Link Search Menu Expand Document

Lecture Notes

Fall History

Table of contents
  1. Slavery: Race and Unfree Labor
    1. Questions
    2. Jamestown
    3. Tobacco
    4. Labor
    5. Bacon’s Rebellion
      1. Why slavery?
    6. Exploring legislative beginnings
    7. Transformation of Slavery from Ancient Practice to Modern Industry
  2. Empire & Revolution: Society and Politics in Colonial America
    1. The Bottom Line
    2. Navigate
    3. Introduction
    4. Central Questions
    5. Chain of De-Colonization and Destabilization
    6. French and Indian War / Seven Years War - 1754-1763
    7. Proclamation line of 1763
    8. Political Outlook on Independence
    9. Colonial Possibilities - Land and Labor
    10. Colonial Mercantilism
    11. Slavery and the Colonial Elite
    12. Slave Population & the Stono River Rebellion
    13. Indigenious Peoples, Middle Ground, & Pontiac’s Rebellion
    14. Rural Revolt
    15. Urban Poverty in the Colonies
    16. Enlightenment Conceptions of Liberty
    17. Social Tensions in the Colonies
    18. Crisis of Authority
    19. Boston Tea Party, Lexington & Concord
    20. Colonial Rebels & Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation
    21. Women in the American Revolution
    22. Continental Strategy in the Revolution
    23. Treaty of Paris 1783: Britain’s Gift of Territory
    24. New Crisis for Indigenious People
    25. New Crisis for Slaves
    26. Articles of Confederation
    27. Shay’s Rebellion 1786
    28. Framing the Constitution
  3. Gender & Industrial Capitalism: Wages, Domesticity, and Forms of Labor
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. Household Economy and Social Parity
      1. Artisanal Labor
      2. Agrarian Power
    4. Market Revolution and Social Transformation
      1. The Transportation Revolution
    5. Division of Labor
      1. Putting Out System
    6. Industrial Revolution
    7. Industrial Power
      1. Water
      2. Textile Production
    8. Dramatic Environmental Impacts
      1. Pollution on the Concord River
      2. The Merrimack River Watershed
      3. Waltham Bostom Manufacturing Company Mill
      4. Industrial Accidents
    9. Social Impacts on Industrialization: Labor
      1. Cheap Labor and Women
    10. Cult of Domesticity
      1. Standards on Social Participation
    11. Women and Labor Markets
      1. Industrial Labor
      2. Social Impacts of Industrialization: Wages
      3. Beauties of Our Factory System - Otherwise, Lowell Slavery
    12. Productivity and Labor Discipline
      1. The Lords of the Loom and the Lords of the Lash
      2. The Liberator and Abolitionist Debate
      3. Liberator Debate
      4. Labor Theory of Value
      5. Fredrick Douglass on Wages
    13. Industrial Women
  4. Race, Immigration, and Whiteness: Labor Markets and Cultural Constructions
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. Legal Cornerstones of American Immigration and Constructions of Whiteness
      1. Ante-Bellum Immigration
    4. Early Industrialization
    5. Unions
      1. Unions and Economism
      2. Unions and Racial Exclusivity
    6. Constructions of Working Class Masculinity
    7. Whiteness Structural Components
      1. Citizenship
      2. Jobs
    8. Famine Migration and the Legacy of Globalism and Colonialism
      1. The Irish Famine
      2. Irish Immigration to the United States
    9. Catholicism, Nativism, and the First Anti Immigrant Campaigns
      1. 1844 Bible Riots
      2. The Age of Political Cartooning
    10. Labor Markets, Making Race, and Immigration
      1. Fragmented Whiteness 1840s-1920s
      2. Blumenbach and the 5 Race Theory
      3. Is Race a System of Nature?
    11. Whiteness
  5. A Slave Society: Economics and Culture of American Slavery
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
    3. Central Questions
    5. From Colonial to Modern Slavery
      1. Capitalist Slavery
      2. Colonial Slavery
      3. End of Colonial Period
    6. Cotton
      1. Long and Short Staple Cotton
      2. Soil Erosion
      3. The Need for Expansion
      4. Indian Removal and Demand for Cotton Lands
      5. Cherokee
      6. Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal
    7. King Cotton
      1. Export and Significance of Cotton
    8. The Second Middle Passage
      1. Slavery and the Nation
        1. Manufacturing
    9. The Southern Economy
      1. Plain Folk of the Old South
      2. The Planter Class
      3. Slave System
      4. Data: Average Prices of Slaves in States Across Time
    10. Productivity and Labor Discipline
      1. The Paternalist Ethos and Justifications of Slavery
      2. White Women and Southern Patriarchy
      3. Pro Slavery Arguments
      4. Abolition in the Americas
  6. Movements for Liberation: Abolition and Expansions of Freedom
    1. Navigation
    2. Introduction
    3. Central Claims
    4. America as a Slave Society
      1. Life Under Slavery
      2. Maintaining Order and Slave Culture
      3. Threat of Sale
      4. Slave Religion
      5. Gospel of Freedom
    5. Slave Resistance
      1. Smaller Scale Resistance
      2. Collective Resistance
    6. Large Scale Slave Rebellions
      1. Nat Turner’s Rebellion
      2. Gender Divide in Slave Rebellion
      3. Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman
    7. Movement for Abolition
      1. Quakers and the Christian Abolition
      2. Colonization
      3. Gradualist Abolition Before 1830
      4. Slavery and Moral Suasion
      5. William Lloyd Garrison and the Liberator
      6. American Anti Slavery Society
      7. Abolition, Citizenship, and Freedom
      8. Universalistic Conceptions of Liberty
      9. Abolition and Race
      10. Militant Abolitionism
      11. Direct Action and the Underground Railroad
      12. Harpers Ferry and John Brown
      13. Retaliation to Abolitionism
      14. Conflict in the Northern States and National Legislative Bodies
      15. Mail Ban
      16. Gag Rule
    8. Abolitionist Women
      1. London 1840 Anti Slavery Convention
      2. Seneca Falls
      3. What is Liberation?
      4. Forms of Resistance
  7. Civil War: Politics and Control of the State
    1. Navigate
    2. Introduction
      1. Central Question
      2. Slave Resistance
    3. Free Soil Argument
      1. Economic Growth and the Cultural Transformation
      2. 1846 War with Mexico
      3. Breakout of the War
      4. Results and Conclusions
    4. Problems of the Empire
      1. Wilmot Proviso and Compromise of 1850
      2. Kansas Nebraska Act
    5. Fugitive Slave Law and Abolition
    6. Slave Power
      1. Control of the Government
      2. Dred Scott
    7. The Republican Party and Free Labor
      1. The Election of Lincoln
    8. The Secession Crisis
      1. The First Modern War
      2. The Technology of War
    9. The War that Slaves Made
  8. Recontruction & Redemption: Contested Meanings of Freedom
  9. Navigation
    1. Introduction
  10. The End of the War
    1. Postbellum Questions
    2. Wartime Reconstruction
    3. Federal Reconstruction
    4. Agenda of the Freedmen
      1. Family
      2. Independent Churches
      3. Schooling and Literacy
      4. Civic Participation
      5. Land and Economic Independence
      6. Agenda of Southern Plantation Owners
    5. Agenda of the Northernors
      1. Northern Carpet-baggers
    6. Sharecropping as a Compromise
    7. Federal Reconstruction
      1. Radical Republicans
      2. Civil Rights Act of 1866
      3. Feminist and Abolitionist Response
      4. The First Vote and Civic Participation
    8. Countervailing Forces
      1. Colfax Massacre and Reign of Terror
      2. Black Codes
    9. 1877 and the End of Reconstruction
      1. 1877 Great Railroad Strike
  11. Alternative Linkage

Slavery: Race and Unfree Labor

  • Slavery as a system of labor; the relationship between race and labor
  • Why slavery?
  • Why did racialized chattel slavery develop in the 17th Century? How did the institution of slavery change over time and why? What role did race, class, and gender play in the formation of the American slave system?
    • Slavery, as an institution, was both material and cultural.
      • It was a social construction to meet social interests.
    • Slavery is defined by labor and class, as much as race.
      • Why slavery? – exploitation and as a mindset
      • Slavery and racism as an attempt to deal with class solidarities.
    • Race, class, and gender: the “sociological trinity”
      • Social construction is the process by which material and cultural factors are made and remade.


  • Why did racialized chattel slavery happen?
  • Chattel – living things that are owned as property, animals.
  • Slavery – an economic labor system and as a system of race
  • The Curious Case of Anthony Johnson: “A Negro”
    • Institution of slavery changed in the 17th and 18th centuries.
    • 20 African peoples sold into slavery in Jamestown
    • Identified as Antonio: A Negro
    • Arrive in chains, given a Spanish or Portuguese name that is Anglosized.
    • Antonio Johnson is able to obtain freedom somehow and purchase property
    • Marries, has children, property is recognized
    • Some of Antonio’s structures were burnt down in a fire, wasn’t able to harvest and store foods used to pay colonial government
    • Petitioned British government for tax relief that week, took the claim to an all-white court, recognized Johnson’s hardship and granted him reprieve
    • This is not what you would expect the black experience in colonial America to look like.


  • Started as a commercial enterprise to develop a resource strain that could benefit the crown and enrich the throne.
  • Based endeavors on the Spanish enterprise – find people who are already rich and take their wealth to ship back
  • Not the case with North America, arrived in 1607, no riches to plunder; many of the people had no experience as agriculturalists, new environment
  • Many of the colonists starved; Jamestown survival rate was extremely low in the first decade (90% death rate – majority death rate continuing throughout the century).
  • Raided indigenous food crops and villages
  • 1622 massacre


  • Native to North America and unknown to Europeans
  • Grows like a weed in the Chesapeake climate
  • People looking for profitability: very profitable. Pleasant to smoke and chew, highly addictive, all over the place.
  • Ever expanding market, and it was extremely popular; saved the colony.
  • Developed agricultural foundations to export tobacco and to buy other products necessary for colonial success.
  • Harvesting tobacco is tricky: very laborious crop. Small, so to harvest lots of it you need a lot of anchorage; to make lots of profit you need to sell a lot of it, more than one farmer can produce
  • A system of labor is necessary, form the perspective of a landowner and an entrepreneur, try to take as much as possible for yourself.
    • Tobacco needs to be harvested and processed (a very wet plant, can rot, need to be processed before they can be shipped).


  • Enslave indigenous peoples?
  • Call on allies? Have connections outside the plantation, know the area and understand it
  • Indentured servitude and slavery, English practices before colonization
    • Both could be used to fulfill labor
  • Indentured servitude: a labor contract.
  • Advantages of indentured servants
    • More profitable, they can die beforehand sometimes
    • You don’t keep them for life, less valuable
  • Problems with indentured servants
    • Indenture is not appealing, why would people do it?
    • Die now or becoming indentured and die later
    • Indentured servants started to live as they became more accustomed to the harsh North American conditions.

Immigration statistics: Colonial Immigration from 1607 to 1776

BritishTotal Arriving472,000
 % convicts12%
 % identured42%
 % free46%
AfricasTotal Arriving312,000
 % enslaved100%[^1]
  • Majority of English people coming to the colonies were unfree, when their term ends, they want land and a payout. Colonial elites were just not paying.
  • After a while, proposes problems for colonial elites

Bacon’s Rebellion

  • Very angry resources, nothing to lose, enslaved peoples and indentured servants; explosive combinations.
  • 1676 Rebellion – white indentured servants, black slaves, former black slaves, former white indentured servants revolt and wanted to open up land access into indigenous territories. Wanted to sieze more land.
  • Colonial government didn’t want to (Jamestown Massacre)
  • Led to a clash in Virginia; revolted and overthrew the government, sacked the governor, burned the capital
  • British unit came down and put the rebellion down later
  • Nathaniel Bacon; mixed-race rebels attempting to seek access to more land.

Why slavery?

  • Why turn to slavery as the exclusive system?
  • Why not increase indenture or modify the system?
  • Why not enslave whites? Enslave indentures?
  • Economics – more cost effective to purchase someone for their whole life than for a short period, because they are living longer.
  • Colonial elites were thinking about social hierarchies and ways to manage colonial societies
  • Social death
    • Racial and class control
    • Orlando Patterson: Slavery and Social Death
    • Trans-historic approach to taking about slavery, asks how do you enslave someone?
    • Assumption: everyone is trying to get out of that institution (slavery).
    • Patterson: you have to strip away the person’s connections in society.
      • Remove language, family, names, social connections
      • Thus, enslaving someone.
    • Partially the process of what happened in the American slavery experience; something of this process must happen.
  • Egypt, Rome, etc. were founded on slavery, goods allowed the empires to thrive.
  • Conquest of Americas does become racialized

Exploring legislative beginnings

  • Color is used as a system of social control, intentionally.
  • Delineates the changes in law that happen around the 1670s and continue that create a harsh distinction between legal practices allowed for slaves and indentures vs black people and white people.
  • Slaves are identified as Negroes – black people are automatically slavery, synonymous status
  • Prevents an interracial group from running away together
  • Change the status of Baptism; no longer a standard
  • Casual killing of enslaved peoples is allowed; masters who kill their slaves cannot be tried for murder; taking away the humanity of slaves and towards chattel.
    • Reasoning: legal standard of murder was malice; a master could not have malice because why would they destroy their own property.
  • 1680, act to prevent Negro insurrection; black people cannot carry weapons in public (swords, clubs, etc.)
  • 1682, further changes to the law, interracial relationships banned.
  • Law passed that allows any white person, regardless of property status, to use violence against any black person, will not face criminal consequences.
  • Gives every single white person a sense of mastery; inflict violence that comes with being a true master
    • Creates a psychological difference between what it means to be black or white
  • Partus Sequitur Ventrem and Miscegenation
    • Enslaved status becoming harsher
    • Social benefits and legal incentives for being white, even if you are poor
    • English inheritance system: patriarchal; property is given to first son of the father, passed from the name of the father. Women have no property rights, children inherit name of the father.
    • Key transformation: Partus Sequitur Ventrem, status is derived from the mother.
    • License for the sexual exploitation of slaves by male slave owners
      • If you were having an affair with slaves and they had children, the male children would have a claim to your property.
      • Prevent enslaved peoples from getting a claim to property, based on mothers.
    • The phenotype of the child – ties the status of slavery to skin color, upending the tradition of inheritance.
    • Sexual violence, dehumanization that comes with slavery does not have to be racialized; don’t deserve autonomy. People fight back and resist.
      • Harsh forms of violence to maintain order.

