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Lecture 2

HIST 1F96 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Nat Turner, White Southerners, Denmark Vesey

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Tami Friedman

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Slavery and Race in the Nineteenth Century
January 14th, 2014
Slavery: A Review:
-Persistence of slavery defines the limits for national independence (except: Haiti)
-Slavery was an economic system (slaves represented wealth)
-Slavery was a labour system (unfree workers for their owners, lifetime condition,
legalities could protect slaves)
-Fundamentally, slavery was a system that rested on violence
-Slavery was a racial system (white Europeans didn’t enslave other white
Europeans; some places saw all black people as slaves, others were very
-Cuba and Brazil had the most African slaves (35-45% of the population)
The Evolution of Slave Systems in the Americas:
-Gradual Erosion (US North):
Spirit of Liberty: white people looking for liberty from British and black people
were looking for liberty from white slaveowners
Military service: George Washington would not allow black slaves into his
army and the British said they’d give freedom to any slave who would fight in
their army  the military service served to give persistence to their freedom
Pressures from slaves (petitions) led to gradual emancipation (first young
children, etc.)
Slavery was not essential to the Northern economy
-Gradual Erosion (Canada):
Black loyalists: British allowed loyalists and freed Black loyalists to move to
British policy: in response to growing pressure of abolishioners in Britain,
slave trade and slavery were abolished in the early 1800’s
Slavery was not essential to Canadian economy
-Gradual Erosion (Latin America):
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Haitian support: first independent, black state
Military service: freedom was offered to slavery if they fought for
independence as soldiers
British pressure: Britain said slavery would need to be installed if they wanted
to continue slavery with Britain
Profitability: not all countries had great economic need for slavery (eg. Peru);
they found it more profitable to free slaves because rebellions were costly
Reparations: South American, former slave owners received reparations in
exchange for the loss of their slaves
-Persistence and Expansion (US):
Natural reproduction: when the Constitution was created the slave trade
would not be abolished for another twenty years (1807); slave trade was
naturally reproducing and didn’t need to be reproduced
Expansion of slave trade: traded as many in the last twenty years
Expansion of cotton production: cotton production expanded south west and it
required a large labour force; slaves were relocated to these areas (“Internal
Slave Trade”)
-Persistence and Expansion (Cuba and Brazil):
Expanded sugar production: after Haitian revolution because they no longer
had the competition
Illegal slave trade: Brazil, coffee production required large labour force, traded
more slaves; to trade with Britain, they would need to abolish slavery – trade
was now illegal
Why violate ban? Slave population did not grow by natural increase (more
men than women and slaves had short lives); slave owners worked them
harder until death
Surviving Slavery:
-To understand slavery we must look at the people who defined slavery and those
who were slaves
-How did slaves survive?
Direct forms of resistance (rebellions)
Indirect forms of adjustments (try to exercise as much freedom as possible)
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