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Compilation of notes taken from websites about slavery and it’s effects on life.

Political Effects

The Effect of Slavery on the American People

Theodore Parker (1810-1860) was as central and powerful an abolitionist voice as

existed in the antebellum United States, co-equal in public reputation to figures
such as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Wendell Phillips. He
studied briefly at Harvard, but was largely self-educated due to inability to pay
tuition. He founded a school in Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1832. Two years
later Harvard's divinity school admitted him to studies, which he completed in
1836. He was ordained a minister at a Unitarian church in West Roxbury,
Massachusetts. While he had early orthodox Calvinist leanings, Parker joined
Transcendentalist circles during the late 1830s and formed a friendship with
Ralph Waldo Emerson. His controversial theological position, including the
denial of authority to Jesus, the Bible, or biblical miracles, led to his alienation
within the Unitarian movement. In 1845 his supporters organized the 28th
Congregational Society of Boston, which moved it expanding membership into
the Boston Music Hall to accomodate the crowds Parker drew. This 'Parkerite'
church drew many antislavery and reform figures.

Parker opposed the Mexican War, supported women's suffrage, and promoted
reform in education and prisons. He was most closely identified with the
antislavery cause and opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act. Parker headed the
Boston vigilance committee to aid fugitive slaves, personally cared for fugitives in
his home, and was indicted in 1854 for inciting a mob to break into the Boston city
jail to rescue imprisoned fugitive slave Anthony Burns. In 1859 Parker became
involved in aiding John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, and publicly defended the
right of slaves to rebel. For biographies, see Henry Steele Commager, Theodore
Parker (Boston: Beacon Press, 1947); Robert C. Albrecht, Theodore Parker (New
York: Twayne, 1971); Robert E. Collins, Theodore Parker: American
Transcendentalist (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973); David Chesborough,
Theodore Parker: Orator of Superior Ideas (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,
1999); and Dean Grodzins, American Heretic: Theodore Parker and
Transcendentalism (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).

Theodore Parker wrote voluminously and this July 4th sermon numbers among
his numerous published sermons. In it he presents a characteristic argument
that industrial democracy demands "toil and thought", and the use of slave labor
prevents social progress. He traces the effects of slavery on both slaves and free
people of color, and provides evidence of its adverse economic, cultural,
religious and political effects. Parker concludes that slavery will be swept away
because it "stands in the way of that Automatic Instinct of Progress which is
eternal in the human race and irresistible in human history." (p. 14)

“It is evident as the sky is blue that Slavery had some of the greatest
impacts on the social life of the nation”.
As the century leading to the Civil War unfolded, America strived in many
categories, and yet crippled by their differences. It was in 1831 that many
Americans came to acknowledge the impact of Slavery on the country, thus many
were willing to resolve the matter and put the popular, but nonetheless horrid,
practice aside. Slavery alone had a great economic, political, and social impact
on the American continent, which only foreshadowed what to emerge the latter
half of the century. The South strived under Slavery, economically, in that the
richest named counties of that time were all of the South. In addition, Cotton, a
prominent crop grown in the South, realized a lot of profit for the Country in
general. In sight to protect their way of life, the South ultimately held different
political views than the North. Socially, the south was only a sense of direction
rather than a place, but in response to Slavery, that distinction was made to
describe the southern states, which had different political, economical and social,
as well as moral views and ways of life.