Transformation of Slavery from Ancient Practice to Modern Industry

  • The racialization of slavery in the new context.
  • Profitability drove racialization
  • Not just goods that can be produced from profitability
  • People can be exploited; a fundamental part of the global economy.
  • What does it mean to treat people as a commodity?
    • Packaged and distributed like a commodity; manifest for a British slave ship 1794
    • Fit as many people in the ship as you can; even if 10% loss of life, still profitable
    • Middle Passage – triangle trade, England, Africa, and the Americas
      • First leg between England and Africa, bringing weapons, gold, etc. to trade for slaves
      • Middle passage between Africa and the Americas
  • Productivity & Labor Discipline 18th century
    • Property ownership in terms of land and humans
      • Property gentleman in England – aristocrat with land
      • Property gentleman in the Americas – own lots of slaves
    • Slavery becomes tied with profitability
    • Slavery was transformed; slavery in different societies due to different types of conditions – eastern seaborn of Southern colonies. (1790)
      • Only in certain places did it make sense to have chattel slavery.
      • In the early decades, slavery confined to narrow band; Chesapeake allowed climactic conditions to be particularly strong
  • Slavery in 1860
    • Allowed slavery to move inland and entrench in Americas
    • 19th century industrialization; modern world slavery
    • Slaves as property
      • Produce on the land, determined by control of other people’s labors
      • Slavery and not indenture
  • Liberty and Slavery
    • Slavery works its ways into the foundations.
      • 3/5ths compromise
    • Cannot use the language of slavery because it was “so profoundly embarrassing”
    • Lockean Liberalism
      • “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” -Declaration of Independence
      • “Life, liberty, property” in Locke’s words

Empire & Revolution: Society and Politics in Colonial America

The Bottom Line

The American Revolution was political and complicated. It was not a neat story about liberty triumphing tyranny. Various interests that were in conflict and eventually got worked out in ways that were not so clean.


  • 1783: The Death of Major Peirson by John Singleton Copley.
  • Battle of Jersey on the island of Jersey on the channel between England and France.
    • A significant battle in the American revolution that involved no Americans.

Central Questions

  • Central Questions:
    • What caused the American Revolution?
    • What role did ideology, economics, class, empire, and race play in shaping the dynamics of the revolution?
      • Was it primarily material or ideological?
      • What type of revolution was it?
  • Anti-colonial war: empire and self-determination
    • War of independence from colonial domination, a civil war between the various forces within American society, a world war fought both in American and in Europe.
      • A global anti-colonial moment.
  • Civil war: revolution fractured by class, race, gender, indigeneity
    • Role of African Americans, the poor, indigenious peoples, women, and colonial elites.
  • Social or political revolution?
    • The unequal political, social, economic, and ideological structure of American society remained intact after the Revolutionary War.
    • The Constitution incorporated and reflected many of these tensions.
  • Relationships between indigenious and black slaves?
    • Maroonage: comes from wrecked ships and people who stake out encampments, in context of slavery - slaves would escape plantations and have nowhere to go, establish encampments.
    • Sometimes would combine with indigenious communities.
    • Seminole in Florida; adopted large numbers of escaped African slaves.
    • Mourning Wars - indigenious peoples would go to war with other nations to incorporate more people.

Chain of De-Colonization and Destabilization

  • Nations were not able to maintain heavy control over empires in the Americas.
    • French Empire collapses 1754-63
    • English Empire follows 1775-83
    • Spanish and Portuguese 1810-1825
  • After strong anti-empire sentiment, colonization in the Americas largely collapses.
  • Revolutions
    • 7 Years War
    • Hatian Revolution (1790)
      • Slave-led revolution, undoes political power of the French and social institution of slavery.
    • American Revolution
    • Anti-colonial revolutions in the Spanish colonies that create a series of independent countries.
  • The Revolutionary War was not as unique as many theorists and historians would like to think.
  • Spreads worldwide conceptions of rights.

French and Indian War / Seven Years War - 1754-1763

  • Americans: started war, Washington led a military incursion into indigenious regions allied with France
    • Sieze and speculate it
  • Spiralled into a global war.
    • European War was about 7 years.
  • Land and tax troubles
  • 1763 proclamation
  • The French are defeated, and the English win.
    • A phyrric victory; the English spend a vast amount of money.
    • French drop their claims; this was only partial regardless.
  • England was ‘overstretched’ and wanted ot prevent ongoing conflict with indigenious peoples in the interior
  • Launched George Washington’s military career.

Proclamation line of 1763

  • Established a line that forbids English settlement beyond that line and guarantees land to indigenious peoples in the interior.
  • Established by the English government unilaterally, part of peace negotiations.
  • George Washington went over this line and launched the Seven Years global conflict; need to limit and restrict settlement.
    • Self-imposed, in a sense.
  • The English are in debt and cannot make the colonies pay for them. Limit costs by restricting settlement.

Political Outlook on Independence

DateColonial Population
1775> 2,000,000
  • 2 million people: a series of different types of people with different political interests that did not all align with Independence
  • Not unilateral support for Independence.
    • Different imperial interests.
    • Natives & indigenious peoples have their own interests
    • Slaves
    • The colonial gentry
    • Smallholders & the poorer class
    • English governmental officials
    • Women

Colonial Possibilities - Land and Labor

  • For colonial elites, there were a few ways to get rich
    • Plantation system
    • Mercantilism & trade
    • Both based on access to agricultural production, need land and labor.
  • Need lots of people and lots of land to run a product.
  • Middle colonies are producing wheats and other agricultural goods, Carolinas are producing rice & dyes, the economy is more diversified, but needed land and labor.

Colonial Mercantilism

  • Merchants not directly tied to the land; people who would provide capital or resources for international trade or had the network to make sales possible.
  • People who were largely in port cities in the North (Boston and NY), but also Charleston (South).
  • Relied on access to capital and networks of information.
    • Could finance the building of a ship.
    • Finance insurance.
  • Distinct; more urban and more worldly.
    • Different from the plantation elite, but tied to producing goods that can get into international trade.
    • Also interested in maintaining slavery and access to land.

Slavery and the Colonial Elite

  • Your wealth derived from the slave system.
  • Slave states were by far the richest states.
    • Richest people were slsave owners.

Slave Population & the Stono River Rebellion

  • Slaves want to be free - fundamental premise.
  • Slaves in the South and the North.
    • Sojourner Truth, for example, enslaved in the North.
  • Willing to fight for their freedom in a series of rebellions.
  • In a sense, Bacons’ Rebellion was a slave revolt.
  • Stono Rebellion of 1739.
    • First explicit slave rebellion in the colonies.
    • Terrified the white population.
    • Slave ship brings in several dozen newly kidnapped African slaves.
    • About 60 who revolt as they are being ‘broken’.
      • Break a slave by getting them adjusted to what it means to be a slave.
    • Collectively revolt and kill 23 white people, burn an entire plantation down. Create a banner and write “liberty”, use to march and attempt to get to the county seat.
    • Later overtaken by the Carolinan militia; killed and executed.
  • Aftermath
    • Banning importation of slaves directly from Africa for 10 years.
    • Idea: newly enslaved slaves were the most dangerous.
  • Sometimes, in collective/political unity for ‘liberty’.

Indigenious Peoples, Middle Ground, & Pontiac’s Rebellion

  • The French were defeated and lost; the indigenious allies did not give up.
  • Once the French stopped fighting, the indigenious kept on fighting.
  • Did not want to see English settlement continue to encroach on their territory.
  • Pontiac’s Rebellion.
    • Very understudied yet significant in indigenious history.
    • An alliance of almost all peoples in the interior on the western side of the Appalachias uniting against European settlement into the interior.
      • Whole sets of peoples agree in a political alliance to go with war against English settlement.
    • Initial uprising is very successful
      • Sieze 8 forts from English control, including Fort Detroit, as well as other significant forts
      • Forces the British, who had just established the Proclamation Line, to send more military resources into that area.
    • Message: don’t trifle with the indigenious peoples.
  • Fighting to protect their own sets of interests.

Rural Revolt

  • Rural peoples; poor whites who were also in revolt.
  • 1760s and 1770s, main problem: debt.
  • Farming relies very heavily on credit.
    • Spend the entire year working and producing, getting the land ready, harvesting.
    • Sell everything that you have and get all your money at once.
    • Over the course of the whole year, need credit; money to get food, supply, to get through to that point.
  • Debt and credit is an important part of modern farming.
  • Highly reliant on debt; markets fails and crops fail.
  • Saddled with debt from the year and no way to pay it off.
    • Hope the next year is better, but it very well won’t, and you have agglomerated more debt.
  • Courthouses will come after you. Slaves, lifestock, property can be siezed.
    • Debt became an increasing problem for the rural poor.
  • Northern speculators came to places like NH and Vermont and attempted to buy up farming land and sell it at higher prices.
    • Further indebted farmers.
  • Revolt
    • Breaking jails
    • Rioting out judges passing sentences based on debt
    • Attacking tax collectors who could put them further into debt
  • Colonial peoples had a limited degree of self-governance.
    • Could have its own legislature
    • Did not have representation in the mother country (England)
    • Had no Parliamentary representation.
    • The Crown could revoke the charter for self-governance and amend/veto sets of laws.
      • A degree, but limited degree, of governance.
    • Colonial courts largely being governed by locals.

Urban Poverty in the Colonies

  • The Urban Crucible - Gary B Nash
    • Northern cities - conflicts between urban poor and symbols of the British government or control.
  • Boston Massacre, 1770.
    • Thought of as a prelude to the revolution.
    • Colonial subjects attacking British tax collectors
    • Raiding homes of court justices and throwing material into the street and lighting them on fire.
    • British send more troops to stop the disorder.
      • Seen as tyranny.
    • Soldiers open fire in return, killed 3 people
  • Rioting over the Townshend Acts
    • A sales tax on things everyone needs - tea, paper, etc.
    • Fairly onerous; urban poor people needed to pay significantly higher for those items.

Enlightenment Conceptions of Liberty

The freedom then of man, and liberty of acting according to his own will, is grounded on his having reason, which is able to instruct him in that law he is to govern himself by… -John Locke

  • “Our cause is for liberty, and we are righteous and just.”
  • Enlightenment thinking.
    • Natural rights, the beginning of human rights
    • Gaining wide credence in all segments of societies.
  • Governance; if you have reason then you have liberty and the right to governance.
  • Cannot argue against the religious argument for monarchy (appointed by God); Locke suggests a different model for governance.
  • Women excluded from the capability to reason.
  • Demonstration of reason is in acts.
    • Self-mastery is not demonstrated by the poor.
    • If they had reason, they could reason themselves out of poverty.
  • Locke introduces the standard in a restrictive sense, but it’s infectious. Slaves revolt under Lockean lines.
    • Embracing while challenging Lockean liberalism.

Social Tensions in the Colonies

We have been told that our struggle has loosened the bonds of government everywhere; that children and apprentices were disobedient; that schools and colleges were grown turbulent; that Indians slighted their guardians, and negroes grew insolent to the masters. -John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1776.

  • How will we put the pieces back together?

Crisis of Authority

  • There is a crisis of authority in the late colonial period. 1760s and 1770s.
  • People are in revolt.
  • Symbols of revolt are being challenged and graffitied and pushed back on.
  • Opened armed revolt in NH and elsewhere.
  • Attacking tax collectors violently (physical assault)
    • Tarring and feathering - painful, not just humilitating
  • Raiding homes of colonial governors, judges, legislators, and elites

Boston Tea Party, Lexington & Concord

  • Make a series of missteps, trying to make the colonies pay for themselves.
  • Cost to protect colonies was more than they were generating.
  • Sales taxes that were taxing the poorest populations to further inflame the poorer.
  • Tried to tax rich merchants, but people revolted and cost tens of thousands of pounds of damage and property.
    • Boston Harbor - threw all the tea into the harbor.
  • Poor rural farmers begin to arm themselves and collecting caches of ammunition.
    • British who hear about it try to prevent them from getting weapons and sieze caches.
    • Are shot at as they march into the countryside.
    • British shoot back and begin killing rural farmers.
    • Political crisis hasa developed into a shooting war.

Colonial Rebels & Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation

  • No longer a question of “what can we do to change this”, outright military conflict.
  • Lexington & Concord - a significant amount of time before the Declaration of Independence is signed & distributed.
    • Colonial governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore, instantly declares this as a slaveholders’ revolt with interests against the British
    • Guarantees emancipation for any slave that allied with the British.
  • Many slaves joined the British.
  • George Washingon doubled this proclamation.
  • Enslaved and free black people remained loyal to the British.

Women in the American Revolution

  • Women played an important role in the American Revolution
  • Different political alliances, but participated to the extent that they could.
  • A few documented historical instances of women passing as men in order to enlist in armies to fight for one side or the other.
  • Ann Bailey, able to pass as a man and saw combat before she was discovered.
  • Putting on a pretense and imprisoned for it.
  • Mythic stories of women fighting in battle; Molly Pitcher, which probably different happen
    • Story: so loyal to her husband that she followed him into combat; when he is killed, she leaps into action and takes his place, continues fighting.
  • More common: women would act as spies.
    • Rebel army / British army would take over a farmhouse to do battle plans and would do it right in front of wives and daughters.
    • If women were loyal to the other side, could distribute information to whoever they wanted.
  • Pushed the boundaries of women’s social participation.
    • Men went to go fight, women needed to maintain the household.
    • Maintain the farm, produce, and markets.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft
    • Articulating and producing scholarship and theory about the political participation.
    • Writing about the French Revolution and is English, English conservatives are criticizing the French Revolution by saying the Revolutionists are talking about ‘rights’ (unfamiliar concept). Woolstonecraft critiques the English conservatives and publishes rights.
    • Rebuts herself and changed the title from Rights of Men to A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Continental Strategy in the Revolution

  • Various interests; the elite and the smallholders aligned in their interests against British colonialism.
  • Who would win the fight?
  • Strategy: survive and wait for the French.
    • Colonists had almost no chance.
    • No serious funding, access the weapons, etc.
  • Serious work was being done by American diplomats in France
    • Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin
    • Negotiating weapons, alliances.
  • French fleet defeats the English fleet in the Battle of Virginia Capes 1781
    • French aid and support helped Washington’s army be victorious in Yorktown.

Treaty of Paris 1783: Britain’s Gift of Territory

  • Treaty of Paris, British are thoroughly defeated.
  • Several decades of war; struggling to maintain costs.
  • Wave their hands to the North American colonies.
  • All lands to the West; the British could have held onto the interior but for some reason granted the colonists the entirety of the interior.
  • Result: major defeat for indigenious peoples.

New Crisis for Indigenious People

  • Main empires protecting their land had become wiped out.
  • New onslaught for peoples in the interior
    • Ohio River Valley and further in the interior.
  • ‘Indian country’ drastically receding from 1763 to 1810.

New Crisis for Slaves

  • Another crisis for those that allied with the British; need to flee, go to other English colonies (e.g. Bahamas, Jamaica, Nova Scotia).
  • Many attempt to go back to Africa to establish new independent territories, some go to England.
  • Some African Americans fought in the Continental Army.

Articles of Confederation

  • New political constitution for the United States emerges in the Articles of Confederation.
  • Based on a combination of Greek Democratic practice and Haudenosaunee notions of Confederacy.
  • Each state developed their own constitutions.
    • e.g. greatly indebted to France.
    • smallholders had just been at war for several years, had not been able to produce and had nothing to sell, also indebted.

