• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why had Slavery become so Important to the Southern way of life, by 1860?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why had Slavery become so Important to the Southern way of life, by 1860? America almost from the beginning was heavily dependent on forced labour. In 1619, John Rolfe in Virgina reported 'about the last day of August came in a butch man-of-war that sold us 20 negers'. This is the first record of Africans 'settling' in America. The Southern colonies were more dependent on labour then the North, as the climate in the South was ideal for plantation agricultural. In the 17th century the basis of the work force, in mainly the Southern colonies were Europeans labourers, who as indentured servants, offered landowners a solution to their labour shortage. Beginning in the 1680s, the mainland colonies underwent a massive shift, from indentured servants to slave labour, due to requirement of labour in the South. From the early 17th century Africans were shipped to North America to be sold as slaves, against their freewill. Slavery continued to expand even after 1808, when it was declared illegal. African slave trading became the main problem dividing Americans, and could even of been a factor of many, which led to the American Civil War. Why did the South not abolish slavery altogether? It wasn't as simple as that; slavery was crucial for economical, political, social and even religious reasons; of which the greatest was economical. ...read more.

Middle

Slaves emerged to fill gaps of population as the small existing Southern population was widely distributed. While slaves satisfied labour needs, Southerners had the chance to rise up the social ladder, to expand their plantations westwards and become economically stronger. The Southerners viewed slavery as traditional, and saw it as their way of life. America had always been dependent on coerced labour, and by the early 18th century slavery, was the dominant labour system of the Southern colonies. Most of the Founding Fathers were large-scale slave owners, including George Washington 'Father of his country', and Thomas Jefferson, who proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal'. Also eight of the United States' first twelve presidents, in office for 49 of the new nation's first 61 years, were slaveholders. This just shows how most Southerners were likely to of had an experience of slave labour, and the benefactors of it. Slavery in the U.S.A was portrayed as the most beneficial form of slavery that had ever existed. Abolitionists, (people who wanted to rid the U.S.A of slavery), were depicted as irresponsible revolutionaries, trying to destroy the American Republic, and were driven to the North. A small reason why slavery was seen as acceptable in the Southern colonies was the political situation it created for the South. Most Southerners were totally committed to their peculiar institution, as they called slave labour. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most Southerners feared that an end to slavery would result in economic collapse, social disintegration and race war. Southerners feared this so much that they were prepared to wage a terrible 4-year war in an effort to maintain slavery. Even though after the war, and the end of slavery, the South didn't collapse. So overall I have concluded that the main reason slavery had become so important to the Southern way of life was that the Southerners didn't know any other way of life. They had had slavery since the beginning and therefore thought it was the correct way of life. The Southerners saw no reason to change their way of life, and also I think they believed that their society would collapse without slave labour- this obviously wasn't the case. Also the Southerners benefited from the slave population, which allowed more politicians into the Lower House of Representatives. The colonists of the South saw Africans as 'savage' and 'uncivilised', they thought that the Africans were better off enslaved in American, than a freeman in their country of origin. So basically American Southerners thought they were helping Africans, as well as helping themselves. I believe that there was really no need for slavery to exist at all. I'm sure that the early settlers would have been able to survive without slavery or forced labour. I think slavery was an excuse to show racial dominance, and power. What if slavery hadn't existed would America still be the same as it is today? Laura Curnock 03/05/2007 I ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level History of the USA, 1840-1968 essays

  1. Was there any truth in the Southern claim that slavery was both a benign ...

    It was just at this time, however, that cotton production - requiring a large amount of unskilled labour - in the lower South began to rise, greatly increasing the demand for slaves. As demand for cotton grew, the plantations moved westwards, the migrating planters often buying excess slaves from the upper South.

  2. Revision notes - the USA 1945 to 1980

    The Vietnam War and the Bombing of civilians lead to many student protests. 3 million Americans, mainly young men, some college students, served in the war. Many started using drugs to help them cope with their experiences. The protesters turned on Johnson with the chant Hey Hey LBJ!

  1. How did Hitler become chancellor in 1933?

    The Wall Street Crash of 1929 was disastrous for Germany, since it made around six million people to become unemployed. It mainly affected the middle class people, and was the second most major economic catastrophe for the Weimar Republic. It was the beginning of a worldwide slide into the Great Depression.

  2. It is hard to pinpoint the exact beginnings of slavery in the United States. ...

    This was due to the fact that most slaves were American-born. The importation of slaves was still illegal, but those born into slavery had little choice about the life they led. Slavery, euphemistically known as the 'Peculiar Institution', was a system based on paradoxes.

  1. Evaluate the view that overproduction of goods was the most important reason for the ...

    possible that less people would have been working on farm and less surplus food wood have been produced, which would not have caused as much economic problems. Although overproduction of food as well as other goods contributed to the collapse of the economy in 1929, it was not the most

  2. To what extent was the passing of the "Emancipation Proclamation" (1862/3) determined by Lincoln's ...

    Conversely, the Southern economy was sluggish in its attempts to update its primitive economy, and because of this remained reliant on the slave trade. Thus, in depriving the South of a big proportion of its workforce, Lincoln was able to significantly reduce their production capabilities.

  1. How did the southern states deny equality to African Americans even after Emancipation

    the form of lynching, which were often photographed, made into postcards and sold. The crimes these lynch victims had supposedly committed were often fabricated and include most commonly stories of rape (against white women), this highlights the use of lynching, not to serve as a form of punishment, but to act as random acts of intimidation and terror against African-Americans.

  2. What was the short term significance of the maintenance of slavery in the southern ...

    A ?free stater?, Charles Doe was shot by a pro slavery settler. In August thousands of pro slavery southerners formed into armies and marched into Kansas. There were many battles and violent events until 1959 by the time 56 lives had been claimed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work