Economy in the South was rather different than it was in the North, due to
Slavery. There were great advantages to owning slaves in the South, however, up
to half of all plantation owners did not have to use for them or could not afford
them. Cotton was the staple King crop of the South, and with slaves working as
field hands, the profits just came in like rivers emptying out into the ocean. In
addition, of course they found versatile use of slaves in the sense that they were
not only used for Cotton, but while Cotton was not harvested or did not need to
be tended to, they grew corn to supplement their wealth. While the North on the
other hand saw the need for slave something rather historic. The industry sector
strived in the North. In fact, about 9/10 of the nation’s industrial capacity was in
the North. And with the profits that the south made from cotton, they could easily
afford the products of the northern industries.
Read more in History
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Politically speaking, the North and the South stood divided. The South feared
protective tariffs, and started the doctrine of nullification, which gave individual
states rights over the national government. Rather, Slavery had a more important
role in that play. The Southerners enforced strict codes on the Slaves, and they
like little or no government interference in their works. Slave rights diminished in
the South while the North worked towards abolition movements. In fact, after the
Nat Turner uprising, many boarder states sought for a resolution, and the only
that was apparent to them was abolition. Even though the idea was disputed
over, in the end, the South won the effort into maintaining the status quo.

It is evident as the sky is blue that Slavery, unlike many other things, had some of
the greatest impacts on the social life of the nation. Education was on the decline
in the South, while the North established government-funded public schools, and
many public libraries. In the South, however, slaves were not encouraged to be
preached to because many thought that they might find scriptures from the bible
to use against the idea of Slavery. Thus, education was not offered, nor was it
allowed to the slaves of the South. The wealthier lads who could afford higher
educations were usually sent outside of the South, to some fancy institution. They
did not like change, unlike the North, which was rather always prepared and
ready for innovations. The Northerners were much more sympathetic towards the
slaves, but in the South, slaves were either working hard or they were hung on a
tree. Ultimately, there became such distinctions of North and South because
slavery existed, and either parties held opposing views on the matter. Before this
time period, “south” simply designated a direction.
While slavery did more than is mentioned, it was generally a driving force in early
American life. It affected the nation as a whole socially, economically and
politically in very distinct, but related aspects. Almost everything that happened,
there always remained the distinction of North and South, and we can all owe it to
Social Effects:
Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Healing: This too shall Pass

As a direct result of the American Civil War, the United States witnessed the 13th,
14th and 15th U.S. Constitutional Amendments.

When the American Civil War ended, leaders turned to the question of how to
reconstruct the nation. One important issue was the right to vote. Hotly debated
were voting rights for black American men and former Confederate men.

In the latter half of the 1860s, Congress passed a series of acts designed to
address the question of rights, as well as how the Southern states would be
governed. These acts included the act creating the Freedmen's Bureau, the Civil
Rights Act of 1866, and several Reconstruction Acts. The Reconstruction Acts
established military rule over Southern states until new governments could be
formed. They also limited some former Confederate officials' and military officers'
rights to vote and to run for public office. (However, the latter provisions were only
temporary and soon rescinded for almost all of those affected by them.)
Meanwhile, the Reconstruction acts gave former male slaves the right to vote and
hold public office.

Congress also passed two amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourteenth
Amendment made African-Americans citizens and protected citizens from
discriminatory state laws. Southern states were required to ratify the Fourteenth
Amendment before being readmitted to the union. The Fifteenth Amendment
guaranteed African American men the right to vote.

How did slavery impact the social structure of the South?

Slavery enabled the large plantation owners to grow extremely wealthy, therefore
creating the sort-of aristocratic upper-class of the south. Those with less slaves
therefore made less money, and had less status. Those who lacked slaves
completely, such as the yeoman farmers, made up the lowest classes of free
whites, because of whites they were the most power. Finally below them were
freed blacks, who, because of the racism instilled by the institution of slavery,
were cast out of society even if they were rather successful on their farms.

