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Slavery In Southern America Essay

806 words - 4 pages

Slavery in the American South became stronger in the early to mid-nineteenth century. As the cotton crop grew, the population moved south and southwest, increasing the slave population. The laws in the south, such as slaves not being able to testify against a white person, increased the white man’s power over slaves. These laws affirmed the white slave owners’ attitude towards slavery and they fought to keep this way of life in the South. The slave trade also strengthened slavery in the South by smuggling in new slaves, demoralizing and dehumanizing the black population. Many white men profited greatly from the use of slavery and did not want to see it abolished.
In the south there were many crops, such as, tobacco, rice and sugar cane, but nothing like the short-staple cotton. Short-staple cotton would grow in differing climates and soils making it easy to grow. Fashions in New England and Europe increased the demand for cotton and made the crop very valuable. Since the cotton was so profitable to the small farmers and plantation owners alike, there was a surge in the population to the south and southwest in the early 1800’s of farmers trying to cash in on this crop. With this growth there was the need for more slaves to work the fields. Many small farmers had very few slaves if any, but the big plantations could have hundreds of slaves to work the fields and in the main house. Between 1820 and 1860 the slave population in Alabama went from 41,000 to 435,000, in Mississippi from 32,000 to 436,000. During this same time Virginia went from 425,000 to 490,000. These figures show just how much the slave population increased to the south and southwest at this time.
The laws in the South strengthened the white man’s power over slaves and reinforced to the black population that they had no rights. Slaves were not allowed to own property, carry firearms, or gather with each other. The law prohibited the slaves from being educated, therefore, there was very little chance for a slave to move up in life or hope for anything better. Laws also prohibited a slave from hitting or assaulting a white person. The penalty for such an act would be the death penalty. The reverse was true for a white person, a white person hitting or assaulting a black person went...

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