Shay’s Rebellion 1786

  • Major moment in post-revolutionary period.
  • Daniel Shay (veteran of the Continental Army) returns to his New England farms to find that the debts are worse, the courts pursue indebtness even further than they did before, and farmers are again being thrown in jail and having their land siezed.
  • Daniel Shay, along with 4000 other rural farmers in New England, revolt; continue the revolutionary struggle afterwards.
    • Just fought a revolution around this issue, yet it still persists.
  • Rebellion brings George Washington out of retirement and comes to put down the rebellion.
  • Leads to another political crisis for colonial elites.
  • Scrapping the calls of Articles of Confederation.
    • Seek to address shortfalls of the Articles of Confederation.
  • Not only emphasizing libertarian but rationale notions.
  • John Randolph:

    When I mention the Public, I mean to include the rational part of it. The ignorant vulgar are unfit… to manage the reins of government.

    • Using evidence of Shay’s rebellion as a point-in-case of this.
    • If they were ‘rational’, they would know they needed to pay their debts.

Framing the Constitution

  • Political traditions emerging around the framing of the Constitution
  • Spring of 1786, began in secret and framed as a way to address the failings of the Articles of Confederation
  • Produced an entirely new political document.
  • Conservative elements in this debate won out in the framing of the Constitution. A radical experiment in democracy.
  • Conservative notions of democracy.
    • Institutionalizing the practice of slavery in the three-fifths clause.
    • The electoral college
    • The senate (not determined by demographic representation)
      • Implications in the Civil War
    • The federal court system (unelected, permanent judges that rule on the Constitutionality of legislation).

Gender & Industrial Capitalism: Wages, Domesticity, and Forms of Labor


  • First industrialized workforce in the US was all women.
  • Textile manufacturing was done exclusively by women.
    • Universally true to this day.
  • Women and Their Work in the Metropolis, Stanley Fox, Harper’s Bazaar, 1868
    • Illustration: industrial work as a natural extension of the domestic sphere?
    • Depicting several illustrations of women in manufactures revolving around an image of a woman looking after her child (domestic sphere)
    • These professions were not safe and ‘womanly’, as portrayed.
      • e.g. Toy Painters. fumes from paint.

### Key Questions and Points

  • Central Questions: Why were the first industral workers primarily women? What ways to systems of gender and the economy, patriarchy and capitalism, relate to one another?
  • Industrial capitalism
  • Combination of market capitalism with new source of productive power.
    • Creation of wage labor.
    • Transformation of the environment with significant consequences.
    • Wage slavery?
  • Gender Theory: Gender Constructions and their Class Character
    • The “Cult of Domesticity” - Working Women too?
      • Women’s cheapness?

Household Economy and Social Parity

  • In order to understand changes of industrial revolution, (epoch-defining moment) look at what came before.
  • Pre-industrial revolution: the household was the economic unit.
    • Not just a place of rest.
    • A place of economic activity for both men and women.
    • True in agrarian production (house as the extension of a farm and field).
      • Women to perform ancillary work to allow agrarian work to pass.
      • Gender division of labor within economic units.
        • Men and women would have different sets of tasks.
        • True almost universally.
          • Indigenous societies - women did the planting and harvesting.
      • Men and women found work in the household.
    • The household became a unit of economic power.
      • Women performed tasks like: repair tools, make satchels for harvesting, make food, ‘reproductive work’

Artisanal Labor

  • Household as the individual unit - tied to home production.
  • Artisanal production: complete manufacture of some thing.
    • From end to end, artisans can completely craft something.
    • Often hand-made.
    • Artisan must know every stage of creation.
  • Cooper, shipwright, smiths, etc.
    • Performing every stage of production to create, e.g., barrel.
    • Going from zero to finished product.
  • Artisan apprentices.
  • Controls the entire work process.
    • Control speed.
  • Sell what they made.

Agrarian Power

  • Source of power is human (or animal) muscle power.
    • Body power empowers the process.
  • The extent to which production is possible is the extent to which human bodies can produce something.

Market Revolution and Social Transformation

  • Transformations happening slowly.
    • Pre-industrial; advent of the ‘market revolution’ and capitalism.
  • Market Revolution of the 18th century.
    • People were drawn into commercial relationships of exchange based on currency and tender.
      • Debt, credit, market relationships.
    • 17th century, people in a yoeman household probably produced everything by themselves.
      • Need as sweater, make a sweater.
    • 18th century, people are drawn into networks of commercial exchange.
      • Specialize in a particular skill of expertise.
      • You can sell yourself and get access to a money market economy.

The Transportation Revolution

  • Constructing canals. Waterways main network of exchange (pre-industrial railroad).
  • Water way access becomes key trading area.
  • Advent of Eerie Canal in early 19th century.
    • Connects Hudson River; opens up the entire continent into Chicago and the great plains.
    • Isolated farmers can get their products into major hubs within a few weeks.
    • Not industrial steam power.
      • Barges pulled by horses.
      • Still relied on physical labor.
  • Regardless, the network allowed people to buy and seel goods that they had never before.

Division of Labor

  • The type of work women were doing in the household could be much more lucrative.
  • They could sell their labor to other markets
  • Women who were doing weaving or textile making could spend more time doing that (assembling goods) and get money to buy other things they might need.
    • Otherwise would need to make on their own.
  • Work in the household being monetized.
  • Over time, collectivize and aggregate isolated points of labor.
    • Develop a process in which economies of scale could be produced.

Putting Out System

  • Even if not being aggregated in the same place, it can be socially aggregated.
  • Women could do work in their home, put out their work.
    • Collected, paid women, and assembled to sell.

Industrial Revolution

  • Epoch-defining transformation in human history.
  • Combination of capitalist production relationships and industrial power sources.
  • Externalizing source of productive power from limitations of the human body.
    • The human body can only produce so much.
  • Rapid growth in machinery powered by nonhuman sources.
  • Driving industrial capitalism:
    • Shift in the energy regime and social organization underlying society.

Industrial Power


  • Driving the industrial production and expansion: water.
    • Anything that can burn (wood, forests, coal, oil). Before this: water.
  • Being located near water helped.
  • Water that had a ‘drop’ (using gravity to drive motion).
  • New England: factories were located around *water sources.
    • Very first textile mill in the United States (Slater Mill in Massachusetts) outside of Boston.
    • In order to make the mill work, channel water underneath the factory to drive a turbine connected to machinery.
    • Dammed the river to control the flow.

Textile Production

  • Cotton textiles were the number one manufactured product.
  • Water can be linked to drive the ‘power loom’.
  • Transforming hand loom; externalizing driving forces of loom to water.
  • Looms are connected by belts to turbines, all driven in uniform.
  • Emphasis on efficiency of production.
  • Every floor could specialize.
    • First floor - spin into thread.
    • Second floor - thread into textiles.
    • Third floor - died and packages, etc.
  • Driven by central power source.

Dramatic Environmental Impacts

  • Need to be located at sites where there is potential for power.
  • Lowell, 1845
    • Within a few decade, transformed into an industrial city.
      • Based on the new method of manufacturing and textile production.
    • Water enabled textile production.
    • River is lined with factory.
      • When waterfront fills up, build canals.
    • Water could serve as acess to markets.
  • Controlling the flow of the water was a major problem for early industrialists.

Pollution on the Concord River

    1. Dyes could be put in the river.
  • Industrial pollutants.
  • One of the first signs that industrial production and technology would have significant environmental impacts.

The Merrimack River Watershed

  • Transforms the law.
    • The path of rivers changed
    • Property rights altered to support industrialism.
  • Unintended consequences.
  • Lowell was a farming community.
  • If, as an industrialist, you dam the river and the resulting flow is a trickle?
  • Lawsuits - farmers would sue industrialists.
    • River flows through property, infringing on property rights.
    • Sued but court did not side with them.
      • Farmer-farmer relationship: not acceptable.
      • Industrialist-farmer damming relationship: acceptable.
        • Industrialists bribing, corruption?
        • Emminent domain
      • Partially on Lockean grounds.
        • The most industrious and efficient use of space.
        • Lockean principles of property.

Waltham Bostom Manufacturing Company Mill

  • Very large manufactures being constructed very quickly.
  • Primary interest in generating as much profit as possible.
  • Builders are cutting corners - leads to the first series of industrial accidents.

Industrial Accidents

  • Largest accident in US history up to then - 1860 collapse of Hemberton Mill
    • Lawrence, Massachusetts
  • Factory collapsed, 145 deaths of factory workers.
    • 100-something injured.
  • Within a few decades, it has been completed translated.

Social Impacts on Industrialization: Labor

  • People’s relationship to their labor.
    • How is labor used?
    • Social relationships.
  • Gender - the shift of power: externalizing from physical bodies to turbine power sources that could drive machinery.
    • Metaphorical as well - changing the relationship of power to which people have with their own bodies.
    • You are no longer working and your own pace and control.

Cheap Labor and Women

  • Industrial labor - you are working to the pace of the machine.
    • Adapt your physical standards to that of industrial production.
  • Widespread labor discipline.
    • A factory that is all operating at the same time.
    • Throughput production contingent on each part of the process being accomplished at the same time.
    • Everyone needs to be present and working at the same pace.
      • A few people who are late: can be a catastrophe for the production process.
      • Need a regime of labor discipline to make systems work.
  • If you need so many people, why are women being employed?
    • Women’s labor was cheap.
      • Cheaper.
    • Why was women’s labor cheaper?
      • Industrial process - removes the limitations of physical bodies from production.
      • Perhaps gendered division worked agrarian production, but how does it make sense in production?
  • Answer:
    • Labor supply
    • Expectations
    • Oppurtunities elsewhere
    • Not the main moneymakers of the family.
  • What does it mean to say that women’s labor is cheaper?

Cult of Domesticity

  • Cultural standards going into evaluating what labor is worth.
  • A man or a woman is doing the same amount of labor.
    • can we say that it’s about production? No.
  • A series of factors go into influencing what women’s labor was worth.

Standards on Social Participation

  • Development of cult of domesticity.
  • Separate sphere standard, ‘cult of true womanhood’
  • Idea that women’s only or natural social role is tied to family, home,a dn domestic considerations.
    • Anything with public involvement (work), politics, intellectual pursuits, etc. seen as outside of her ‘natural sphere’.
  • Severe restrictions and limitations on what women’s acceptable social role was.

Women and Labor Markets

  • Women’s access to labor markets in the early 19th century was highly restricted.
    • Domestic servant (maid, cleaner, cook), as a nurse (medical aid), or a teacher.
    • Limited options.
    • Professional: property, business, politics, law: closed to women.
    • Women did not have full and equal access to the full scope of labor markets.

Industrial Labor

  • Impacted access to labor market.
  • Overabundance and supply in availability for this type of work.
    • There weren’t very many options.
  • In a labor market, when you have a huge labor abundance, the price of labor goes down.
  • A confluence of cultural expectations & cultural standards that influence economic variables.
  • ‘Cheapness’ is being constructed along ideological constructions and the advent of markets being applied to humans.
    • Labor being sold in sets of markets.
    • People’s cultural ideas are influencing this.

Social Impacts of Industrialization: Wages

  • What does it mean, then, to be a factory girl?
  • Example: Time Table.
    • 1868 Time Table of the Lowell Mills
    • Arranged to make the working time 60 hours per week.
    • The standard time will be marked at noon, by the bell of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company.
    • Locking the gates.
    • 12 hour workday.
    • Compelled to certain time restrictions.
  • People were selling wages (a new mechanism)
    • People are selling their labor for a certain amount of time.
    • Not selling a barrel or some artisanship craft, you are selling yourself and your time.

Beauties of Our Factory System - Otherwise, Lowell Slavery

Let oppression shrug her shoulders,
And a haughty tyrant frown,
And little upstart Ignorance,
In mockery look down,
Yet I value not the feeble threats
Of Tories in disguise,
While the flag of Independence
O'er our noble nation flies.

Oh! isn't it a pity, such pretty girl as I
Should be sent to the factory to pine away and die?
Oh! I cannot be a slave, I will not be a slave,
For I'm so fond of liberty,
That I cannot be a slave.
  • Comparison of status as a worker in the factories to slavery.
    • Writing this at a time when chattel slavery actually existed.
  • Relationships of wage.
  • Correct comparison with slavery?
    • Probably not.
    • Not subjected to violence, not really owned.
    • Begs further explanation.

Productivity and Labor Discipline

  • It’s not outside of the realm of reasonableness to make the comparison.

The Lords of the Loom and the Lords of the Lash

  • Being sold and gathered in labor regimes
  • Comparisons between slaveholders and overseers.
  • Foremen looking over your work, you were not independent in how you were doing your work.

The Liberator and Abolitionist Debate

Our wealthy citizens, as a body, are hostile to the interests fo the laboring classes? Is it not found int heir commercial enterprise, which whiten the ocean with canvas, and give employment to a useful and numerous class of men; it is not found in their manufacturing which multiply labor and cheapen necessities... It is a miserable characteristic of human nature to look with an envious eye upon those whoa re more fortunate in their pursuits, or more exalted in their station."
  • Abolitionists debated this.
    • If you’re talking about abolition, include the wage system.
  • Debates in the pages of the abolitionist press: should we include the waged system as part of the system of slavery, or not?
  • Leading abolitionist figure: William Llyod Garrison.
    • Writing to The Liberator: if in favor of abolition, it must not only be African slavery but industrial slavery.
    • Garrison disagreed; believed that the two systems were not comparable.
  • Industrialism produced and rising the tide for everyone, Garrison argued.
    • To say otherwise would be envious.
    • Not fair to proclaim that these institutions are like slavery.

Liberator Debate

  • Published retorts (have an exchange)
  • William West:
    • Similarities between wage system and slavery.
The value and the price of labor have been rated not by the worth of their product, but by the power of those whoc ommand its proceeds, or for whom it is performed - to obtain it, and enjoy its benefits.
You are striving to excite the attention of your countrymen to the injustice of holding their fellow men in bondage and deprivign them of the fruit of their toil. We are aiming at a similar object.

Labor Theory of Value

  • Labor is creating value but not getting its share from the proceeds.

    The labor theory of value (LTV) is a theory of value that argues that the economic value of a good or service is determined by the total amount of “socially necessary labor” required to produce it. The LTV is usually associated with Marxian economics, although it also appears in the theories of earlier classical economics such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo and later also in anarchist economics. Smith saw the price of a commodity in terms of the labor that the purchaser must expend to buy it, which embodies the concept of how much labor a commodity, a tool for example, can save the purchaser. The LTV is central to Marxist theory, which holds that the working class is exploited under capitalism, and dissociates price and value. Marx did not refer to his own theory of value as a “labour theory of value”. -Wikipedia

Fredrick Douglass on Wages

Experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and this this slavery of wages must go down with the other.