Slavery's economic, social, and moral impact on the South

The Immediate abolition of slavery morally would have been the right thing to do.
Actually, going on morals, slavery would have never began. Since it obviously did
begin you hear two different aspects of slavery. One would be from the
slaveholders and one would be from the slaves.For slaveholders, profit was the
only thing on their mind. They were unconcerned with the physical and
psychological impact that slavery would have on

Most slaves were raised feeling inferior towards whites and a sense of
unfufillment for themselves. Now, the people wouldn"tmt want to hire them
because they would have to pay them more. So even though I do not at all agree
with slavery, the immediate abolishment of it would have been hell for all those
involved, on the negative side and from the positive side. How dare them to even
consider letting slaves go, it"tms not like they"tmre people or anything. It would
seem almost inhumane to just let the slaves go because the slave holders
weren"tmt raised in a manner to understand providing for themselves. Also, they
would have no place to stay because they had been staying with their masters on
plantations. They would have to attempt to go back to these people and ask for
jobs. For the slaves, immediately letting go of slavery would have been such a
burden lifted off their shoulders but another one would have been placed on. If it
would have been chosen to immediately abolish slavery they would have suffered
tremendously. Many planted crops would have been left unpicked, no one would
be able to keep up with the planted crops and stuff around the house just
wouldn't get done.

Impact of Slavery in America

This article contains an analysis of slavery and its societal impact along with
information on the division of the North and South.

Slavery affected not only slaves and the people who owned them, but those who
were against slavery. Because the northern states had become more
industrialized than the south, the north did not hold slavery as a positive
development for the nation. The market revolution along with the Industrial
Revolution from England convinced the north that free labor would be better for
the country. Slavery was not only morally wrong—it was not as economically
sound as it once was. Slave narratives impacted the way the nation perceived the
institution of slavery.
Often people viewed slavery in terms of the institution. Slave narratives helped to
shift the focus from the system to the personal. Former slaves such as Frederick
Douglass and Harriet Jacobs were able to escape their slave masters and write
their stories. The slave narratives were a rallying force for those who opposed
slavery. The descriptions included were to shock those who either did not know
about the effects of slavery or those who did nothing to stop it.

Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

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Harriet Jacobs, in her narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, acknowledged
that those who were not acquainted with slavery would be in disbelief by stating:
“I am aware that some of my adventures may seem incredible; but they are,
nevertheless, strictly true. I have not exaggerated the wrongs inflicted by Slavery;
on the contrary, my descriptions fall short of the facts” (Jacobs 439). Abolitionists
were strongly opposed to slavery and appreciated the slave narratives that
assisted their cause.

The North and South

As the nation progressed, the north and the south developed with differences.
One example of the division between the north and the south on the issue of
slavery would be the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. The land that was west of the
Mississippi River and east of the Appalachian Mountains was to outlaw slavery.
This was crucial because it helped establish the idea of Free states and slave
states. Another example would be the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which was
created to solve the dispute over what would become of the states in the western
part of the nation. The compromise allowed Missouri to join the nation as a slave
state and for the state of Maine to be a free state.

Great Compromise
Throughout the early part of American history, compromising was considered a
virtuous trait and the nation valued the ability to solve differences of opinion
peacefully. However, these compromises would not last when the nation engaged
in the Civil War. These attempts at compromising illustrates that slavery did
cause divisions between different regions of early America.

Slavery was Important

Slavery played a critical role in the development of early America. Slavery came
after the use of indentured servants and was a way for the new nation to advance
economically at the expense of thousands of people. From the Middle Passage to
the institution itself, slaves faced terrible abuse and mistreatment. Slavery was
morally wrong yet it was allowed to continue because it was grounded in the
belief that without slavery these individuals would not be Christians.

• Slavery, Religion, and Indentured Servants in Early America

• Lee Surrenders to Grant at Appomattox, Ending Civil War

• The Historic Election of 1860

The Social Impact

The social impact slavery made on the nation could be seen in the slave
uprisings. White slave owners maintained the fear that slaves would rise against
their masters. As time went on, racist views became apparent as people instilled
values of racial superiority in the whites. This idea of whites being better than
blacks would persist long after slavery ended. Slavery caused the rift between
the north and the south in post-Civil War America. Samuel Watkins, a
confederate soldier from the Civil War, summarized the division between the
north and south accurately when he stated: “The South is our country, the North
is the country of those who live there. We are an agricultural people; they are a
manufacturing people” (Watkins 7).

