The building of the United States

1. How is it clear that women were oppressed? Zinn says, for example, that women were always oppressed. But then he says that the move to an economy where women were pressured to work brought about oppression. Does this mean that women were not truly oppressed prior to this change? 

2. Women during the early history of the nation shared very complex lives. Choose at least two areas of the daily life shared by a poor white female and a rich white female during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Compare and contrast the daily lives of these women using the two areas chosen. Use textual evidence in your analysis. 

3. What is the major theme in chapter 7?

4. Who was Andrew Jackson? How did he become an influential player on the American stage of politics? 

5. How is the Seminole’s experience with the United States different from that of the Cherokee? How was it the same? Write a brief comparison of the two tribe’s conflict with the United States. Use examples from the text to strengthen your claims. 

6. One of the main ideas from Chapter 8 is the lack of support and enthusiasm for the conquest of Mexico by the United States. List two pieces of textual evidence that support the main idea above.

7. Using the powerpoint. the business of Slavery, , explain how the economy of slavery contributed to the building of the nation.

The South and the Slavery Controversy”

~ 1793 – 1860 ~

“Cotton’s Is King!”

• Before the 1793 invention of Eli
Whitney’s cotton gin, slavery was
a dying business, since the South
was burdened with depressed
prices, unmarketable goods, and
over-cropped lands.

• After the gin was invented, growing
cotton became wildly profitable and
easier, and more slaves were

• The North also transported the
cotton to England and the rest of
Europe, so they were in part
responsible for the slave trade as

“Cotton’s Is King!”

• The South produced more
than half the world’s supply
of cotton, and held and
advantage over countries like
England, an industrial giant,
which needed cotton to make
cloth, etc…

• The South believed that
since England was so
dependent on them that, if
civil war was to ever break
out, England would support
the South that it so heavily
depended on.

The Planter “Aristocracy”

• In 1850, only 1733 families owned
more than 100 slaves each, and
they were the wealthy aristocracy
of the South, with big houses and
huge plantations.

• Although a smaller portion of
society, they dominated culture
and politics

• The Southern aristocrats widened
the gap between the rich and the
poor and hampered public-funded
education by sending their children
to private schools.

• Also, a favorite author among them
was Sir Walter Scott, author of
Ivan Hoe, who helped them
idealize a feudal society with them
as the kings and queens and the
slaves as their subjects.

The Planter

• The plantation system shaped the

lives of southern women.

• Mistresses of the house
commanded a sizable household
of mostly female slaves who
cooked, sewed, cared for the
children, and washed things.

• Mistresses could be kind or cruel,
but all of them did at one point or
another abuse their slaves to some
degree; there was no “perfect

Slaves of the Slave System

• Cotton production spoiled the
earth, and even though
profits were quick and high,
land was ruined, and cotton
producers were always in
need of new land.

• The economic structure of
the South became
increasingly monopolistic
because as land ran out,
smaller farmers sold their
land to the large estate

Slaves of the Slave System

• Also, the temptation to
overspeculate in land and in
slaves caused many
planters to plunge deep into

• Slaves were valuable, but
they were also a gamble,
since they might run away
or be killed by disease.

• The dominance of King
Cotton likewise led to a
one-crop economy whose
price level was at the mercy
of world conditions.

Slaves of the Slave System

• Southerners resented the

Northerners growing fat

(getting rich) at their expense

while they were dependent

on the North for clothing,

other food, and

manufactured goods.

• The South repelled

immigrants from Europe,

who went to the North,

making it richer.

The White Majority

• Beneath the aristocracy were
the whites that owned one or
two or a small family of
slaves; they worked hard
with their slaves and the only
difference between them and
their northern neighbors was
that there were slaves living
with them.

• The majority of the
southerners were
subsistence farmers (farmers
who work to barely cover
their needs)

The White Majority

• Beneath these people were the slave
less whites that raised corn and hogs,
sneered at the rich cotton “snobocracy”
and lived simply and poorly.

