in the South. Whites were always a majority and they could count on the power of the government to crush slave rebellions. Furthermore, the conditions of plantation life and rural isolation often prevented Black slaves from communicating among themselves, developing a collective sense of their position in society, and coordinating mass resistance.

Nevertheless, these insurrections demonstrated that African Americans rejected their enslavement and were waiting for the right moment to throw off their chains. Abolitionism The failure of the major slave rebellions showed that Southern Blacks would need powerful allies if they were to confront the planters. Such allies were unlikely to come from within the South, however. Although antislavery ideas did exist in the slave states before , the planters had worked hard to repress them. Even non-slaveholding whites had become enmeshed in the patronage networks of the planter class and almost all accepted the basic premises of white supremacy.

Slaves would need to look outside of the South for supporters; starting in the s, such allies began to emerge across the North in the form of abolitionist societies. We have already seen that economic and social changes in the free states were leading many Northerners to question the legitimacy of slavery. The most active and militant of these people organized a social movement dedicated to the immediate abolition of slavery.

Although they formed a tiny minority of the Northern population as a whole, runaway slaves and free Black people formed the rank-and-file of the antislavery campaign. Many were the descendants of slaves who had either escaped from slavery during the crisis of the American Revolution or been freed by the post-revolutionary emancipation laws. Supporters of the newspaper built a network of agents and distributors to agitate for Black rights and in so doing developed the earliest infrastructure of a powerful social movement. The most militant and far-sighted Black abolitionists clearly situated themselves in the tradition of the American Revolution and expressed a desire to complete the processes begun in Black intellectual David Walker expressed the revolutionary aspirations of abolitionism as clearly as anyone in the movement.

Walker was born in the South before moving to Boston and going into business as a dealer in second-hand clothes. Few antislavery documents had such a lasting impact on the movement. First, it called attention to the hypocrisy of white America by noting the contradiction between the ideals of the revolution and the realities of life under slavery and racism. Secondly, Walker set out to debunk many of the racist myths associated with proslavery ideology. He noted the achievements of prominent Black men and women, including revolutionary heroes like Crispus Attucks. Finally, the Appeal called on people of African descent to unite in opposition to their oppressors and, if necessary, to organize a new revolutionary movement for racial justice. Black sailors with connections to the emerging abolitionist movement distributed it throughout the region.

Copies of the Appeal showed up as far away as New Orleans, and caused panic in the planter class. In any case, David Walker himself died under suspicious circumstances not long after the Appeal went public. Up until this point, conservative and racist ideas had dominated the white antislavery movement. One such individual was William Lloyd Garrison, who founded the American Antislavery Society after coming under the influence of African American activists. The abolitionist movement challenged many forms of oppression. The prominence of Black abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass forced many Northerners to reconsider their deeply held racism.

They organized the Seneca Falls Convention to demand equal rights for women, including the right to vote. Interestingly, like the early Black abolitionists, these women used the language of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution to expose the hypocrisy of a patriarchal society. Before the s, however, the abolitionists remained a despised and isolated minority in the North. Powerful business interests connected the Northern elite to the planter class, and racism remained nearly universal in the free states.

In , William Lloyd Garrison narrowly escaped lynching after giving an abolitionist lecture in Boston. Two years later, a proslavery mob attacked and killed the antislavery newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy in Alton, Illinois. The Republican Party Events in the s would give the abolitionists a new audience for their ideas and lead to the emergence of a mass movement against slavery. This issue, more than any other, would create an antislavery majority in the free states and thereby convince the planters that their position in the Union was untenable. Southern politicians and their Northern sympathizers had been agitating for a war with Mexico since the s. White settlers in Texas—including many slaveholders—had already fought and won a secessionist war against the Mexican government.

The Southern elite hoped to annex not only Texas but also lands further to the west, including New Mexico, Arizona, and California they also had their eyes on Cuba. They felt that the climate in at least some of these regions might lend itself to the expansion of slavery. The expansion of slave territory was an economic and political imperative for the slave system. The soil exhaustion caused by the plantation system, as well as the relatively low productivity of forced labor, compelled planters to seek new lands to exploit.

The slave system hindered technological development and investments aimed at raising agricultural productivity. For decades the slave power had dominated politics in Washington, ensuring the protection of their interests. If several new slave states joined the Union, planters would hold a permanent majority in the Senate and could prevent antislavery Northerners from passing bothersome legislation. Planters had another reason to desire the westward expansion of slavery; they feared that the presence of free territory on their borders would provide both an inducement for runaway slaves and a haven for those who had already escaped.