Differences of the North and South

The northern part of the country was becoming industrialized and did not need
slavery like the agrarian south did. The south wished to maintain slavery and the
north, influenced by former slaves and the growing understanding of the
institution, was willing to oppose it. Slavery had influenced the beginning of post-
Civil War America and would continue to impact it as the nation entered the Civil

Economic Effect:

Cotton is terribly important, not only to the South, but to the nation. In fact, by 1815,
cotton is the most valuable export of the United States. By 1840, cotton is more
valuable than everything else the United States exports put together, so the value of
slaves is tremendous. By the time of the Civil War, by 1860, the dollar value of slave
property is greater than the dollar value of all of America’s railroads, all of America’s
banks, all of America’s manufacturing put together. Slavery is no sideshow in
American society. It is very much the main event, and the cotton crop that slaves
produced makes America important to the world. Do you realize that the American
South by 1860 produces seven eighths of the world’s cotton. Now, that’s equivalent
of OPEC today and oil. The fact is that when the Confederacy considers going
independent, seceding from the United States, one of the things that encourages
those people in the South to believe that a separate independent Confederacy is
possible, is the fact that it controls so much of the world’s cotton, and cotton is
important, not only to the cotton textile industries of New England, but also to the
textile industries of England, of France, of Germany, so that cotton has very
important economic and consequently, political power.

The Impact of Slavery

More than 140 slaves lived and worked at Andrew Jackson's Hermitage
plantation in Tennessee in the 1840's
Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness simply did not seem consistent with the
practice of chattel slavery. How could a group of people feel so passionate about
these unalienable rights, yet maintain the brutal practice of human bondage?
Somehow slavery would manage to survive the revolutionary era, but great
changes were brought to this PECULIAR INSTITUTION nevertheless.

The world's first ANTISLAVERY SOCIETY was founded in 1775 by Quakers in

Philadelphia, the year the Revolution began. By 1788, at least thirteen of these
clubs were known to exist in the American colonies. Some Northern states
banned slavery outright, and some provided for the gradual end of slavery. At any
rate, the climate of the Revolution made the institution unacceptable in the minds
of many Northerners, who did not rely on forced labor as part of the economic
system. Northerners did not, however, go as far as to grant equal rights to freed
blacks. Nonetheless, this ignited the philosophical debate that would be waged
throughout the next century.

Many slaves achieved their freedom during the Revolution without formal
EMANCIPATION. The British army, eager to debase the colonial economy, freed
many slaves as they moved through the American South. Many slaves in the
North were granted their freedom if they agreed to fight for the American cause.
Although a clear majority of African Americans remained in bondage, the growth
of free black communities in America was greatly fostered by the War for
American Independence. Revolutionary sentiments led to the banning of the
importation of slaves in 1807.

Slavery did not end overnight in America. Before any meaningful reform could
happen, people needed to recognize that the economic benefit was vastly
overshadowed by the overwhelming repugnance, immorality, and inhumanity of

Pre-Emancipation South

It is very simple to say how slavery has affected the agriculture in the United
States, but how was the labor of slaves important to the growing crop of the
United States. The south was notorious for its amazing production of tobacco,
rice, sugar and, cotton, but besides that production their involvement in other
general agriculture was large as well. The population of the south was around
30% the population of the north, and in 1860 they were able to produce over one
third of the corn one sixth of the wheat and more than four fifths of the peas and
beans, almost nine tenths of the sweet potatoes over half of the tobacco and
around 40 percent of the working and nonworking livestock with around only a
quarter of the area. Though there was a notable amount of production in the
southern slaves states but there was still problems with the labor that the south
was using. This system that the plantation workers followed was very efficient
because of the way that it was run. By making days of work so routine and
dividing every task to certain people, while keeping close strict supervision on all
workers, and providing healthcare for these workers, slave labor was a cheap
effective way to produce products in the south.
Costs of Slave Labor

Besides the cost of food Clothing and shelter for the slaves, their expenses for
any period of time were made of several elements. The interest upon the capital
invested in the slaves. The economic insurance against their 1)death 2) illness 3)
flight from service. The diminishing value of each of these slaves was important
to note as well. And the taxation put on the capitalized value of the slaves.

