Slavery in the Upper And Lower South

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Black slavery in the South created a bond among white Southerners and cast them in a common mold. Slavery was also the source of the South 's large agricultural wealth, which led to white people controlling a large black minority. Slavery also caused white Southerners to realize what might happen to them should they not protect their own personal liberties, which ironically included the liberty to enslave African Americans. Because slavery was so embedded in Southern life and customs, white leadership reacted to attacks on slavery after 1830 with an ever more defiant defense of the institution, which reinforced a growing sense among white Southerners that their values eventually divided them from their fellow citizens in the Union. The …show more content…

They feared the double-edged challenge to their privileged positions from outside interference with slavery and internal white disloyalty. By the 1850 's, many of them were concluding that the only way to resolve their dilemma was to make the South a separate nation.

The South also had a large free society, which consisted of large planters, planters, small slaveholders, non-slaveholding whites, and frees black people. Despite its apparent success in forging white solidarity, the racial argument could be turned on its head and used to weaken slavery. Most white Northerners were about as racist as their Southern counterparts, but they were increasingly willing to improve themselves as free persons. The pro-slavery argument depicted a nearly ideal society blessed by class and racial harmony. In reality, social conditions in the slave South were far more contradictory and conflict ridden. Slaves were not content in their bondage. They dreamed of freedom and sustained that dream through their own forms of Christianity and the support of family kin. Relations between masters and their slaves were antagonistic, not affectionate, and wherever the system of control slackened, slaves resisted their owners.

Abolitionism emerged from the same religious impulse that energized reform throughout the North. What distinguished the abolitionists

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