Slaveholders in the Deep South had witnessed this first hand when the newly independent nation of Mexico abolished slavery and quickly became a magnet for Black fugitives. The same process took place in slave states that bordered the North. Ultimately the planters feared that communities of escaped slaves and free Black people living beyond the borders of the South would foment slave insurrections. President James K. A Tennessee slaveholder, he had won the Democratic nomination for the election of after defeating antislavery candidate Martin Van Buren at the party convention. Polk won the support of the South after coming out strongly in favor of the annexation of Texas and narrowly beat the Whig candidate Henry Clay in the national election.

Once in office, Polk did his utmost to provoke a war with Mexico and thus justify the seizure of the territory between Texas and the Pacific. He sent troops across the Rio Grande into Mexican territory and, when Mexican troops responded, persuaded Congress to declare war in Over the next two years, American troops conquered New Mexico, facilitated an anti-Mexican revolt in California, and briefly occupied Mexico City. The infamous Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the war, ceded fully half of Mexico to the United States, which grew in size by a third as a result of its conquests. Although many Northerners opposed the war with Mexico and saw it as nothing more than a power grab on the part of the planters, Northern farmers and investors had their own plans for the western territories.

As we have already seen, the idea of social mobility was central to the self-identity of the free states. Free labor ideology held that a young man would start out by working for wages, save enough money to buy property of his own, and eventually become an employer of labor in his own right. A furious political controversy thus followed right on the heels of the victory over Mexico. Northerners demanded legislation guaranteeing that slavery would not spread into the former Mexican possessions, while Southerners raised the prospect of secession for the first time.

Senior politicians on both sides of the sectional divide were able to paper over the dispute with a series of laws called the Compromise of , but even these palliative measures only postponed the final reckoning. In fact, the compromise actually exacerbated the tensions in certain important ways. It included, for example, a Fugitive Slave Act that made Northerners responsible for apprehending runaways who made it to the free states.

Over the next few years, abolitionists would frequently confront slave catchers who came North in search of Black fugitives. The showdown over westward expansion came in Kansas. In the western territories of Kansas and Nebraska were ready to begin the path to statehood. Northerners and Southerners agreed that slavery was unlikely to flourish in Nebraska, but both sides hoped to win Kansas for their own way of life. Thousands of antislavery New Englanders and proslavery Missourians flooded into Kansas after Violence erupted when proslavery thugs attacked the antislavery settlement at Lawrence. In retribution, an antislavery militant named John Brown ambushed proslavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek, killing five.

Before the events in Kansas, the two-party system had largely kept the issue of slavery out of the political arena. The two main parties, the Whigs and the Democrats, had conspired to keep the slavery controversy out of Congress as far as possible. Both parties straddled the sectional divide and focused their policy debates on matters other than slavery. The Democrats and Whigs found their parties riven by debates and dissension along sectional lines.

A new third party, the Republican Party, grew out of the mass movement that emerged in the North in response to the fighting in Kansas. The Republicans ran their first candidate for president in ; pledging to prevent the spread of slavery, they captured a third of the popular vote. The s were a decade of deepening politicization and radicalization across the Northern states. Thousands of people who had never been politically active before were drawn into debate, activism, and organizing. Some took part in mass actions to halt the work of slave catchers; others participated in meetings to protest the actions of proslavery settlers in Kansas.

In this context an open break between the sections began to seem inevitable. No one represented the growing polarization in American society better than John Brown. For years he had campaigned tirelessly against slavery, utterly convinced that Southern society violated the most elementary principles of Christian morality and natural justice. Few white abolitionists committed themselves to the cause of African Americans with the same ferocity of John Brown, and in he struck one of the decisive blows in the coming of the Civil War.

In that year, Brown led a group of Black and white antislavery militants on an armed raid against the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. He hoped to seize weapons and spark a major slave insurrection across the South; and while the mission ended in disaster, the subsequent trial and publicity convinced many Southerners that their way of life was not safe as long as they remained in the Union. Unlike John Brown, most Republicans were not abolitionists.

They did not intend to launch an immediate attack on slavery and seriously doubted the constitutionality of federal interference in Southern affairs. Even if the Republicans had pledged not to interfere with slavery directly, the planters knew the Republican victory would encourage slave resistance and lead to the spread of abolitionist ideas in the South. Alliances are typically formed between two or more corporations, each based in their home country, for a specified period of time.

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