  • Should be included in the abolitionist movement, but not exactly the same.
  • We should question the value of ‘little’.

Industrial Women

  • Reworking of the social fabric of American society.
  • Requires transformations of economic and social spheres.
  • Transforms the social role of women.
  • Repeating question: Why were women the first industrial workforce?

Race, Immigration, and Whiteness: Labor Markets and Cultural Constructions


  • Ironworkers Noontime, Thomas Anschutz, 1880.
  • Racially exclusive labor.
  • Are all of the workers white?
  • What does it mean to be white in industrial America?
  • What is the purpose of the painting?
    • Comradarie and rivalry - complexities.
    • Constructions of gender (all male).
  • Central questions: What is whiteness? What are factors that contribute to the construction of race? How have specific definitions of race changed over time? How do structures of immigration, law, and economics make race?
    • Constructions of Whiteness tied to Immigration and Citizenship
      • Naturalization Act of 1790
      • Labor Market competition fosters ethnic/racial divisions
      • Rise of Nativist anti-immigrant movements
    • Comparing Irish and Chinese immigration
      • Different Push/Pull factors
      • Irish Immigrants and Difference
      • Legal standards - 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act
      • Immigrants and racialization
    • Whiteness as a ‘social wage’
      • Whiteness not as a fixed category but as a social construction
      • Pays dividends to its holders
  • The Constitution does not explicitly condone racism.
    • It uses ‘euphamisms’.
  • Legal foundations: Naturalization Act (1790)

    …any alien, being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for a term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

  • Passed at the second session of the First Congress of the United States in New York City on January 4th, 1790, ending August 12th, 1790.
  • The very first explicitly racially stated law.
  • First Congress seeks to define what a citizen is.
    • Ties citizenship to whiteness.
  • Benjamin Franklin:

    the Number of purely white People in the World is proportionally very small. All Africa is black or tawny. Asia chiefly tawny. America (exclusive of the new Comers) wholly so. And in Europe, the Spaniards, Italians, French, Russians and Swedes, are generally of what we call a swarthy Complexion, as are the Germans also, the Saxons only accepted, who with the English, make the principal Body of White People on the Face of the Earth. I could wish their Numbers were increased. And while we are, as I may call it, Scouring our Planet, by clearing America of Woods, and so making this Side of our Globe reflect a brighter Light.

    • Frames race by nationality.
    • Reinforces ideas of Anglo-Saxon self-governing superiority.

Ante-Bellum Immigration

  • 4 million immigrants between 1840 and 1860.
  • Phase 2: 1820-1890
    • 15 million immigrants.
    • Mostly German, Irish, Scandanavians, British.
      • Some Chinese, French, Canadians, Western Europeans.
  • Irish - religiously different.
    • Most of England adopted Protestantism.
    • Ireland remained Catholic after the Roamn Conquest.
    • A distinct group that come to the United States in huge numbers.
  • Ante-Bellum: the period preceding the civil war.
    • Latin: before war (Ante-Bellum), referencing the civil war.
  • Being defined by industrialism.

Early Industrialization

  • Why do historians break it up in this way?
    • Pre 1820, there wasn’t much of an industrial process.
  • What happened in Lowell?
    • The corporations in Lowell needed cheap labor.
    • Hired women because they couldn’t find anyone else.
  • As more immigrants came, they began to hire more immigrants.
  • Ethnic heterogeneity introduced complicating factors.
  • Labor is being sold on markets.
    • Come to do work and would sell that object.


Unions and Economism

  • Herbert Gutman: writes about the immigrant experience in relation to labor.
  • Labor markets: immigrants are coming to search for jobs.
    • Explodes the numbers.
    • 4 million people coming to pre-Industrial New England, flooding labor markets and has a competitive factor.
    • Whoever is willing to work for the cheapest will get the job.
  • Workers are attempting to develop mechanisms to prevent competition from eroding working standards, compensation, and conditions.
    • Limit market access to jobs; thus they can benefit.
  • Unionization is the leading mechanism developed to make this mechanism.
    • In order to work, you must be in a Union organization.
    • Restricts how many people can come work in a workplace.
    • Elevates and raises wages for people who are working by restricting market competititon.
  • Unions emerged as one of the early mechanisms to deal with this.

Unions and Racial Exclusivity

  • Unions used racial exclusivity; union members needed to be white (or not a woman or not black or not Irish, etc.)
  • Excluded populations that would otherwise be competing in the labor market for the same sets of jobs.
  • Unions can form as a market constriction while embracing exclusivities.

Constructions of Working Class Masculinity

  • Competitiveness is contributing to constructing concepts of masculinity in terms of how people navigate the new environment.
  • Constructions center around toughness, conflict, and aggression.
  • Work itself was extremely dangerous.
    • No workplace protections.
    • Safety of workers is not being considered.
    • Industrial accidents and hazards.
    • 30,000 people are being killed a year.
  • Additional competition to ‘muscle out’ other workers in order to gain access to those jobs.
  • Constructions of masculinity in the early 19th century along factors of aggression, competition, and toughness.
    • Proving grit in the face of adversity.

Whiteness Structural Components


  • Access to enfranchisement and legal representation through voting.
  • Favored naturalization legislation.


  • Within labor markets, whiteness is defined through exclusion.
  • Privledged access to jobs, better working conditions, etc.
  • There is real meaning and benefit in being defined as white.
  • Recommending reading: The Wages of Whiteness by David R. Roediger
  • Whiteness becomes meaningful by exclusion from job markets.

Famine Migration and the Legacy of Globalism and Colonialism

The Irish Famine

  • Population of Ireland, 1791-2001:
YearPopulation in Millions
  • A loss of two million people (75% reduction) in just 10 years from 1841 to 1851.
    • Ireland never recovered its pre-famine population.
  • Major push factor: famine.
    • Irish potato famine and environmental catastrophe.
  • Potato famine worsened by monocrop cultures, where everyone plants only one plant.
    • A fungus or a virus spreads very easily.
    • The Irish potato was a staple of the Irish diet.
    • Many of the other lands to produce wheat; was being imported into England to support growing industrializations.
    • Singular diet - the potato - is dying.
  • Famine and poverty, hunger, death.
  • Massive exodus; people left Ireland in droves.

Irish Immigration to the United States

  • Coming to the United States.
DecadeImmigration to the US
Total 1820-20004.7 million
  • Irish immigrants stood out.
    • Practiced a different religion, spoke a different language (Gaelic), looked different, had different family relationships (larger families), dressed different, behaved differently.

Catholicism, Nativism, and the First Anti Immigrant Campaigns

  • Nativism: the idea that white-born Protestant peoples were the native interest. Antagonized immigrants as potential threats to priorities.
  • 1852 flyers for the Boston Patriot, affiliated with the American Patriot Party (recalled as the Know-Nothing Party).
  • Stances (all wording is original):
In Favor OfOpposed To
Protection of American Mechanics against Foreign Pauper Labor.Papal Aggression & Roman Catholicism.
Foreigners having a residence in the country of 21 years before voting.Foreigners holding office.
Our present Free School System.Raising Foreign Military Companies in the United States.
Carrying out the laws of the State, as regards sending back Foreign Paupers and Criminals.Nunneries and the Jesuits.

We are burdened with enormous taxes by foreigners. We are corrupted in the morals of our youth. We are interfered with in our government. We are forced into collisions with other nations. We are tampered with in our religion. We are injured in our labor. We are assailed in our freedom of speech.

  • Religious and political themes.
  • How is fear being generated and expressed politically?
  • Different aspects are being racialized.
    • Not simply social or cultural difference; people thought aboout discrepnacies as racial (biological, inherent to a lineage).

1844 Bible Riots

  • Inn Philadelphia, 1844 Bible Riots
  • Two stages of riots; spring and summer.
  • Untrue rumor that the Catholics would impose teaching the Catholic bible in the school system in Philadelphia.
    • Ran through Protestant communities.
    • Working-class men attacked Catholics in the streets.
  • Burned churches.
  • Catholics tried to arm in self-defense; were attacked by Protestant mobs.
  • Dozens of people killed in the riots.
  • Led to direct conflict in the 1844 Bible riots

The Age of Political Cartooning

  • “Mutual: Both are glad there are bars between them.” Judge 1891.
    • Depicts Cathollics as monkeys dressed in suits.
    • The monkey is glad that it is behind bars.
    • The joke:
      • The Irish Catholic is thankful that there are bars between them because the monkey is dangerous.
      • The monkey is thankful that there are bars betwene them because the Irish Catholic is dangerous.
    • Any 19th century newspaper reader would have recognized the depiction of humans with simian (ape-like) features.
      • Depiction of an Irish person.
      • Irish Catholic and a monkey on the other.
  • Features of Irish Women vs. Anglo-Saxon Women.
    • The exaggerated and simian dehumanizing characteristics were used to racialize features.
  • Puck magazine 1889
    • The mortar of assimilation… and the one element that won’t mix.
    • Depicts a female representation of America mixing a bowl of citizenship pwith the spoon of equal rights.
      • Inside the bowl are representations of the Irish with knives, yelling and screaming.
      • The rest of the portrayals of people in the bowl stay in it obediently.
    • All people ares are being racialized.
    • The point of the comic is the one element that will not mix; highlighting irish difference.
  • Thomas Nast and Harpers Weekly, 1876
    • “The ignorant vote-honors are easy.”
    • Displays a black person and an Irish person as equal on a scale, conspiring.
    • Thomas Nast - the most famous political cartoonist in the 19th century.
    • Displayed as ignorant and serves as a threat to democracy.

Labor Markets, Making Race, and Immigration

  • Enacted in street violence of immigrant peoples.
  • Discussion of building walls around dangerous Chinese peoples who were believed not to be able to assimilate to American standards.
  • Cultural and literal tropes around social differences.

Fragmented Whiteness 1840s-1920s

  • Many races:
    • Anglo Saxon/Nordic Race
    • Celtic/Irish race
    • Hebrew/Jewish/Semitic race
    • Italian/Mediterranean race
    • Slavic/Alpine/Hunky race
  • Whiteness vs. other races.
  • Irish Catholics and Italians are able to claim whiteness.

Blumenbach and the 5 Race Theory

  • Johan Friedrich Blumenbach.
  • Argues for 5 race theory.
    • Caucasian
    • Mongolian
    • Malay
    • Ethopian
    • American
  • Argued that Mt. Caucasus was the birthplace of humankind.
  • Caucasian race spread to Europe and western Asia as far as India. Four other races emerged as less pure variations.
  • Phrenology: study of skulls.
  • Created an entire racial categorization around different skull types; most were imagined.
  • Pseudoscientific discourse changed what it meant to be racial.
  • Caucus mountains.
    • Blumenbach found a skull in the Caucus mountains he found was particularly well formed.
    • Believed that this was the origination of the most beautiful peoples.
    • Origination must have come from the Caucus mountains.
    • Caucasian use of term has carried from this 5-race theory.
    • Has little to do with real human social development and advancement.
  • Racial typology began to take hold.

Is Race a System of Nature?

  • Old science understood races as genetically distinct populations with innate characteristics including different kinds of intelligent.
  • Modern science finds few genetic differences between populations and can’t reliably identify boundaries between races.
  • Social difference is found within social markers.
    • Conflict around social access.
    • Social hierarchy and privledge.
    • The different doesn’t matter - people can sieze upon anything.
  • Variety in human phenotypes falls along a gradient.
    • We cna choose to draw and redraw the meaning of races.
  • Thesis: races are socially constructed; societies draw and redraw the boundaries and change the meaning of races.
    • Juan Gonzalez talks about the gradation of typologies in the Spanish system that led to more racial mixing.
    • Social categories of being mulatto.
    • United States; strict racial typology around being white or black.
  • Race: A human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
  • Ethnic group: A population that is distinguished by culture and identity.


  • Throughout most of American history, whiteness has been a precondition for social and political citizenship.
  • Only whites could readily access full political rights.
  • Only whites could feel unmarked, not different, ‘normal’ in American society.
  • To be nonwhite was to be marked, to be different, and to struggle against barriers to full social and political citizenship.
  • Aspects of culture, religion, skin color in a cauldron that is continually being shaped and re-shaped.
  • In the 19th century, what makes whiteness meaningful?
    • Civil protections (voting, etc.)
    • Job protections
    • Worth fighting and killing for.
  • Immigrants that challenge whiteness were met with fighting and killing.

A Slave Society: Economics and Culture of American Slavery


  • Ransom, Conflict and Compromise. Cambridge UP, 1986.
    • The Economics of Slavery
    • Access image here (requires login to Canvas)
  • Productivity increases: tells a story of violence.
  • A metric - math - that’s showing the:
    • Increasing important of slavery & cotton production
    • Wealth being generated from the cotton trade
    • How profitable it was to run a cotton plantation throughout the modern period.
      • A period of industrialization and urbanization.
    • Slavery remains incredibly profitable; violence drives this value.
  • Graphed the efficiency of the slave system.
    • Measured the degree of violence that was used.

Central Questions

  • Why did slavery persist in American society for so long? Why did it take the character that it did? What factors supported the slave system? What was slavery’s relatinoship to the advent of capitalism? Was the nation a slave society?
  • The transition from colonial to modern slavery
    • Markets and commodites of people
    • The rise of King Cotton
    • Need to Expand, the West, and Indian Removal
  • Capitalist Slavery?
    • Slavery was central to the U.S. economy
      • A ‘rational’ and productive system that was continuall expanding.
  • A Slave Society?
    • Racial, gender, and class system modeled off slavery
    • Paternalist ethos and the cultural justifications for slavery were widely used in American society.


  • This set of lectures will focus on slavery in the ‘modern era’ (19th century).
  • To understand the impact, one needs to think about the economics.
  • Why does slavery become so entrenched in American society?
    • “Slave society” - virtually every aspect of the society (political, social, cultural, economic systems) touched by or designed by slavery.
  • America in the 19th century was a slave society.
    • Hardly much not touched by the institution of slavery in the 1830s, 40s, 50s.
  • Why was it, and how did that come to be?
    • What was the system of slavery?
  • Move from thinking about colonial slavery to modern slavery (modern in “modern world”, post-Enlightenment).
    • Institution lasted into the capitalistic period.
  • An idea that slavery was slow, unproductive, unprofitable, etc; therefore it had to die.
    • Slavery withered and died because it could not compete with industrialization.
    • Is this theory true? Why did it last so long?
    • Relationship of capitalism to slavery.
  • Was slavery antithetical to the rise of capitalism?
  • Was the United States a slave society?

From Colonial to Modern Slavery

  • When we last say the institution of slavery, it was just being developed in colonial Virginia.
    • It was becoming institutionalized in forms of racial hostility and division.
    • Via law and into the economic structure and law - particularly, the Southern colonies.
  • Slavery was practiced in the North (e.g. states slike New York), but was not as important as in the degree it was practiced to in the South.
  • Was being institutionalized in a series of economic changes that racialized the practice.
    • A method of slavery just recently developing.
    • Made it particularly violent.