• The majority of the south did not own
slaves, not because they didn’t believe in
slavery, but because slaves were too

• Some of the poorest were known as
“poor white trash” and “hillbillies” and
were described as listless, shiftless, and

• It is now known that these people weren’t
lazy, just sick, suffering from malnutrition
and parasites like hookworm.

The White Majority

• Even the slaveless whites
defended the slavery system
because they all hoped to own a
slave or two some day, and they
could take perverse pleasure in
knowing that, no matter how bad
they were, they always “outranked”

• Mountain whites, those who lived
isolated in the wilderness under
Spartan frontier conditions, hated
white aristocrats and Blacks, and
they were key in crippling the
Southern secessionists during the
Civil War.

Free Blacks: Slaves Without

• By 1860, free Blacks in the South

numbered about 250,000.

• In the upper South, these Blacks
were descended from those freed
by the idealism of the
Revolutionary War (“all men were
created equal”).

• On a rare occasion a slave
purchased their freedom.

• In the deep South, they were
usually mulattoes (Black mother,
White father who was usually a
master) freed when their masters

• Many owned property; a few
owned slaves themselves.

Free Blacks: Slaves Without

• Northern Blacks were especially hated

by the Irish.

• Free Blacks were prohibited from
working in certain occupations and
forbidden from testifying against whites
in court; and as examples of what
slaves could be, Whites resented

• In the North, free Blacks were also
unpopular, as several states denied
their entrance, most denied them the
right to vote and most barred them
from public schools.

• Anti-black feeling was stronger in the
North, where people liked the race but
not the individual, than in the South,
were people liked the individual but not
the race.

Plantation Slavery

• Although slave importation was
banned in 1808, smuggling of them
continued due to their high
demand and despite death
sentences to smugglers

• However, the slave increase (4
million by 1860) was mostly due to
their natural reproduction.

• Slaves were an investment, and
thus were treated better and more
kindly and were spared the most
dangerous jobs, like putting a roof
on a house, draining a swamp, or
blasting caves.

• Usually, Irishmen were used to do
that sort of work.


• Slavery also created majorities or

near-ones in the Deep South, and
the states of South Carolina,
Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and
Louisiana accounted for half of all
slaves in the South.

• Breeding slaves was not
encouraged, but thousands of
slaves were “sold down the river”
to toil as field-gang workers, and
women who gave birth to many
children were prized.

• Some were promised freedom
after ten children born.

Plantation Slavery

• Slave auctions were

brutal, with slaves being

inspected like animals

and families often

mercilessly separated;

Harriet Beecher Stowe

seized the emotional

power of his scene in her

Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Life Under the Lash

• Slave life varied from place to
place, but for slaves everywhere,
life meant hard work, no civil or
political rights, and whipping if
orders weren’t followed.

• Laws that tried to protect slaves
were difficult to enforce.

• Lash beatings weren’t that
common, since a master could
lower the value of his slave if he
whipped him too much.

• Forced separation of spouses,
parents and children seem to have
been more common in the upper
South, among smaller plantations.

Life Under the Lash

• Still, most slaves were raised in stable
two-parent households and continuity
of family identity across generations
was evidenced in the widespread
practice of naming children for
grandparents or adopting the surname
of a forebear’s master.

• In contrast to the White planters,
Africans avoided marriage of first

• Africans also mixed Christian religion
with their own native religion, and
often, they sang Christian hymns as
signals and codes for news of possible
freedom; many of them sang songs
that emphasize bondage (“Let my
people go.”)

The Burdens of

• Slaves had no dignity, were

illiterate, and had no chance of
achieving the “American dream.”

• They also devised countless ways
to make trouble without getting
punished too badly.

• They worked as slowly as they
could without getting lashed.

• They stole food and sabotaged
expensive equipment.

• Occasionally, they poisoned their
masters’ food.

The Burdens of Bondage

• Rebellions, such as the 1800
insurrection by a slave named
Gabriel in Richmond, Virginia, and
the 1822 Charleston rebellion led
by Denmark Vesey, and the 1831
revolt semiliterate preacher Nat
Turner, were never successful.

