He added, “And, worst of all, there was the fact that the South itself definitely shared in these moral notions—in its secret heart always carried a powerful and uneasy sense of the essential rightness of the nineteenth century’s position on slavery. Whatever other factors need to be considered in a complete analysis, the low level of demand in this plantation-based slave society was sufficient to retard the economic development of the South.” Despite slavery’s harmful effects on the South generally, no change to it was imminent because gerrymandering of state legislative districts, property requirements for voting, and the traditional political power structure of the South kept crucial political and governmental decision-making in the hands of the slaveholding elite, who individually were reaping large financial benefits from the practice. Describing antebellum Southern society, Dew says, “The average Southern farmer is a yeoman who owns his own land and works it with the help of his family; he might own a slave. After all, only about 25% of southern white families owned slaves and 50% of these owned less than 5 slaves. In 1860 Richmond had dozens of slave traders, about six major slave auction houses, and at least nineteen slave auctioneers. Problems of Native Americans & African Slaves. The institution of slavery was embedded in the U.S. Constitution, and by the early 19th century, it had become a critical problem that Americans needed to deal with but couldn't bring themselves to resolve. . B. Phillips, as Woodman explains, concluded that cotton prices had dropped in price, slavery had become unprofitable just prior to the Civil War, and that it was a dying institution. The plantation system was not seriously limited by a scarcity of land. Whips and switches were used on the spot in the Upper South while more formal weekly “settlements” were used in the Lower South. He may be poor, it is true; but there is no point upon which he is so justly proud and sensitive as his privilege of caste; and there is nothing which he would resent with more fierce indignation than the attempt of the Abolitionist to emancipate the slaves and elevate the Negros [sic] to an equality with himself and his family.”. [T]he active demand which tended to enhance the prices of slaves came from those planters who were making large profits and who sought to expand their slaveholdings on the basis of these profits.” And, therefore: It was the fact that slavery tended to be profitable in new regions, while unprofitable in regions in the wake of expansion, that resulted so generally in the mistaken conclusions that slavery can thrive only on the basis of geographical expansion and a migratory economy, that slavery is adapted only to extensive agriculture, that it inevitably results in soil exhaustion, and that it cannot be profitable in general farming; none of which conclusions… appears to be justified in the absolute sense in which it has been asserted…. Female virtue could not be trampled under foot with impunity, and marriage among the people of color kept in utter obscurity.”. Children were separated from their parents and grandparents, spouses were separated from each other, and numerous other relatives were separated from their kin. . One of them numbered nearly two hundred hands . This fear of Negro equality had a long history. Slave-owners’ ultimate weapon was virtually unlimited force. Frederick Law Olmsted was dismayed by what he saw in Mississippi: “[T]he stupid, plodding, machine-like manner in which they labor is painful to witness. After noting that slave hiring rates and sales prices in the 1850s had a solid economic foundation, he concluded that “the slave was earning for his owner a substantial, though varying, surplus above the cost of maintenance. Effect: If a female slave gave birth to a child, that child would automatically be … PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). He and his band of sixty insurgents roamed the countryside killing most whites they encountered—a total of sixty-one. 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