Capitalist Slavery

  • The system was worked into the governing framework.
    • Worked into the Constitution obliquely.
    • Recognition of slave-state senators, etc.
    • Slavery becomes an important legislative point in the Constitution.
  • Was slavery capitalist?
    • This governs the lecture.

Colonial Slavery

  • Look at already-developing dynamics of colonial period.
  • Defining capitalism as production for profit, and the use of exploitable labor, as well as the distribution via markets, slavery looks like it shares many similar characteristics of capitlaism.
  • Many early slaveowners had a fine calculus in terms of how to maximize ROI for slave purchases and enslaved peoples born on their plantation.
    • Jefferson would calculate how to maximize value out of people born on his plantation.
  • Calculus was at play in the slave system.
  • Led to treating human beings like commodities.
  • Think about slaves in two ways:
    1. Their own commodification.
      • Chasing profit maximization.
    2. Labor productivity.
  • When people are treated as commodities, the logic of commodities are applied.
    • Tight-pack plan for slaves in thhe 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Will see at least some return on investment with this tight-back formation.
  • Loose pack: Portuguese slaveship in the 19th century.
    • Conditions are different; if people have better conditions, more will survive and will have better return on investment.
  • Logic was the same: return over inestment.

End of Colonial Period

  • At the end, the slave population looked like this:
    • Several Southern states that dominated in terms of the slave economy. Were the richest states in the colonial period.
    • South Carolina was the richest colony.
      • Did not have largest number of slaves, however had greatest proportion of slaves per capita.
      • Some counties: >90% of the population were enslaved.
      • In many, a majority were slaves.
  • Environmental history:
    • The institution of slavery was defined by environmental conditions.
    • Where can slaves be put?
  • Tidewater areas: Carolinas and even Georgia.
  • If you were along a river, you could develop inland plantation systems.
  • Dependent on a system confined to the coast.
  • Going inland was not suited for large-scale plantation holdings.
  • Most people thought that slavery would have to die out; it could not traverse the Appalachian mountains.


Long and Short Staple Cotton

  • With the advent of long-staple cotton, this changed. Slavery could expand.
  • Cotton was an important component of textile production.
    • Large markets for this.
  • Cotton is bred to thrive in a variety of environmental positions.
    • Including frostier areas.
  • Is easier to harvest.
  • With the invention of the cotton gin, was able to be harvested in large quantities that made it highly profitable.
  • Richest states shifted from tobacco and rice to cotton.
  • Richest state shifts to Mississippi.
    • Remains so until the Civil War.
  • Long staple cotton can stand frost and does not need to stay in the Chespeake area.

Soil Erosion

  • A few years of very productive cotton harvesting will exhaust the soil.
  • The productive capacity of the society is drastically decreased.
  • Cotton requires lots of water.
    • Soil becomes dry and dusty.
  • Cannot be productive for long periods of time.
  • South Carolina planters/farmers remarked on the conditions.

    Tens of thousands of acres of once productive lands are now reduced to the maximum of sterility. -Resident of SC farmer.

  • With the advent of the pairing of cotton production and the slave system, could be very profitable.

The Need for Expansion

  • Needed to expand to new areas for cotton to be grown on new lands.
  • To maximize productivity, soil and landw as needed.
  • Southern states were eager to push West; territories west of the Mississippi awarded in the Louisiana purchase and the Treaty of Paris.
    • Meant that there were very wide areas that the farmers could access.
  • Were people that were living there.

Indian Removal and Demand for Cotton Lands

  • Initial settlement along the initial very narrowly settled region.
  • British tried to enforce an arbitrary line.
  • Indigenious lands thrived for centuries (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek); had well-established but disrupted adaptive strategies and developed societies in the interior.


  • The Cherokee developed a written alphabet and began to adopt the useful aspects of European technologies for their own language.
  • Translated audible sounds into an alphabet that could be used in a written language.
  • Developed a political constitution in which they governed themselves.
    • Partially based on Western constitutions.
  • Adopted private property. Had titles and bills of exchange.
  • Adopted the leading form of property in the 18th century.
  • Leading marker of achieving “civilized” status: adopted slavery.
    • The Cherokee owned slaves.
  • Would sue in U.S. court and attempted to protect their property claims.
    • Would point to their constitution and their property deeds: “we’re doing it by your rules, here’s where it says that I own this.”
    • American settlers are pushing into the interior, trying to spread this cotton plantation.
    • U.S. courts recognized Cherokee land titles.
    • Went to the U.S. Supreme Court in a series of famous lawsuits and the Supreme Court validated the Cherokee land claims.

Andrew Jackson and Indian Removal

  • President: Andrew Jackson.
    • A famous war general active in the War of 1812.
    • When the Supreme Court went with this ruling, Jackson was intent on pushing further inland.
  • Declared: “that’s a very fine ruling. Let’s see the courts enforce it.”
  • 1820s and 1830s Indian removal that had been held by the indigenious were forced out.
  • Trail of Tears: series of forced marches beginning in 1835.
    • Cherokee peoples are removed from their territories and moved to “Indian territory” (state of Oklahoma).
  • Began the reservation policy system.
  • Forced march: a few Cherokee leaders made an agreement with the U.S. government to leave that few recognized.
    • Troops come to remove Cherokee from their territory.
  • Led march from Georgia to Oklahoma where several thousand Cherokee died in the dead of winter.
  • Was repeated with many different people from the Choctaw to the Seminole, etc.

King Cotton

  • Such removal opens up an enormous swath of territory to expand the slave system.
  • The interior where cotton could grow is pushed far, far westward.
  • Was no longer confined to the coastal systems.
    • Could move far inland along the Southern states.
      • Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio rivers.
      • All were suited for and developed the institution of slavery.
  • Confinement on the Eastern seaboard was no longer a limitation.
  • Cotton and slavery become tied together.
    • Other products became relatively irrelevant.
  • Most plantations - especially those spreading West - are cotton plantations.
  • Emerges as the era of ‘King Cotton’.
    • Cotton becomes an important export crop.

Export and Significance of Cotton

  • Empire of Cotton becomes an important agricultural product for the states.
  • Cotton is the most important export commodity for international trade.
    • Supplies 3/4 of the globe’s use of cotton.
  • Cotton becomes 60% of U.S. exports in this period.
    • Cotton production and trade is important because a nation that develops trade within its national boundaries cannot grow its wealth.
  • Trading produces lots of wealth.
  • Cotton as 60% of the exports has a dominating role in the health of the United States economy - a ‘monocrop’ economy.
    • e.g. based on oil production and sells its products to other countries in return for others.
  • Becomes an extremely important economic factor.

The Second Middle Passage

  • Slavery is drawn much further inland.
  • Populations from Carolinas needed to be marched inland.
  • Charleston to New Orleans slave market.
  • Slave market shifts from Charleston to New Orleans.
    • Moving from the ‘upper south’ (Virginia, Carolinas) into the ‘deep south’ (Mississippi, Arkansas).
  • The “Second Middle Passage”.
  • Thousands of people are being sold across North America.
  • Humans could be sold for profitability.
  • Chains of people being marched across the territory into the Deep South.

Slavery and the Nation

  • Cotton and slavery were fused and were by far the most profitable industries in the United States.
  • We have currently discussed the export of cotton; however, slaves were the leading single asset in the U.S. economy more so than the financial or manufacturing system in the early 19th century.
  • By the 1960s, over 4 million slaves and in aggregate the largest of any real estate property in the U.S.
  • Cotton is the most important export; slaves are the most important asset by value; thus a whole series of industries are developed to facilitate this process of wealth accumulation.
  • Banks are founded in New York, Charleston, Boston to provide capital (financing) necessary.
    • Capital is needed to fund slaves.
    • Bonds for returns on future profits can be made.
    • Innovative financial mechanisms are being created.
    • Insurance: what if the ship sinks and the buyer never pays the planter?
    • U.S. financial industry getting a large boost from the institution fo slavery.
  • Ancillary jobs rise with slavery (auctions, slave-breakers, cotton textile manufacturing, industrial revolution constructed with slavery, banking).
  • The largest economic engine of the New England system: textile manufacturing.
    • Textiles from the South, creating the first industrial corporations in the United States.
  • Manufacturing purchased cotton for extremely cheap prices and converted it into profit to sell.

The Southern Economy

  • Working in the Southern economy meant working around or in association to the slave.
  • Selling agriculture to these hue plantations with hundreds or even thousands of slaves that need food.
  • Making anything - wagons, barrels, baskets, etc. are all used to facilitate the process of cotton harvesting and sale.

Plain Folk of the Old South

  • Not everyone in the South owned slaves.
  • 3/4 of Southern whites did not own slaves (a majority of Southern whites did not).
    • Because of economic relationships, were tied and invested in the slave system.
  • Slavery was so lucrative in terms of the wealth it created and difficult to achieve; owning a slave was like a status symbol.
    • A sign that you had done all the things right; achieving peak social position for many Southerners in the early 19th century.
  • Some resented the plantation owners for their wealth and representation power.
    • Southern planters dominated the political system.
    • Some resented this and were hostile to the Southern planters.
  • West Virginia breaks off from Virginia as a state; had hostility to the slavery.
  • Slavery works its way into American economic growth.

The Planter Class

  • One quarter of planters owned slaves, but most only had a few.
    • Were very few extremely large plantations.
    • Few families (small proportion) owned more than 100 slaves.
  • The slave system was drastically expanding.
  • Become the richest Americans of the area.
  • South: only one quarter of whites owned slaves.
    • If you did own slaves, however, you made it - you were part of the upper class.
    • Slaves that owned many slaves had unparalleled riches; part of the American elite.
    • Has tremendous political influence; were so few because the capital investment is so large.
    • Tremendous capital investment to have multiple slaves; needed access to lots of credit or outright wealth.
  • Enslaved persons can then become access to further credit - can use assets for loans for more productive work to grow profit margins and productive capacity.

Slave System

  • Prime hand: slaves were rated by ‘quality’.
  • A plantation that has 100 enslaved people; a lot of money for the 19th century.
  • While immigrants were living on a few dollars a year, plantation owners had assets worth almost 100k or more dollars only in slaves (not counting other commercial properties).
  • By 1860, 4 million slaves; are largest asset in the American economy

Data: Average Prices of Slaves in States Across Time

Average Prices in Selected Areas for “Prime Field Hands”, 1800-1860


* Values are in dollars. n/a = not available.

Productivity and Labor Discipline

  • Economic pressures impacted what slaves were experiencing.
  • Attempt to manage day-by-day labor; quota system - slavemasters would purchase a slave, the slave would work for a year, and at the end of the year depending on production output would continue to raise quotas.
  • 2% annual increase in productivity of plantations.
    • May not seem like a lot, but means a 4-fold level increase in production per slave.
    • Tremendously productive system.
  • Back to the graph: highly planned and calculated, consciously and intentional.
    • A difficult picture to reckon with, challenging how we think about the institution of slavery and the foundation for modern America.
  • We are not discussing the justifications; with this expansion, it’s a little bit embarrassing.
    • Embarrassed to explicitly put slavery in the Constitution.
    • How to deal with this contradiction? How to justify a system like this?

The Paternalist Ethos and Justifications of Slavery

  • Variety of ways to justify claims.
  • Some were religious: looking for New Testament examples in the Bible to justify slavery.
    • Many justifications did come from the Old Testament as well.
    • One justification - carry a moral sin through lineage; story of Cane and Able as the Curse of Ham.
  • Paternalist ethos
    • Ideas of caring for the people, protector status.
    • A degree of separation even within this portrayal of separation
      • Very present hierarchy.

White Women and Southern Patriarchy

A man loves his children because they are weak, helpless, and dependent. He loves his wife for the similar reasons.

  • So to with slaves; paternalist ethos involves in Southern paternalist ethos.
  • A natural hierarchy based in gender; so to between races.
  • These natural similes of hierarchies were huge justifications for slaveowners.
  • Civilizational grounds: when was there a civilization that achieved greatness that did not practice slavery?
    • It’s never happened; Egypt, Greece, Rome, etc. all societies that utilized slavery as the foundation for what makes civilization possible.
    • How to question? Based in wealth, natural hierarchies, and virtually permanent in society.

Pro Slavery Arguments

  • Not an embarrassment of slavemasters, but instead a point of pride.
  • Proudly forthright and public arguments made to justify the institution of slavery.
    • No shame; argued to be a natural, right, and human system.
  • Counterarguments being made at the same time.

Abolition in the Americas

  • Defenses for hte economic and social system are being made.
  • Slave trade is banned in the US in 1808.
    • Still happening through piracy, but it’s much more difficult.
  • 1838, Britain bans slavery; pays out slavemasters as slaves become free.
  • 1831; publication of The Liberator, the most prominent liberation newspaper in the U.S.
    • Tide of writing is growing and slaveowners are not shying away from this intellectual fight.
  • Hatian revolution; tide of abolitionist sentiment.
    • First and only successful slave revolution in world history.
    • Enslaved peoples of the French colony revolt, overthrow their masters, defeat them, and create a new nation of liberated slaves called Haiti.
  • Pro-slavery arguments were overwhelmingly defensive.

Movements for Liberation: Abolition and Expansions of Freedom


  • Framework for thinking about what those in a political position to struggle against slavery were up against.
    • Who had the interest to undo the slave system?
    • Most people adopted some form of the argument - “It’s natural”, “been with society”, “doesn’t impact me”, etc.
  • Am I Not a Man and a Brother? British Anti-Slavery Society, 1785.
    • Depicts a slave pleading or praying, chained to himself, caption “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?”
    • Physical body - appears as if there are lash wounds; a person who is in torment and in pain.
    • It is significant that he is on his knees.
    • Who is the actor to free the slaves? - free white people of the North.
    • Question of agency and the relationship of power - could slaves themselves? ideas of self-emancipation. Use of language between man and brother: positioned for someone to take off the chains.
    • What is the claim for freedom and liberty?
    • A claim of equality; does not say human but says man.
    • Appeal and claim to masculinity.

Central Claims

Movements for Liberation: Slaves, Women, and Workers

  • Central Questions:
    • What did liberation mean to different segments of American society?
    • How did enslaved peoples, women, and workers veiw freedom? Why?
    • How does ideology operate in society? How do ideas spread and what impact do they have?
    • What agency do the dispossessed have? When is violence justified?
  • Abolition and feminism in the 19th century
    • Abolition and slave agency
    • Abolition and women
  • The Women’s movement
    • Abolitionist women
    • Working women
    • Seneca Falls
  • Workers’ Liberation
    • Debated with the abolitionist movement
  • Class and Disjuncture
    • Civil War and Emancipation
    • Black Agency in the war
    • The Negro’s Hour
  • Key ideas:
    • Looking at the workers’ and women’s movement.
    • Thinking about how these different pushes begin to form a political crisis that ultimately resolves in the Civil War.