• Whites became paranoid of Black
revolts, and they had to degrade
themselves, along with their
victims, as noted by distinguished
Black leader Booker T.

Early Abolitionism

• In 1817, the American
Colonization Society was
founded for the purpose of
transporting Blacks back to Africa,
and in 1822, the Republic of
Liberia was founded for Blacks to

• Most Blacks had no wish to be
transplanted into a strange
civilization after having been
partially Americanized.

• By 1860, virtually all slaves were
not Africans, but native-born

Early Abolitionism

• In the 1830s, abolitionism
really took off, with the
Second Great Awakening
and other things providing

• Theodore Dwight Weld was
among those who were
inflamed against slavery.

• Inspired by Charles
Grandison Finney, Weld
preached against slavery
and even wrote a pamphlet,
American Slavery As It Is.

Radical Abolitionism

• On January 1st, 1831, William
Lloyd Garrison published the first
edition of The Liberator triggering a
30-year war of words and in a
sense firing one of the first shots of
the Civil War.

• Other dedicated abolitionists rallied
around Garrison, such as Wendell
Phillips, a Boston patrician known
as “abolition’s golden trumpet” who
refused to eat cane sugar or wear
cotton cloth, since both were made
by slaves.

Radical Abolitionism

• David Walker, a Black abolitionist,
wrote Appeal to the Colored
Citizens of the World in 1829 and
advocated a bloody end to white

• Sojourner Truth, a freed Black
woman who fought for black
emancipation and women’s rights,
and Martin Delaney, one of the
few people who seriously
reconsidered Black relocation to
Africa, also fought for Black rights.

Radical Abolitionism

• The greatest Black abolitionist was an
escaped black, Frederick Douglass,
who was a great speaker and fought
for the Black cause despite being
beaten and harassed.

• His autobiography, Narrative of the Life
of Frederick Douglass, depicted his
remarkable struggle and his origins, as
well as (duh) his life.

• While Garrison seemed more
concerned with his own righteousness,
Douglass increasingly looked to
politics to solve the slavery problem.

• He and others backed the Liberty Party
in 1840, the Free Soil Party in 1848,
and the Republican Party in the 1850s.

• In the end, many abolitionists
supported war as the price for

The South Lashes Back

• In the South, abolitionist efforts
increasingly came under attack
and fire.

• Southerners began to organize a
campaign talking about slavery’s
positive good, conveniently
forgetting about how their previous
doubts about “peculiar
institution’s” morality.

• Southern slave supporters pointed
out how masters taught their
slaves religion, made them
civilized, treated them well, and
gave them “happy” lives.

The South Lashes Back

• They also noted the lot of northern
free Blacks, now were persecuted
and harassed, as opposed to
southern Black slaves, who were
treated well, given meals, and
cared for in old age.

• In 1836, Southern House members
passed a “gag resolution” requiring
all antislavery appeals to be tabled
without debate, arousing the ire of
northerners like John Quincy

• Southerners also resented the
flood of propaganda in the form of
pamphlets, drawings, etc…

The Abolitionist Impact in the North

• For a long time, abolitionists like the
extreme Garrisonians were unpopular,
since many had been raised to believe
the values of slavery compromises in
the Constitution.

• Also, his secessionist talks contrasted
against Webster’s cries for union.

• The South owed the North $300 million
by the late 1850s, and northern
factories depended on southern cotton
to make goods.

• Many abolitionists’ speeches provoked
violence and mob outbursts in the
North, such as the 1834 trashing of
Lewis Tappan’s New York House.

The Abolitionist Impact in the North

• In 1835, Garrison miraculously
escaped a mob that dragged him
around the streets of Boston.

• Reverend Elijah P. Lovejoy of
Alton, Illinois, who impugned the
chastity of Catholic women, had
his printing press destroyed four
times and was killed by a mob in
1837; he became an abolitionist

• Yet by the 1850s, abolitionist
outcries had made an impact on
northern minds and were
beginning to sway more and more
toward their side.