Cost of Slaves and Production of Slave Labor

Was the use of slavery beneficial to the south as a whole. In Richard F. America’s
“The Wealth of Races” there is a chart discussing the costs of slaves and the
production that they constructed. In 1790 the prime slaves in the upper south
went for $200 and they would continue to cost $200 until 1820. In those 30 years
the slaves earned $385,400,000. If there were 697,889 slaves and they were all a
variety of ages and sex they would be sold for an average of $200. If you multiply
that by the amount of slaves in 1790 you come up with $139,557,000 that was
spent on slaves and in 1790 the owners made $87,700,000 from the slaves labor.
The owners of the slaves combined lost around 60 million more dollars on the
slaves than they paid for them. Now of course this doesn’t concern the amount
the owners spent on food and clothes for the slaves, but in 1790 paying only 60
million dollars was a great price for infinite labor. And this was a one time fee so
the slave owners would not have to pay next year for this labor. The owners
would make lose combined 60 million dollars if all of the slaves were purchased
at the same time this is disregarding what they have to pay to maintain them. In
1800 the number of slaves increased by 195,150, and the price to purchase them
stayed the same. This year the price to purchase all of the slaves for the owners
was $16,099,875 and their production this year was $117,900,000. That’s around
$100 million in profit for the slave owners, excluding holding and feeding of the
slaves. These slaves produced on average $122.80 a year in revenue and they
were worth on average $200 in 1790. This is only a rough estimate assuming that
all slaves are paid the same amount, which is not true because the males at
prime age were worth the most. It seems that the south had good economic
reasons to want to keep the slaves. Prices for slave labor increased substantially
between over the years. From 1790 to 1815 the average slave price jumped to
$250, then in 1840 the price rose again to $500. Twenty years later the average
price for a slave rose again to around $1,400 to $2,000 per slave. The prices of
the slaves the fluctuated very much during the closing of the atlantic trade, but
because the slaves were able to keep their mortality rate down they were able to
reproduce and the slave population was able to grow.

Problems with Slave Labor

The south made statements that slavery would end in the next generation
because of the lack of production coming from the slaves. Another reason that
slavery would be ending in the next generation heading into the civil war is that
they were not reproducing parallel to the growth of the surrounding America. It
was stated by Robert William Fogel and Stanley Engerman that the material
living conditions of the slaves were better than those of the free man.(David,739)
This was contested by the writings of David and Temin stating that very few of the
slaves that came to America were put in great working conditions, and their poor
working conditions reflected in their drop in population. The south knew that the
slave population was not growing as highly as anticipated, and therefore would
die out on its own without the purchase of more slaves. Because of the poor
treatment of the slaves, African Americans had an alternative approach to a
traditional revolt against the slave owners. Instead of revolting against the slave
owners directly the slaves would attack them in other ways. The slaves would
show their discontent by “shirking their duties, injuring the crops, feigning illness,
and disrupting the routine.”(David, 741) This disruptive work environment
definitely showed that slave labor had many negative effects to go with it obvious
efficient profits. With the working conditions being as poor as they were the
slaves would be less productive and more destructive.

Ways to Promote Productivity of Slaves

The invention of the cotton gin in 1790 was a huge stepping stone for the slavery
industry. With the south attempting to use its rich land to turn a profit, they
needed to produce as much cotton as possible to keep with the demand of the
people. The cotton gin allowed many cottons to be produced in short periods of
time. In order to make the slaves more productive the “Gang System” put into
effect to help the slaves produce more. In the gang system single workers
provided certain tasks to be done in order to finish the crop, like a machine. The
owners found that with the slaves performing these simple tasks under a watchful
eye proved very productive. Other ways that slave-owners promoted a strong
work ethic was providing slaves with incentives that would encourage them to
work harder. They would often have Sundays off, and there would be cash
incentives and possible a portion of the harvest available to slaves in return for
good work. These incentives helped promote good workmanship and a better
relationship between slaves and owners.