America as a Slave Society

  • Slavery is not just a part but a definitional foundation touching practically everything in American society.
  • Difficult to get over the relationship of slavery with the economy; culture, status, politics, etc. tied to the institution of slavery.

Life Under Slavery

  • Depictions coming from slavemasters were inaccurate; looking at the economics we see that violence is rooted inside the system.
    • The “Happy Slave” is difficult to rectify and justify with other pictures.
    • This level of violence is not even given the capricious nature of white supremacy and racism.
    • There is a lot of rage, anger, and anti-black hostilities.
    • Immediate economic justifications: violence could be inflicted at any moment.
  • Things that are obstensibly not violent, but are: e.g. the sale of a child.
    • A whole hierarchy of violence worked into the system.
    • Slave system is being undone; Northenors are becoming from involved into what slavery looks like.

Maintaining Order and Slave Culture

  • Based on the capricious system.
  • Movements for liberation and some autonomy.
  • Degrees of independence and power; also power coming from enslaved peoples.
    • Slavery was a totalizing system, but did not mean that every hour was pure terror.
    • There was some negotiation.
  • Around things that cannot be legislated or controlled: the development of culture.
    • Cultural practices, values, and systems of belief cannot be legislated and regulated.
    • It is difficult, if not impossible, to do so.
    • Slave autonomy - established a space of control for themselves.
  • An entire series of interesting and syncretic belief systems.
    • Syncretic rituals; melding original ideas with new ideas.
    • Americas: the banjo is a syncratic tradition by taking west African gourd instruments (like a squash gourd) and adapting it to the western tin drum.
      • Merges the European snare drums and African strings in a new use.
    • Mixing religious beliefs, wedding practice.
      • Demonstrates a wedding tradition - stick used to dance with comes from a West African tradition of celebrating a new life together by jumping over a branch.
      • Americas - became jumping over a broom, entering a new phase, etc.
      • Example of a syncretic tradition.
      • Blending of types of instruments.
  • Used as a powerful site for resistance and teaching lessons.
    • Lessons of brier rabbit and fox fables.
      • Tradition of cunning, not wishing the worst.
      • Anger and hatred gets both in trouble.
    • Stories of slave practice are just part of the culture and autonomous development of culture.
    • Culture of resistance, survival, intelligence.
      • Values intellect and cunning, not letting emotions get the better of you.

Threat of Sale

  • Degree of power and agency.
  • Sale is unidirectional; the agency and intellect.
    • Feigned illness, etc. to get themselves returned; a degree of slave agency.
  • A violent and totalizing system, but there was a degree of influence in those circumstances.

Slave Religion

  • Enslaved persons cultural practice; slave religion.
  • Like slavemasters that emphasized the Curse of Ham, were told the story of Exodus.
    • Moses leads to the enslaved Jews to the promised lands.
  • Slaves are highlighting different aspect of Christian practice.
    • Hard not to see those practices as forms of resistance; political and social connotations.
  • Image: enslaved person preaching to a congregation, but the master and his family are there as well.

Gospel of Freedom

  • Emphasizes the liberatory and humane practices not only in Exodus but in Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament.
  • Testaments to human freedom and Emancipation.
  • Foundations of Christ’s teachings around the poor and the righteous to be rectified.
  • A resonant idea in Christianity; part of the reason why it spread to quickly in the Roman underclass and the slave tradition.
    • Perhaps as support, but resistance present.

Slave Resistance

  • Embedded in the culture; in actual actions. Not only beliefs and talkings.
  • People resisted the slave system, sometimes a day-to-day resistance that could be acts of sabatoge.
    • e.g. acts of hoeing a field; given the tools to do that, wouldn’t you break the hoes.
    • Stealing food to help someone who was sick.
    • Dissembling or feigning ignorance, sets of day-to-day resistance that were worked into the system.
    • Arguments of laziness part of what is coming into play.
  • Overt actions: running away became increasingly violent.
    • A major part of resistance mainly done by men.
    • Few women ran away. (Why was this?)

Smaller Scale Resistance

  • Individual acts of resistance.
  • Overt forms of resistance; day-to-day and individualized practices of slave resistance.
  • Shirking work; not being told what to do.
  • Sabatoging/lying/feigning ignorance.
  • Seen in ledger books; (Morgan’s argument – slave resistance read as laziness)
    • Overt: running away, an increasing crisis in American society of the 1840s.
    • Thousands of people were running away at significant damage to slave owners (collateral of access to loans, etc.).
    • A significant cost.
    • Slaves running away are becoming an increasing political problem nationally.
    • Trying to assert their form of autonomy; an individual form of resistance.
    • Steal away to get yourself out of the situation; more riskily as a group (easier to track, only as fast as the slowest numbers, etc.)
  • Significant slave uprisings in the systems.
  • Major themes: slave agency, who has the power and interest to end the institution of slavery?
    • Depiction: asking to be liberated by others, is not taking action on their own behalf to make that liberation possible.
    • Truth, Jabobs, etc. are at the center of their activity that generates broader movements in the mid nineteenth century.
  • Really began to have a destabilizing and conflictual role in American society, lead to the civil war.
    • Modern slavery intensified under markets and profitability
    • Focusing not on the system but slave culture.
    • Multiple forms of resistance; syncratic traditions, resistance to social death.
    • In the stories that people told each other.
  • Not overt restistance: cunning, critique of anger.
  • Idea of a greater justice outside of human justice and systems that ultimately will be rewarded by God and will lead to the ultimate liberation.
    • Either in the life afterwards or a new religious figure bringing redemption on Earth.
    • Thinking about this as resistance.

Collective Resistance

  • Collective acts of resistance.
  • Form a work group and refuse to do work.
  • Form rebellions; use the tools and turn them as weapons in an attempt to liberate oneself.
  • A whole series of rebellions in the 19th century that ran apace decade-by-decade.
  • Some form of large scale revolt starting in 1800 with Gabriel’s rebellion, 1811 in the New Orleans Uprising, etc.
  • Collective acts of overt resistance:
    • Individual forms of resistance, but also collective forms of resistance in which groups of slaves would take action against their master.
    • Outright rebellion or revolt; every decade in the 19th century there was a large scale slave revolt that threatened and intimidated the slavemasters that were constantly in the fear of slave resolt.
    • True in majority-black counties (places where the black enslaved population was the majority), but also in places like Virginia and every salve state.
  • 1800 revolt: Gabriel’s Rebellion.
    • Gabriel was a literate salve.
    • Had been organizing with the idea that they would march to Richmond and attack white people; basic outline of the plan.
    • Had been assembling weapons, developing network.
    • Were betrayed; these slaves were captured, executed, or sold.
  • 1811: New Orleans Insurrection.
    • 500 enslaved people who rebelled on the slaveholders on their own plantation.
    • Destroyed property, killed white slaveholders, began to march.
    • Slavemasters encountered the slave insurrection and used firearms to shoot and kill 66 people.
    • Startling admissions: intention of those that were captured were just to kill more white people.
    • Was not shared beyond this.
  • 1820s: Denmark Vesey
    • Charleston, North Carolina.
    • Vesey was a preacher and used his preaching to make connections in the slave quarters, developed revolt.

Large Scale Slave Rebellions

Nat Turner’s Rebellion

  • 1830; was one of the more successful uprising.
    • Nat Turner was a preacher; saw himself as something like a chosen prophet of God.
    • Someone that came to lead his people out of bondage and slavery.
  • Was successful in staging this uprising.
    • Several dozen enslaved peoples sized weapons, killed 60 masters and their families (including children).
    • Strategy was not entirely clear; met with milita and disbanded but not captured.
  • Turner disappears for months; led to furious pursuit and fear of him.
    • Fear that Nat Turner could be anywhere.
    • Could attack and kill more white people.
  • Found, captured, placed in prison, and tried (facing execution).
  • Account from a journalist who interviews him: a rare insight into what happened and what Nat Turner was thinking.
    • Gives an account of his life full of religious symbolism; a ‘chosen prophet’; felt a calling to liberate his peoples and to lead them in ‘redemption’.
    • Turner’s response to doubt: “Was not Christ crucified?”
    • Turner is tried and executed.

Gender Divide in Slave Rebellion

  • Couple hundred women involved in the uprising and took arms.
    • Not as much as men; these men are leading the revolts
  • Mainly men that did the running away, examples of men running south.
    • Some women run away, but it was mainly men.
  • Many speculation about why this is, women perhaps felt more tied to family and children.
    • Perhaps had a degree of power (Jacobs’ piece; grandmother is a position of power)
  • Women were not in fact not resisting in their own ways.
  • Daily actions of stealing food, other forms of individual resistance were common to women.

Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman

  • Truth was enslaved in New York; spoke from a long Dutch tradition (Dutch accent). Questions about the authenticity of the Am I a Woman Speech.
    • Is promised freedom by her master if she works for him in a single term.
    • New York outlaws it; the slavemaster lied to her in an attempt to get her working for further years.
  • Truth flees but decides to leave 5 of her children; took an infant and the other children
  • Becomes an orator to speak from her experience and to persuade people. Takes on a taken name (takes on a religious awakening and takes up her political movement work around political religious beliefs; is able to get the money to buy back her freedom.
  • The master had actually sold her children down to the deep South in retaliation.

  • Tubman disagreed with the notion of persuading people that slavery was bad and needed to be undone.
  • Opinion: we need to take action to free as many slaves as possible.
    • Will never be possible to convince white society that change is possible.
  • Led dozens of raids, making repeated trips to liberate poeple.
    • Began with her family members.
    • Led raids that would free people in groups, an extremely risky and rare move.
  • One of the most hated figures of the South, one of the main reasons why the fugitive slave law is passed.
  • Frees hundreds of people; once, freed 700 people at a time in South Carolina on a plantation by the river.
  • Extremely militant and dedicated to large slave rebellion.

Movement for Abolition

  • Emerging movement for abilition founded in slave self-activity (slaves running away and telling their stories, leading more poeple, having more of an impact on the Christian beliefs in Slavery)
  • White people became activists and movement politics around ending the institution of slavery.
  • Some of the earliest are two sisters, Sarah Grtimke and Angelina Grimke.
    • Daughters of slaveowners in South Carolina.
    • Grew up with the slave system and came to see it as antithetical to their Christian beliefs.
    • Some of the frist people to decry it publically; went on speeches and made the argument against slavery.
  • A growing trend of white activism.

Quakers and the Christian Abolition

  • Grimke sisters came into Quaker abolitionist circles.
  • Quakers are known as a society of friends; emphasis on horizontal relationships betwene people and with God.
    • Do not need a preacher, pastor, etc. to have a direct relationships with God and other people.
  • Very prominent in the state of Pennsylvania, north of the slave states Maryland and North Carolina.
  • Slaves found the Quaker tradition, were interested in this horizontal, friend-based social relationships.
  • Saw slavery as a moral violation of Christian principles.
  • Many Northern abolitionists were Quakers.
  • Even still, the white abolitonist movement was not perfect.
    • Many abolitonists saw slavery as wrong, but did not see blacks as being equal as whites in any way.
  • Slavery is ended, something needs to be done to the slaves, a ‘pushing out’ in essence.
    • End slavery, then do something with black people as they are not fully equal.
    • Common solution: Colonization.


  • Sending black people back to Africa where they can have their own society and not be part of American society. ``` …unconquerable prejudice resulting from their color, they never could amalgamate with the free whites of this country. It was desirable, therefore, as it respected them, and the residue of the population of the country, to drain them off.
  • Henry Clay, leading American politician and abolitionist ```
  • Slowly end the process of having African Americans in the Americas.
  • Solution: get rid of the source of the prejudice out of their respectability.
  • An example of justifications for slavery with the paternalist ethos.

Gradualist Abolition Before 1830

  • Theodore Weld and Arthur Tappan
  • Steeped in these ideas.
  • Certainly oppposed to slavery on the moral grounds and wanted to see it end.
  • However, were not commited to black equality in that they saw blacks as inherently inferior to weights.
    • A contradiction of creating society without societally fit peoples.
  • Participated in a series of activities of the 1820s or so with abolitionists along these lines.
    • Still, faced backlash: public ridicule and outrage.

Slavery and Moral Suasion

  • Moral suasion; you need to eventually convince enough people that this system is wrong, that we need to do something else.
    • We should slowly end the system and can have a slow process of abolition
    • Potential gradualist solutions: anyone born after this date will be free, some payout system, etc.
  • Morally wrong, need to convince enough people of the moral wrongs of slavery.

  • Into the 20th century, some African Americans embraced the idea of colonization.
  • Argued of the inherent and irremovable racism in the system.
    • Some argued change was not possible and not worth provoking, developed plans for going somewhere else and creating their own society.
  • A popular idea throughout the twentieth centry.
    • Liberia - founding a nation for free enslaved peoples.
  • More than just talk; people were involved in this process.
    • Gradualist pacifist motions.

William Lloyd Garrison and the Liberator

  • 1830s; intransigent, uncompromising, righteous, activists who denounced gradualism as passive and took action.
    • Argued that the institution of slavery was too horrendous to be gradualist; need to undo this immeidately, no compromise.
  • Argued that this was the top priority for morally conscientious people.
  • William Lloyd Garrison was the publisher of the Liberator, part of a militant abolitionist perspective.
  • Put forward the claim fo immediatism, a leading white figure of abolitionism.
  • The Liberator was very important; circulated around 100k people.
    • However, in a country of 20m people in the North and 9m in the South. ``` “I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and to hasten the resurrection of the dead.”
  • William Lloyd Garrison ```
  • Very few white people; The Liberator reader numbers were very small.

American Anti Slavery Society

  • Abolitionist sentiments were not widespread or widely held;
    • Nevertheless are militantly committed to the righteousness of their cause and of taking action.
  • Begin to found organizations that advocate for moving tpwards anti-slavery in a series of ways.
  • The American Anti Slavery Society, founded in 1839 working politically and legislatively, attempting to get petititons sent to the government.
    • Thinking about a timeline, fazing out, partial emission, etc.
    • All kinds of attempts to function in a more direct, political, ideological, and moral way.
  • Slave accounts were often published by press as part of political propaganda to indicate the evils of slavery.
  • Methods are being developed during this time to further push the envelope.

Abolition, Citizenship, and Freedom

  • A new kind of ideological conception of freedom, claims to rights, synthesis of ideas that we have seen, etc.
  • Perhaps there are moral claims outside of legal standards for what is righteous and good.
  • Maybe if we are not thinking strictly religiously, we can think of it being inherent to mankind.
    • Perhaps call them “sets of rights” inherent to humanness.
    • Everyone should have access to and should not be denied.

Universalistic Conceptions of Liberty

  • An emerging univeralistic conception of liberty; one that is not tied to any sets of limitations like reason, etc.
    • You can say that one of the bases is the new intellectual tradition and new sets of writings, ideas, and histories.
      • Declaration of Independence (document that had been forgotten in the American legal tradition; not a legal document or a foundational legal piece, was written at the height of the Revolutionary War as a political statement).
      • A formerly enslaved black man - David Walker - uncovered the document as part of claims for immediate revolution.
      • All men have rights; a synthetic tradition being chrystallized to create new antiracist traditions.
  • Walker is rediscovering tradition of putting new interpretation and synthesis of these ideas around universalistic claims of rights, drawing on the past.

