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Chapter Week 6

American Studies 2200E Chapter Week 6: American Studies Week 6 Readings

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American Studies
American Studies 2200E
Anna Zuschlag

American Studies Week 6 Readings Walter Johnson, excerpts from Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market Introduction: A Person with a Price - North American’s Largest Slave Market: Louisiana - People traveled south to Louisinana in search of slavery - Slavery reduced to the simplicity of a pure form: A person with a price - Slave pens for holding slave to be sold - Show rooms for slaves to be questioned and examined - Slavery supported by mercantilism - Slave Trade charted along the demand for colonial staples: Tobacco, indigo, rice, cotton, coffee, sugar - Slave importation banned in the US in 1808 - Closing the trade did not mean North American slavery would wither away - Meant that expansion of slavery would take the shape of a forcible relocation of American-born slaves - “The Domestic Slave Trade” - Slave trade began to follow the international demand curve for cotton (Nineteenth century) - Cotton Gin, Louisiana Purchase and the Trail of Tears opened new regions of the South to cultivation and slavery - The price of slaves tracked the price of cotton - Between 1820 and 1860 slave trade accounted for a significant portion of the South’s economy - Thousands of slaves from all over the South passed through the New Orleans slaves pens every year in the antebellum period The Chattel Principle - Slaves lived as parents and children, cotton pickers, card players, preachers, adversaries, friends, lovers - Chattel Principle: Any slave’s identity might be disrupted as easily as a price could be set and a piece of paper passed from one hand to another - Two lens: Chattel (Property) and as People - Nearly every trade involved the dissolution of a previously existing community - Many slaves used every resource they have to avoid being sold - Families and friends helped some slaves escape the trade - Slaves refused to go quietly, whether sold for speculation, debt or punishment Living Property - Taught to see themselves as commodities - Process of child to slave was often brutal - Beaten for everything (Bodies of slave children forcibly shaped to their slavery) - Children were, child and slave, person and property - Slaveholders threatened selling slaves as punishment - Louisiana considered a place of slaughter to the slaves Slaveholder’s Stories - The slave market was a quarantined space, legally bounded by high walls - Banned from many neighborhoods throughout the antebellum period - Slave traders marginalized through rhetoric more than regulation - “Southern Shylock”, “Southern Yankee”, “Negro Jockey” - Scapegoating the traders was a good way to defend the rest of slavery - Entire economy of the antebellum South was constructed on the idea that the bodies of enslaved people had a measurable monetary value - Slaves used to pay debts - Used as collateral First Sale - Many slaveholders forced to consider their slaves a party to their own sale - Sale had a fearful character and slaves did whatever they could to avoid it - Sales had to be negotiated twice, once with the buyer and once with the merchandise - Some slaves ran away when they found out they were going to be sold - Had nothing to lose for running away because they knew they’d face death in the south - Mostly men who ran away Final Terms - Slaveholders knew that their slaves went to sale unwillingly - Resistance to slave sale reveled slaveholder’s distance between their cover stories and the brutal underpinnings of their business - Slaveholders attempt to justify the selling of their slaves - Other the slave trader, other the auction - FORCED THE SLAVEHOLDER TO ACKNOWLEGE THE BRUTALITY OF SLAVERY Many Thousands Gone - History of the slave trade is the story of those left behind and the story of those carried away - Story of separated lovers, broken families, widows, widowers, orphans George Fitzhugh, “Sociology for the South” (1854) Free Trade - Adam Smith: Individual well-being and social and national wealth and prosperity will be best promoted by each man’s eagerly pursing his own selfish welfare unfettered and unrestricted by legal regulations or government prohibitions - England growing richer, more powerful and intellectual by trade - The countries which England traded with becoming poorer, weaker and more ignorant - The rich get richer and the poor get poorer - Trade is a war of wits - The poor produced everything and enjoy nothing - Good men and bad men have the same end in view: Self-promotion and self-elevation - Slavery is a form of socialism: Relieves slaves of finding a home, procuring employment, attending to all domestic wants and concerns - Hobbes: A state of nature is a state of war - Actually true of a civilized state of universal liberty and free competition - The wants of man and his history alike prove that slavery has always been a part of his social organization The Two Philosophies - Philosophy of free trade and universal liberty, adapted to promote the interests of the strong, the wealthy and the wise - Philosophy of socialism, intended to protect the weak, the poor, and the ignorant - People in a free society feel the evils of universal liberty and free competition and desire to get rid of the evils - Propose slavery as a remedy - Not having lived in slavery, they do not know what it is - Slavery the beautiful and natural being which free society is trying to adopt Negro Slavery - The negro is a grown up child, must be governed as a child - The master occupies the place of parents or guardian - The negro is improvident - The negro would become a burden to society (Must subject him to slavery to prevent this) - The negro race is inferior to the white race (Would be outwitted in the chase of free competition) - Gradual, but certain extermination would be their fate - Argues soldiers in Europe enlist for life and live worse lives than slaves - Masters have more cares and less liberties than the slaves themselves - Never need white slaves in the south, because we have black ones - Whites are a privileged class Eugene Genovese, “Paternalism and Class Relations in the Old South” - Paternalism is the moral justification for slavery - Slavery rested on the principle of property in man - A system of class rule in which some people lived off the labor others - American slavery subordinated one race to another and thereby rendered its fundamental class relationships more complex and ambiguous - The racism that developed from racial subordination influenced every aspect of American life and remains powerful - Racial subordination, need not rest on slavery - Old South = Paternalist Society - Grew out of the n
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