Prosperous Organization?

There are many arguments states by economists that slavery was not a profitable
organization unless the slave owners possessed very fertile land. Lewis Gray
found reason to believe that slave labor was just as efficient that the labor of the
white man. He believed that with training their work would be similar to that of the
white man. Lewis Gray makes the statement that the abundance of fertile land
combined with expanding markets led the labor force to produce a surplus.
Because the labor force was composed of slaves the surplus was legally not the
slaves’ property but the slaveholders’ property. Some of this surplus needed to be
spent on equipment and supervision, the rest of this surplus was income for the
slave owners. Because of the market for cotton and the surplus of cotton
provided by the rich land, slavery was an optimal source of labor for southern
staple crops. Gray’s thoughts on slave labor as being more efficient than free
labor raises the question as to why did slave labor have certain advantages over
free labor? The idea that slave labor was more efficient came from three
characteristics that plantations needed to possess to make slave labor efficient.
First the one-crop system needed to be put into effect. With only one crop that
was being produced, owners could keep their system more routine, thus making
it easier for the slaves to adapt and produce. Second it would be necessary for
the owners to produce a crop the required year round attention. This production
of a year-round crop required slaves to produce them because the owners would
not lose money when during the idleness of free labor. The last characteristic is
the production of crops needing large amount of labor on small amounts of land.
This made supervision of the slaves easier and production increase.

Contending Arguments of Slave Labor Vs. Free Labor

In his essay “The Political Economy of Slaves” he defends slavery on many

aspects. Ruffin argues that in any society free labor is important to gain personal
wealth. He states “the introduction and establishment of domestic slavery is
necessarily an improvement of the condition and wealth and well-being of the
community in general, and also of the comfort of the enslaved class.”(Finkleman,
64) Ruffin plainly states that slavery is good without providing a shred of
legitimate evidence from studies or statistics. In his writings he also argues the
theory of supply and demand: “even the laboring class are remarkable for
indolence, and work no more than compelled by necessity. The greater the
demand, and the higher the rewards, for labor, the less wages will be performed,
as a general rule, by each individual laborer. If the wages of work for one day will
support the laborer or mechanic and his family for three, it will be very likely that
he will be idle two-thirds of his time.” In this excerpt Ruffin argues his notion of
wages by saying that the less you pay one worker the more they will be willing to
work because they need to sustain themselves. If you pay someone more than
they need to spend then they will continue to not work hard, and keep their
current standard of living. Ruffin also make the example that free laborers work
harder than slave workers based on rewards and motivation. Free laborers know
that the more work he can do in a short period of time the greater his earnings
will be. This is contrary to that of a slave laborer, no matter how he performs he
will still make the same amount, in food and clothing that he would if he works
extremely hard. So the free laborer has more incentive to work hard because he
is motivated by the rewards of his work, there is little motivation for the slave
laborers. Ruffin comes to the conclusion that because the free laborer is more
productive than the slave laborer, given the same cost to the employer, the free
laborer is actually cheaper to the employer because he produces more goods.
Then he makes the simple statement that “Suppose it is admitted that labor of
slaves, for each hour or day, will amount to but two-thirds of what hired free
laborers would perform in the same time. But the slave labor is continuous and
every day at least it returns to the employers and to the community, this two-
thirds of full labor.” He realizes that although the slave labor is not as productive
because they are forced to work they will inevitably produce more than the free
laborers, because the free workers will take more leisure time. He states that the
idea that free labor is cheaper is made on the assumption that the free laborers
will work continuously and regularly, and he thinks that that is not the case.