Abolition and Race

  • Needed to be around questions of race; pro-slavery arguments like moral, Christian, civilizational, based on rights, etc. boils down to enslaved peoples are inferior.
  • Abolitionists fought against the root-level idea that enslaved peoples were inferior.
  • Pro-colonization claims (are inferior but perhaps slavery should end) begin to be undone in the 1830s to 1840s.
    • Proof: oratories, traditions, intellectual ideas, legislative documents, etc.
    • Attempting to articulate this set of ideas.
    • Producing new claims about race; coming to argue against racial inferiority and to challenge pseudoscience notions of phrenology, etc.

Militant Abolitionism

  • David Walker: wrote an appeal, political tract that re-introduced the Declaration of Independence and a more universalistic tradition of rights beyond specifying rights.
  • After publication, was mysteriously killed/died for reasons historians are not entirely sure about.
    • Perhaps in retaliation for his political work.
  • What emerges: type of militant abolitionism that is uncompromising, highly moral and self-conscientious, and for full claims of equality.
    • Not half-baked and gradualist like early intellecutal contributions.

Direct Action and the Underground Railroad

  • Led to direct action and work; Tubmanw as a leading figure in the underground railroad.
  • John Brown participated in Underground Railroad operations.
  • In Canada, he tried to stage an army to go back into the US to liberate more salves that led to the Harpers Ferry raid.

Harpers Ferry and John Brown

  • Was in discussion with Frederick Douglass.
  • Brown tried to encourage Douglass to participate; Douglass didn’t know that it would work (but supported it in its righteousness).
  • How to end this system entrenched in American society, politics, and economics could be ended with a few dozen?
  • Brown’s raid indicates the escalating militancy of abolitionism.
    • Small, but were not waiting around for gradualist change.
    • Had been involved in decades’ worth of political work and not seeing much movement.

Retaliation to Abolitionism

  • Physical violence, threats.
  • Boston: William Llyod Garrison is almost lynched.
    • Marched into the commons with a noose around his neck becuase he was so unpopular in the North.
    • Leading liberal city in the North
  • Antislavery building is burned to the ground by angry mobs.
  • Civil wars; white residents against black residents in New York.
    • Agains the cause of joining civilization.
  • Printing presses attacked.
  • Abolitionists faced tremendous hostility and outright violence.

Conflict in the Northern States and National Legislative Bodies

  • Abolitionists/Northernors are not necessarily the same.
  • Did not want to do much about it; many thought slavery was in fact right.

Mail Ban

  • Thinking about this politically; Congress refused to take any action.
  • Laws would prevent abolitionists from sending newspapers in the mail that was guaranteed.
  • Anyone could get their newspaper published in one state or colony and have it distributed anywhere for the free exchange of ideas.
  • Congress moves to ban the distribution of abolitionist ideas in the mail system.
  • Could be siezed and destroyed.

Gag Rule

  • Banned the discussion of slavery on the Congress floor.
  • Any persons or citizen can petition their government of redress; Congress must address it.
  • 1840s; Congress refused to do so, banned the introduction of any abolitionist petitions, readings, and ideas from being read on the floor.
  • Clear Constitutional violations.

Abolitionist Women

  • What does this allow you to do?
    • Cannot vote, cannot run for office, cannot petition the government, cannot write about it
    • Are met with angry mobs disrupting your ability to speech, burning down buildings, attacking the press, etc.
  • Abolitionist women are encountering hostility from Americna society for even speaking on the issue.
  • “Am I not a woman and a sister?” (1830s after the British Anti-slavery Society Medallion).
  • Adapting the abolitionist movement from male-centric standard to women’s emancipation and equality on those terms.
  • Women and men both deserving of rights.
    • Universal human claims to autonomy, independence, freedom, and soforth.
  • Overwhelming majority of people who ran away did not becomie movement activists.
    • Try to get a job in the North and not be involved in the level of engagement as political activists.
    • Could integrate into Northern society - still segregated - but could get work as laborers, as homeworkers, as domestic servants, etc.
  • Industrialization happening at a similar time to this.
  • Grimke sisters began to lecture; congregationalists and clergy wrote a public letter against women.
    • The thing that gives women power is defference, moral standing, etc.
    • Erodes standing in society.
  • Angelina Grimke writes about the status of slaves to the status of slaves and of women.
    • Began to challenge these notions as well.
    • Changing mentality, consciousness of what conditions of slavery mean.

London 1840 Anti Slavery Convention

  • Worldwide antislavery convention held in London.
  • England banned slavery in 1833.
    • Undid the colonial slave system; remaining large practioner of slavery is the United States.
    • Host a convention in which many leading antislavery activists were expected to speak.
    • (Brazil continued to practice slavery past the United States, had a horrendous slave system; Portguese slavery.)
    • First resolution past disallows women to serve as delegates or to speak at the floor.
    • Women that spent weeks on a boat to have the experience were not allowed to participate.
    • Foundational moment; basis for the emergence of the womnen’s question.

Seneca Falls

  • Founded by activists; Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1840 comes back to the US; in 1848, has organized a women’s rights convention in New York.
  • Looking at slavery; looking at women’s role in society.
  • Drafted: requesting property ownership, divorce, and the right to vote.
    • A contested thing.f women’s rights in tandem.

What is Liberation?

  • How do we define terms of what liberation is and what it means to be free?
  • A number of different segments of American society from enslaved peoples themselves.
  • Women - middle-class, abolitionist reformers, enslaved women, Northern manufacturing workers - all generating claims around liberation.
  • Forms of liberation that looked different for each segment of American society yet were nontheless collectively pushing political and intellectual boundaries.

Forms of Resistance

  • In the face of this power and oppression; what is justified?
    • Ignoring effectiveness. What is reasonable?
    • What role does violence play in this?
    • Is it righteous? Is it effective?
    • Questions women of the women’s rights movement and formerly enslaved peoples were facing.
  • Brown: it is time to rise up and revolt. Douglass: I’m not sure; maybe it’s right, but will it work?
  • Who has the social power to address these wrongs?
    • Who can make this happen, and by what means?
    • Challenging questions that abolitionists and free peoples struggled with during these decades.
    • Frederick Douglass was part of this convention; encouraged the right to vote.
  • Is ridiculed and faced many hostility.
  • Many women took their name off the initial Declaration.
  • Nontheless became a foundation for a parallel movement of women’s rights in tandem.

Civil War: Politics and Control of the State


  • Considering the far-reaching impacts of the slave system that had tentacles into many aspects of American society.
  • Who has the power and desire to end the slave sytem?
    • What do you do?
    • How do you go about it?
  • Map: Reynold’s Political Map of the United States, Republican Party, 1856.
    • Making the claim that Republicans would prevent the expansion of slavery.

Central Question

  • Central question: what caused the Civil War? What brought about the abolition of slavery? Was the Civil War fought for the cause of protecting the institution of racialized slavery, or to end it?
  • A dividing society
    • Differing expectations over the extent of slavery in the U.S.
    • Free soil ideology
  • Conflict over Expansion
    • Missouri Compromise, Wilmot Priviso, ineffective attempts at political solutions
  • Slaveocracy: control over the federal government
    • Who would control the reigns of power in Washington D.C.?
  • The War that slaves made
    • Who had the interest to end slavery?
    • The Emancipation Proclamation and a wartime necessity

Slave Resistance

  • Consider: Nat Turner and John Brown.
  • Really? - did it take violence to end slavery?
    • How did they envision such an revolt against a massive system?
    • What will it take to undo a sytem like this?

Free Soil Argument

  • To understand what became the Civil War, one must consider what was happening in the Northern and Southern states.
    • Important piece: the emerging political claim of Free Soil Movement, Ideology, etc.
  • Basis coming from Northern farmers.
    • Growing at an exponential rate - exploding.
    • By 1860, there are ~20 million people.
  • Bursting at the seams of Northern cities; Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc.
  • Idea: people would come work in the cities, then get access to the land of the West and sieze more land for independent farming.
  • To create a homestead, how can one compete with slave labor?
    • A homestead next to a plantation will fail.
    • The plantation does not need to pay the slaves or a standard of living a farmer created for themselves.
    • A plantation benefited from an economy of scale.
      • Hundreds or even thousands of people are contributing to the labor, producing more efficiently and cheaply.
    • Homesteaders had no chance of competition with slaves; economic viability in danger.
  • Developed the notion that the States of the West had to be free states.
    • Mixed/split/allowed slavery: would completely destroy the homesteader’s way of life.
    • Could not compete economically; rallying cry for Free Soil.
    • Ensuring the lands of the West were committed to independent labor.
  • Missouri Compromise - limits expansion of slavery northwards.
  • Told slavery to stay in the South, perfectly happy to keep slavery.

Economic Growth and the Cultural Transformation

  • Northern wheat farmers would sell to the South, etc.; the economics were linked to some inextricable degree.
  • However, the system of producing this was quite different.
  • The emphasis on yoeman husbandry in the North was more significant.
  • Was a key political claim, and likely true.

1846 War with Mexico

  • 1840: what is the Southwest of the US was the Northwest of Mexico.
  • In the 1820s and 30s, question of expansion wasn’t too much of a concern.
  • South is running out of space, but hit another country; the rate of expansion for the North was much more vast.
    • The North had a greater need to expand.
    • Slavery would have been confined to the South; the North could have continued their homesteader vision and support institutions of popular democracy.
  • 1840s: a quick, bloody, and decisive war occurs exactly over this question of expansion.
  • President elected in 1844 - James Polk - was a slaveholder.
    • Is perhaps the only president to have traded slave from the White House.
    • Was elected on the platform of siezing California; wanted to connect the United States coast to coast.
  • California was a jewel of trade and agricultural production.
  • Attempted to purchase CA from Mexico, but Mexico rejected.
    • Polk siezed the land instead through war.
  • War came with the benefits of Calif., Nev., Utah, and Ariz.
  • Came from an independence movement in Texas, driven by Anglo-Americans that had established slave plantations against the law of the Mexican government.
  • Mexican government invited settlers, but the slaveowners that came refusedd to Mexican law.
  • Main thing Polk wants is California, but meanwhile there is a conflict in Texas; is used to achieve California.
  • This war disrupts the assumptions of limited expansion, leading to the Civil War.

Breakout of the War

  • White settlers are settling in Texas and bringing slaves; by 1830 outnumber Mexican-born peoples by 2:1 or even 3:1.
  • Civil War happens in Mexico, fighting over who will be politically dominant.
    • Texan slaveholders build off that momentum to build their own republic to practice slavery.
    • Mexico is not able to claim it back, but never recognize Texas as an independent country.
  • 10 years later, Texan petition to be a state and the US recognizes them.
    • Polk sends in federal troops to Texas; the Mexican government sends troops into Texas as well.
  • Polk begins a declaration of war.

Results and Conclusions

  • Decisively win, invade the Mexican capital, conquer the government.
  • Force a harsh peace treaty in which they claim a third of the Mexican nation, all the way to California.
    • Connecting Texas to California.

Problems of the Empire

  • Our initial map: opened up the Southern territory, meant that the Southern US had to answer a question of who and what would settle.
  • Plantation owners know they cannot do plantations in the desert; end the Missouri Compromise, allow for settlement into Northern and Southern territories.
    • Viewed as the determining provocation in the war.
  • America is thinking of itself as an empire of democracy and enlightenment, individual freedom, etc.
    • Ideological grounding in expansion: all sorts of economic factors pushing U.S. settlement out.
    • Cotton production and the expansion of slavery (acquiring new fertile lands).
    • Slave plantations are looking to expand upon the South.
    • North is seeing a population explosion, many immigrants coming looking for work.
      • Thinking: cities cannot handle millions of people, need to expand West.
      • Homestead Act - delegate property to those that have it.
      • 1860: 20 million people, millions of people streaming into the west to fulfill hometeads.
    • Adams Family: thought America would conquer Cuba and the Carribean; notion of there being no limit to US expansion.
  • Territory is opened up and threatens to undo the Miouri Compromise.
    • Slavery could not expand upon it, but Southerners are pushing against it.
    • Southern plantations had, for instance, siezed Texas.

Wilmot Proviso and Compromise of 1850

  • Stated that any new territories from the war could not have slavery.
  • Completely voted ground; Southern votes controlled the house and the Senate.
  • Created a new compromise: Compromise of 1850.
  • Allowed California to not be a slave state, but allowed everything else acquired during the Mexican War (New Mexico, Arizona, etc.) can be opened for slavery settlement.
    • Led to further reversals.
  • Wilmot Proviso fails and is changed by the Compromise of 1850

Kansas Nebraska Act

  • Another reversal/redefinition: Congress allowed territories to decide by popular vote if they would be free or slave states.
  • Allowed Nebraska and Kansas to have a rush of settlement from slave and free-staters to establish them as free/slave states.
  • Led to violence as each side tried to drive out the other.
  • Plantation owners would settle and drive out small farmers, retaliated with massacres.
    • Late 1850s (including John Brown) who were shooting it out in the open territory of Kansas.

Fugitive Slave Law and Abolition

  • Congress passes 1850 Fugitive Slave Act.
    • Requires Northern states to return fugitive slaves.
    • Slaves escaping at the rate of thousands a year.
  • Extensive network of those funneling slaves into the North and Canada.
  • Southernors losing hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
    • A major concern.
  • Through control of Congress, pass a law that requires Northern states to return slaves.
  • Accused people had no right to a jury or someone to testify on their behalf.
    • A free person would not petition or change the decision.
  • Northern states needed to pay people to capture and return escaped slaves.
    • Before, they could say that if people came there, then so be it.
  • Now, they are required to support slavery.
    • Seem to be an encroachment on their agency.
  • Fugitive slave act is passed.

Slave Power

  • Essentially, Southernors controlled the federal government; slavemasters in particular.
  • The South has a much smaller population than the North (maybe 9 million people, vs 20 million people).
  • Number of slave states and free states was paired for Senatorial representation, equal.
    • Vote could be closer divided, Southern states only needed to convince one Northernor with them to pass these.
  • In the House, because of the 3/5 clause, an enslaved person counted as 3/5 of a vote. Slaves were being counted towards electoral votes without having any say in the proces.
    • Southern slaveholders have a huge electoral advantage based on this system.
    • South controls the House and the Senate.
  • Have virtually every American preident in the period before the Civil War.

