Slaves In The South Essay

1963 words - 8 pages

Slaves in the South

“Only a minority of the whites owned slaves,” “at all times nearly three-fourths of the white families in the South as a whole held no slaves;” “slave ownership in the South was not widespread;” “not more than a quarter of the white heads of families were slave owners, and even in the cotton states the proportion was less than one-third;” “in 1850, only one in three owned any Negroes; on the eve of the Civil War, the ration was one in four;” and slave owners “probably made up less than a third of southern whites.” From the US History textbooks in an elementary school to the Civil War journals of a major university, these lines are reprinted and repeated in an attempt to shape the perception of the public and to ease the insecurities of a nation embarrassed by slavery, an institution that supposedly marred its glorious history, or so says Otto H. Olsen.

In an article that appears in the journal of Civil War History of 1972 entitled, “Historians and the Extent of Slave Ownership in the Southern United States” Olsen attempts to challenge the widely accepted notion that slave ownership was confined to only a few southern white plantation owners and that most of the white population was unaffected by it. The author spends nearly half of his thirty-seven paragraph article displaying the past and present attitudes of the general population through several case studies which he lists chronologically and explains in brief detail. He tries to discredit a handful of them while, at the same time, injecting his own views. In an attempt to persuade the reader he sets up his side of the debate by citing a few case studies that promote his hypothesis and concludes by relating some of his own opinions and findings including a study where he makes a seemingly strong comparison between those of the population who invested in the slave labor market in 1850 and those who invested in the stock market in 1949. In the first half of the article Olsen sets up the arguments he is going to challenge by showing what historians from the antebellum US through the present, believed the distribution of slaves in the South to be, and also by showing the supposed economic and political effects of this distribution. He focuses heavily on the numbers and percentages of white slave owners and the sometimes relaxed, even incorrect manner in which they were accepted. He cites a study done by Allan Nevins in which Nevins says that, “of the 6,184,477 white folk in the slave States, only 347,525 were listed by the census of 1850 as owners.” Nevins then adds family members of slave owning families and other workers involved and states that the final number of whites directly involved with slavery probably “did not exceed 2,000,000. If so, not one-third of the population of the South and border States had any direct interest in slavery as a form of property.”
Olsen uses two more studies to show that these numbers, or very slight variations, are widely accepted...

Find Another Essay On Slaves in the South

Secession in the South Essay

562 words - 2 pages the safety of the people, sometimes when the government has that kind of power to make people follow certain things they should not have to follow, many issues arise. In the late 1800’s, many issues emerged between the South and the Union on whether the Southern states had the right to secede from the United States. The Southern states did have the right to secede because of political, economical, and social reasons. These reasons include numerous

Why slaves did not successfully revolt in the Cape

949 words - 4 pages Slaves in the Cape were generally a diverse group, and, due to the nature of the farms where they lived, were dispersed over a large area. The divisions among the slave community, such as origin, language and internal hierarchies and fear of punishment meant that slaves did not successfully revolt against their owners.Many historians have reported that Cape slaves were badly treated. Brutal descriptions of the way in which slaves were punished

Slavery in the American South

1810 words - 7 pages Slavery in the South Slavery was a big part of life in the South. Many plantation owners relied on slaves and their work to help get the money and crops they needed. There were two types of slaves in the South at this time. There were house slaves and there were field slaves. House slaves consisted of servants, maids, and butlers. They were normally treated better than the field slaves (Biel 14). They got to be inside most of the time

Antebellum Period in the South

743 words - 3 pages In the South during the antebellum period, slave holders in the south defended the institution of slavery using social/political, religious/ideological, economic, and even scientific evidence to defend slavery, nearer to the end of slavery they were more fervent in their defense of slavery because as they years went on the abolitionists of the north were more fervent in abolishing slavery. Earlier, closer to that start of the antebellum period

The Apartheid in South Africa

1347 words - 5 pages chance to get more land for the British Empire and also maybe some slaves. The British saw it as important because it was between them and India on the trade route meaning that they should get it because it would make a good stop off point on the way to India. This could have led to Apartheid by the Boers feeling threatened by any one else who was in South Africa. When the Boers got to South Africa they thought that the land was empty because

