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Lecture 21

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Michigan State University
HST 202

HST 202 Lecture Notes The Sectional Crisis The Sectional Crisis II 4/3/13 Sectionalism: When geographic regions have a common political identity Life in the South:  Idealized southern plantation… o Slaves working peacefully o Men in charge o Women as ladylike southern belles o Full household staff o Acted like a giant famil  Reality in the south… o 20 slaves were required to call a farm a plantation o Majority of slave owners did not own large numbers of slaves o Women had to walk a fine line  Considered property of men  Did all the domestic tasks when few slaves were in the cotton field since many couldn’t spare a slave for the house o Middle class white artisans and merchants were pushed out of work because slaves were cheaper o Lots of violence to keep the system intact and prevent revolts o Militias and slave patrol duty to exert power of white men  King Cotton: o Cotton production rapidly expanded across the Deep South o Supplied American and European factories with raw materials o Used gang system created by plantation owners to harvest  Gang 1: Strongest men and women who went first to set the pace  Gang 2: Slower hands, women, and adolescents who followed  Trash Gang: Children, pregnant women, and elderly who cleaned up  Life of slaves… o Difficult and painful to pick cotton o Beating and violence o Had no rights and were considered property o Women were raped and no one cared  Debates over slavery: o Western states:  California stablished a large enough population due to the gold rush and applied for statehood as a free state because most Californians were single men without families or slaves and feared slaves would take away their jobs  Wilmont Proviso:  David Wilmont proposed that slavery not be allowed in any territory acquired from Mexico  Vote split along regional lines rather than political lines which indicated sectionalism o Political views:  Free Soil Party:  Founded in the late 1840s  Platform to end the expansion of slavery (but not abolish it)  Much support from anti-slavery groups who viewed this as the first step to abolition  Wanted to preserve the free labor system so they could support themselves and their families  Popular Sovereignty:Introduced the idea that a territory’s application for statehood should let their people decide if they wanted to be a slave or free state instead of letting the government determine it  Compromise of 1850:  Imbalanced numbers… o 1845: 15 slave states and 13 free states caused tension
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