Menu Close

Slavery in Southern States of America during 19th Century

Slavery in Southern States of  America during 19th Century

 

Introduction:                                                                  

17th and 18th century are marked for one of the darkest ages of all time that is stamped as the age of slavery in American colonies that exploited the lines of hundreds of African people. In that time people from Africa were kidnapped and taken to the shore of America and after taking them down they were stripped out of their positions and transmitted as slaves. They were mostly treated as labour for tobacco or cotton mills in the southern part of America. By the middle of the 19th century[1](Savage), with the uprising of industrial revolution, the abolition movement slavery was provoked and it to the nation in a civil war separating the northern and Southern States[2](Singleton). The victory of the union free the slaves from the mill owners; this movement the reconstruction era of civil right movement had established in America. Therefore, through this movement African got their civil rights and citizenship within the constitution of America. In this essay I will discuss how the enslavement act had been spread within the society of the United Sates and how the whites have brutally tortured them, I will further discuss how black people had fright for their freedom through creating tehri rebellion and got tehri legal recognition.

When colonies were established in America and there were thousands of Africans who were brought to the main land in order to provide aid for the colonies. It first started with 20 African slaves brought by privateer in the British colony of Virginia and after that Africans were brought from Portuguese France and other European countries as they used to be cheaper in rate[3] (Martin). Although it is hard to find the accurate number of slaves that were brought to America, it could be 6 to 7 million during the 18th century alone, which deprived the rich country of Africa of its healthiest men and women from the 17th to 18th centuries[4] (Post). The enslaved Africans used to work in tobacco, Indigo and rice, cotton plantations of Maryland and Georgia[5] (Schermerhorn). It was after the Civil war of 1765 here the Northern American states has started to oppressed the African enslaves. As America won the revolutionary war, the newly formed US constitution acknowledge the slavery with tactics causing the owner of the slaves to pay a certain amount of taxation in order to repress the act of enslavement[6] (Clegg). This revolutionary war had contradictory effect on the enslavement act. The Northern States of America had not abolished the slavery schemes but had reduced the oppression while, in the Southern states of America, the revolution had helped in abolishing the slavery act eminently and through the abolition of this, Southern America had able to strengthen their institution ultimately.

During the eighteenth century the southern part of America had faced huge loss due to economic crisis and the exhaustion of land due to constant growth of tobacco. By this time the textile industry took a huge demand and the cultivation of cotton rose at a higher degree. In 1793 Eli Whitney a Scotland dweller invented a device called ‘cotton gin’ which is a simple mechanical device that can remove the seeds efficiently[7] (Cohen). The device was largely copied all over America and it increased the production of tobacco and cotton which reinforced dependence of slavery in the mills. The government tried to impress the African slave trade in 1808 but the domestic trade continued and nearly tripled by next 50 years[8] (Baptist). This act had imposed heavy penalties on the international traders, but it did not help to abolishing the slavery fully or the domestic sale of blacks for enslavement. Rather, more slaves were illegally brought to the United States.

The enslavement where restricted by some law codes and used to run in a systematic manner. The slaves were prohibited from reading or writing but they were capable to make family and also marriage were allowed. Many masters had taken sexual advantage of enslaved women and they were rewarded for remaining as an obedient subject[9](Tomic). The slaves were divided in an organised manner so that they cannot perform any kind of rebellion. In spite of that many rebellions occurred between 1880 and 1822 but on the few were successful[10] (Hunter). This successful rebellion not only had successfully able to give freedom and some power to their black slaves but also had helped the blacks to again legally recognition within the American society.

In the Northern States of America, the abolition movement had taken a toll and fan the flames by the westward trend of the new world with its newly formed views, about enslavement. The abolition movement that succeeded between 1830s to 1860s was led by Frederick Douglass but it was equally supported by the white supporters. There are many literary contents that has written in support of the population movement which actually helped in spreading the message of the agony and suffering that the slaves had to suffer in the cotton and tobacco mills[11](Domar). Before this, the lives of the slaves were hidden from the common knowledge of American people. But after the mention of the situation of the slaves in newspapers like The Liberator or novels like “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe establish the real picture of enslavement in the southern States of America[12] (Knowles). The literary narrative and reports in the newspapers helped to open the eyes of American citizen. That is how the abolition movement got its major support from Northern States of America. Many people started joining the activism in the belief that slavery is a sin whereas non-believers were more inclined to free-labour argument. The slaves who could escape the mills were provided help by many Northern supporters. This incident is known as underground railroad and it got huge response in 1830s. From 40000 to 100,000 people could reach freedom from enslavement due to the underground railroad that helped in securing their fate[13](Miles). They had got civil rights and the permanent citizenships of the America, after the abolition of the enslavement.

When Abraham Lincoln who was elected as the President of America, the south of America reached its breaking point and slavery was abolished entirely. Although the main idea behind this was to preserve the United States as a whole nation but the anti-slavery sentiments and military necessity became powerful sources for the abolishment. On January 1st 1863 slavery was officially abolished from the United States of America by the freedom of over 3 million people[14] (Grammenos). Although the situation of the black people after the war in the south remained unchanged and they had to face several distinctive behaviours from the local people. The enslaved men and women received the citizenship of America under the equal protection act of the constitution in 14th and 15th amendment, but often the rights were violated due to the loopholes of the amendments. Several white supremacist organisations where held and that had created tension in the participation of black people in American political life. Later in 1960, resistant movements brought out in order to resist the racism and discrimination towards black people during the post slavery era which is called Civil Rights Movement[15] (Brooker). It brought the black Americans the greatest achievement towards political and social life since the reconstruction.

Conclusion:

Slavery in America is one of the most hideous pasts that will always stain the history of America. The agony and suffering of millions of African slaves and the history of the life is quite painful. Without the support of newspaper reports and literary narratives it would have been impossible to understand the real nature of slavery and how it took place within 18th to 19th centuries in America. As a consequence of this slavery system in America, the black people had got civil rights and in today they are being called as African American within the society. Although because of the enslavement act black people had got brutally tortured, they had taken their revenges through their rebellion which had given them their freedom from this slavery act. The gruesome past of enslavement took its way towards racial discrimination even after the abolishment of slavery but later many of these had seen several political and social changes. Slavery in Southern parts of America is quite an important history that should be remembered by all.

Share this Post