The Gospel In South Africa

1443 words - 6 pages settelers brought bitter disillusionment, that stood in stark contrast to their high hopes of coming to South Africa. The land given them by the British government of the Cape was unsuitable for agriculture, and their living conditions were appalling. The unnamed man who escorted the groups to their territory would always end his tour of their land by saying, “Gentlemen, when you go out to plough never leave your guns behind.” with that he would get on

Satanic Panic in the South

3407 words - 14 pages Satanic Panic in the South On the evening of May 5, 1993, three boys from West Memphis, Arkansas, were last seen riding their bikes together. In the early evening, Chris Byers' stepfather, John Mark Byers, reported that his stepson had not come home and he was becoming worried. The police were also notified of two other boys who had been with Chris and were considered missing, Michael Moore, and Stevie Branch. The police and the

Persecution of the Quakers in England Led to Their Sympathy Towards the Slaves in America

2079 words - 9 pages , the abolitionists worked to free slaves from their bondage in the south. Henderson Lewelling, a nurseryman in Salem, was on the chair for the Anti-Slavery Society in Salem. Lewelling’s house, located at the south end of Salem, was noted for its connection to the case of a slaveholder Ruel Daggs and that went to the federal courts under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. The court case was the last held under the act. Ruel Daggs was a slaveholder

The Freedom Riders: Sacrifices in the South

1286 words - 5 pages attending court and the judge, Howard B. Arbuckle, found Perkins innocent due to Boynton v Virginia (WGBH). This court ruling prohibited racial segregation in public facilities that served interstate travelers (Garry). Perkins then continued his quest with the Freedom Riders throughout the South (WGBH). On May 14, 1961, also Mother’s Day that year, the Freedom Ride bus entered Anniston, Alabama and was greeted with a whole new level of brutality

Slavery in the Upper And Lower South

1270 words - 5 pages , where the linkage between cotton and slavery as strong, and the Upper South, where slavery was relatively less important and the economy more diversified. Plantations were the leading economic institution in the Lower South. Planters were the most prestigious social group, and, though less than five percent of white families were in the planter class; they controlled more than forty percent of the slaves, cotton, and total agricultural wealth. Most

The Legacy of Apartheid in South Africa

1620 words - 6 pages in the history of Africa. Perhaps, one of the most blatant forms of racism occurred in South Africa, during the period of Apartheid. From 1948 to 1994 non-white Africans were subjected to horrific treatment, enforced by the South African National Party. The repulsive forms of racial segregation in South Africa, resulting from race and color, not only oppressed the colored majority group, but also denied them of any rights or human dignity

Similar Essays

Slaves In The Ottoman Empire. Essay

893 words - 4 pages Slaves in the Ottoman EmpireThe Ottoman Empire existed from year 1453 to 1918 and was one of the largest and most well organized empires in world history. The Ottomans were very successful and conquered enormous territories with their large and professional standing armies. The Ottoman Empire was a slave society and slavery was very popular among the Ottomans. As much as one-fifth of the population in Istanbul were slaves, but there were not as

The Agony Of The Slaves In The Classic Slaves Narrative

673 words - 3 pages the slave. The female slave due to the constant harassment provoked by their masters, while working and entire day full of errands, had generally a harder life than male slaves did. Gender wasn’t the only significant factor, location was an important detail to take in consideration, different places, different conditions on which slaves were forced to fulfill an entire day full of work. In this case the Caribbean probably had the worst conditions

Slavery In The South Essay

1191 words - 5 pages Slavery in the South Slavery of the Black man in America was the cruelest ever known to man. Europeans transported slaves from Africa as early as 1505. The African Slaves were first exploited on an island named Hispaniola, in the Caribbean by the Europeans to do labor work, before they were sent to the Americas. The women usually worked the interior cooking and cleaning while the men were sent out into the plantation fields to farm. These

Reconstruction In The South Essay

1651 words - 7 pages Reconstruction in the South While reading Eric Foner's book I came to appreciate the difficulties the freed black slaves encountered for example, how the previous slave owning class continued to manipulate the freed slaves. Also, I was impressed at the great sacrifice they made when attempting to become educated. Last of all I was surprised at the severity of persecution and abuse of blacks that was still considered legal after they