Control of the Government

  • Control of the presidency of slaveowners meant that they controlled the Supreme Court, appointing pro-slavery justices throughout the 19th century.
  • Northerners begin to call this the “slave power” or the “slaveocracy”.
  • Fairly undemocratic control of government by Southern plantation owners that they couldn’t break; kept on losing.
  • Kept on becoming more and more egregious; perhaps the Missouri Compromise was reasonable, and if it was untouched, slavery would have continued far longer.
  • As Southernors continued to push slavery, they began to antagonize Northern political actors.
  • Especially in the House, had sympathetic Northern politicans that voted with Southern politicans (called “dough-faces” - soft and easily malleable in votes).
  • Compromises are undone, the Fugitive Slave Act is passed, and there is hope that the Courts can undo some of this.
    • However, the Courts are controlled by slaveowners.
    • 1857; Supreme Court passes a decision known as the Dred Scott Case.

Dred Scott

  • Enslaved in Missouri, one of the Northern slave states.
  • Taken out into an obstensibly free territory with no laws enforcing slavery.
  • Dred Scott declares himelf free; emancipates himself.
  • His slavemaster sues; do the Northern states need to recognize slavery passed in their own territories?
  • Supreme Court rules with the slavemaaster; says that free states not only need to recognize the institution of slavery, but does not need to recognize the political rights of black people at all.
    • Said that black people were not intended to be included under the word ‘citizen’ that provides sets of rights like the ability to sue in court.
  • It was found egregious at the time, yet another overreach by Southernors eager to protect this institution.
  • Southern “fire-eaters” politicians - would not even tolerate a question or debate on slavery; to question the morality of slavery would be to shake their entire world view and principles.
    • Many were elected officials; would produce the gag rule, fugitive slave law, etc. to squash any debate or compromise on slavery.

The Republican Party and Free Labor

  • Many Northernors began to become frustrated.
    • The South could not be imposing their values of slavery against the free states.
    • The North decides not to practice slavery, needs to be negotiated with on the expansion of slavery.
  • The bulk of the expansion West needs to be free.
  • Was the basis for the Republican Party; was not against the Institution of Slavery but against the slaveocracy.
    • Against slavemaster being able to dictate national policy.
  • Northern industry wanted high tariffs on their industries; conflicts over the economic issues and foreign policy issues on the question of expansion.
  • Northern political interests had become frustrated enought to advocate for the limiting of slavery and spreading of free labor.

The Election of Lincoln

  • In 1860, they run a senator from Illinois; Abraham Lincoln who wins.
  • Wins without a single Southern electoral vote. Wins with no Southern votes at all.
  • The South declare that they are leaving the Union and declaring themselves their onw nation.
    • Was a four-way race, not just between the Northern or the Southern candidate.
    • Was a Northern democrat running, for example.
  • Urban populations would vote Democrat, the vote got fractured; Lincoln was able to carry all of the Northern state.
  • Why did the South secede? Republicans are not actually opposed to slavery but the South just leaves.
    • Even if they didn’t believe Lincoln was about to take slaves, the writing on the wall was there; the growing majority would eventually take over and take control of the government.
    • No tolerance for this; the propagandist element.
    • Many states seceded before the inauguration.
    • Lincoln’s policy: keeping the Union together, regardless of slavery being practiced or not.

The Secession Crisis

  • South Carolina goes out first, state militias in Southern states are siezing federal property.
  • When a resupply ship goes to a federal base in the South, it is attacked by these militas and prevented from refueling.
  • Federal troops and southern militias are shooting against each other, in a Civil Conflict.
  • Several Southern states go out a well as a respond to pruported Northern aggression.
  • Fighting occurs at Fort Sumnter.
  • Not all the slave states join the Confederacy - four slave states (‘Border states’) remain.
    • Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Deleware.
  • Important, because the capital of the nation is sandwiched between Virginia and Maryland.
    • Keeping the Maryland and other border slaves in the Union were very important.

The First Modern War

  • In previous eras, kings, emporers, governments could assemble an army and have them go fight somewhere.
  • This was a war that had met the industrial process and met industrialization.
  • First war to happen on the other side of industrialism.
  • The ability to produce vast amounts of weaponry and war technology, applying industrial technologies to mechanisms of death, like machine guns, means that the ability to kill is greatly expanded.
  • New technologies means that not muskets or even rifled muskets are being used; guns could be fired much faster and were much more accurate.
  • With that new scale of killing, new people had to step up to that place.
    • New people, new materials, new uniforms, new weapons, etc. need to be done.
    • Tranportation to mobilize the entire army.
  • Society needs to be mobilized to make the new war effort possible.

The Technology of War

  • The mobilization efforts to win the war underwent a technological revolution.
    • The longer the war, the more it favors the North.
  • However, the South has slave labor, which the North does not have.
  • Were hoping that slave labor could make the difference, and relied on that for their production.
  • The first modern war is by far the deadliest war in United States history.
  • Over 600,000 people are killed in the 5 years.
    • Greater than all other U.S. wars combined.
    • Only recently have those numbers reached parity.
  • Older war tactics are meeting new war technologies and leading to a horrendous outcomes.

The War that Slaves Made

  • The notion of Contraband Camps: what first happens in 1s and 2s become dozens and thousands of slaves.
  • Definitive towards forcing emancipation; this becomes a crucial war aim.
  • The Southern society needs slaves as its one advantage and forces the North to recognize emancipation.
  • Pay close attention to what is happening in the Emancipation Proclamation.

Recontruction & Redemption: Contested Meanings of Freedom


  • Political Map of the United States, Republican Party, 1856: message that Republicans will be surrounded if slavery is not expanded.
  • Care about breaking the slave power; did not want new federal guidelines on the question of slavery.
  • The expansion of slavery, not slavery itself, started the Civil War.
  • This week’s painting: A Visit from the Old Mistress, Winslow Homer, 1876.
    • Shows the newfound power of the slaves, independence.
    • Reflects a tension, confusion, and an uneasiness; what is the power dynamic now?
    • The color palette reflects how foreign the mistress appears.
    • All women in the painting; significant and relates to the Jacqueline Jones reading from the week.
    • Thinking about the gendered difference in freedom.
  • Some degree of equality, but the conditions are obviously inequal. What is the relationship between equality and inequality? - how much have things changed?
  • Central questions: What caused federal reconstruction? What was the role of northern whites, freed peoples, and former slave owners? What is the role of the state? And how did formal & substantive rights play out in Reconstruction?
  • Post War Questions
    • What would happen to the south, and to the newly freed people?
    • How to rebuild - why to rebuilt - a devastated south?
  • Three sets of interests
    • Freed people, Northerners, and Former Slave Masters had different interests.
    • These were at once economic, social, ideological, and political.
  • Compromise and contention
    • Revolution in Law and Society: 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments
    • Meaning and extent of these reforms?
  • Civil War continued
    • Colfax Massacre: continuing conflict in the South
    • The 1877 Great Railroad Strike: New Conflict in the North
  • Reconstructing the South; questions of how the South will be reconstructed economically (destroyed after the Civil War) and what freedom means substantively.
    • Formal or substantive rights? What does it mean to be free? Is it a hair above slavery or a radical change?
  • Why did Reconstruction go so poorly?

The End of the War

  • How did the war end?
  • The Civil War began as a totalizing, the first ‘Modern War’.
    • War effort in which entire resources of society were mobilized to put troops in the field to continue fighting for an unprecedented loss of human life.
    • To win the war, one needed to completely destroy those sytems of production that made the war possible.
  • Du Bois: the “General Strike” of enslaved peoples eroded the South’s ability to produce; when the North recognized this, the war turned.
    • The North learned it could win when it embraced these slaves, turned their infastructure against the South.
    • Warred with their ability to war.
    • Destroyed harbors, bridges, railroads, plantations, etc.
  • William Sherman, North General.
    • Waning days of the war; launched a devastating attack on Southern infastructure in Sherman’s March to the Sea.
    • From Atlanta to Savannah, with troops fanned out in a one-mile line, destroying everything they came across.
    • Partly because of the nature of modern warfare and because of the ‘arrogance’ or ‘stupidity’ of the Southern leadership to refuse to recognize when they had lost.

Postbellum Questions

  • Post war questions; the infastructure and necessities of modern living are gone.
  • What would become of the social order of the South?
  • Questions that emerged at the end of the war as the scope of what had happened in the Civil War became more clear: how do we deal with this?
    • The South isn’t just “part of the country”, was the leading economic producer in the United States up to the 1860s.
    • Major part of the US economy had been destroyed; how do we reconstitute this region as a viable economic entity?
      • A leading question.
  • What does rebuilding the South/the “new South” look like?
    • Immigrants, wage workers? Should cotton be reestablished? Will it be as close to the plantation system as before?
    • Significant questions the nation attempts to grapple with.

Wartime Reconstruction

  • Differing ideas about what and how Reconstruction would look like.
  • The Sea Island Experiments; islands off the Carolinas in which entire plantations were liberated.
    • Northern generals didn’t want to “deal” with the population, so told slaves to cultivate the land and organize themselves.
    • Sherman issued “special field order no. 15”, which guaranteed enslaved peoples parcels of land from their former owners.
    • Not compensation, but instead the ability to make a new living.
    • Is the “Wartime Reconstruction”; generals making these types of decisions.

Federal Reconstruction

  • Wartime Reconstruction until Lincoln is assassinated in 1865 and the new president, Andrew Johnson, begins to take back those promises.
    • A tension in the South about what it means to rebuild; different sets of interests.
    • i.e. Northernors mediating between white Southernors and freedmen.
  • Depicts the federal government as present neutrally, but they had their own interests as well.
  • Sets the stage for lack of redistribution of land.
  • Will wages be paid for agricultural war? Develops the period of Federal Reconstruction.
  • Central institutions of Federal Reconstruction: Freedman’s Bureau. Acted as a mediator between angry mobs of hostile whites and blacks.
  • A self image of standing between the two was not entirely accurate; each had specific images.
    • Needed to fight over what the period of Reconstruction would do.
  • Was tasked with establishing meaningful freedom for enslaved people.
    • A former plantation owner would come to the Freedmen’s Bureau and complain; the Bureau would attempt to resolve conflicts.
    • Mediated relationships between plantation owners and freedpeoples.
    • Helped establish free peoples on some kind of independence.
  • A program of land redistribution as part of the federal policy of winning the war that was taken back and wasn’t given to fruition.
  • Was not that it didn’t spread; those parcels of land were returned to former slavemasters.

Agenda of the Freedmen


  • Freed people wanted, most importantly, was reconstituting the black family.
    • Family relationships had been destroyed and separated throughout the process of selling.
    • Very notably after the war ended: thousands of people began walking to locate their family members.
  • Attempted to reconstruct those family relationships, and to reunite with lost loved ones.
  • Did it similarly to what du Bois calls the “general strike”: got up and left, did not wait for any federal order or for someone’s permission.
    • A significant piece of what slavery meant.
  • Was only one piece.

Independent Churches

  • Particularly, churches became black institutions.
  • An extremely important aim of black freedom for former slaves.
  • Nat Turner’s Rebellion: saw himself as a prophet; his role was a preacher. Talked to different enslaved communities, but meanwhile was using this to organize rebellion.
    • Slave states outlawed slaves to meet even for religious purposes without a white overseer.
    • Sometimes, meant white preachers only.
    • Did not allow black people to read the Bible for themselves.
  • Constructing autonomous black purposes was extremely important, and the origination of many Christian sects that become largely black in this period.
  • Family emerged as an extremely important piece as well as religion.

Schooling and Literacy

  • Education was also tied to religion and especially important, given slave suppression on knowledge.
  • Developing processes of literacy were essential.
  • People were attempting to read; visitors to the South observed that a mechanic could not be observed without a tutorial in their backpocket.
  • Everyone who was working was also trying to teach themselves how to read.
  • The few members that did know taught others; it was more than just individual efforts.
  • Black people organized in schools for a process of collective learning for schoolchildren.
  • A few ways this was done: if there was a free black person who had access to free property or money, they coudl facilitate “Freedmen’s Schools”.
    • Abolitionists could give donations and funding to pay for these types of schools.
    • People from the North volunteered to go and teach in these schools to help develop literacy for freed peoples.
  • The first state (publicly-funded) efforts are being provided in these states; the origin of a public school system as well.
    • As newly freed people are becoming citizens and voting, they began voting for education projects.
    • Freedmen’s schools are also being publicly funded.
  • Most of the time, children were used to ensure the economic viability of a farm.

Civic Participation

  • One of the weightiest was the ability to vote. Wasn’t just family, church, education; how meaningful is freedom if you can’t determine who is sitting in your government?
  • Was clear very early on that freed black peoples wanted the right to vote without question.
  • For a short period, were able to obtain that. Led to a transformation of Southern politics.
  • 1/2 a million men vote, and elect thousands of black office-holders.
    • An extremely significant political transformation.
    • Black men are voting and holding office at every single level of government; elected from local to federal.
    • 16 black men are elected to House of Representatives.
    • 2 senators are elected to Senate.
  • Widespread political efforts; voting as an extremely important part of it.

Land and Economic Independence

  • What did it mean to be economically free? One of the biggest points of contention around what freedom meant.
  • Black people want nothing to do with anything that has the resemblance of slavery.
    • i.e. having an overseers, working for a wage.
  • Getting paid a wage to do agricultural work, or working in a gang (collective work), all reeked of slavery.
  • Wanted what much of the white North had access to in the Homestead Act.
    • Wanted plots of land they could develop themselves; selling good produced on their land.
    • Return on their labor for whatever they say fit.
    • Sea Island Circular; this was being played with.

Agenda of Southern Plantation Owners

  • Masters lost the war, but did not understand or realize what losing meant.
  • Were obstinate in their pursuit of maintaining claims for their “real property”.
    • Argument made: we just lost, by value, the greatest assets that we had. You can’t also additionally take away our property; this is a gross violation of everything the United States was founded on.
  • Masters, in effect, were attempting to implement a system as close to slavery as they could possibly make it.
    • Former slavemasters came to the bureau, attempting to make slaves work.

Agenda of the Northernors

Northern Carpet-baggers

  • The North recognized they could not continue with slavery; meant that some sort of compromise needed to be brokered.
  • Some middle ground between these interests needed to be made.
  • Northernors that occupied the federal troops, Freedmen’s Bureau, Northern business agents that saw oppurtunity in the South, etc.
  • Wanted to see a model like that of the North.
  • Corporations, railroads, textile manufacturing; were known as “carpet-baggers”.
    • Carpet-baggers refers to the Northernors as foreigners in the South.
  • In terms of economic construction: black people wanted their own homestead; southern plantation owners were not willing to give up their property.
    • The North agreed.
  • With wages, you have a boss, you are not seeing the fruits of your labor.

Sharecropping as a Compromise

  • An economic system is worked out; a compromise.
  • Around tenancy; instead of redistributing land, former slaves can occupy independent homesteads they rent from their masters.
    • Pay them a yearly rent with whatever product they’re able to produce.
  • Was extremely predatory such that debt piled up and ended up in a endless loophole of debt.
    • Told them to go work a plot of land.
  • Former slaves had no access to credit, no seed, no tools, no ways to distribute the goods, no contracts, have freedom and nothing else.
  • Needed to get these things on loan; everything that was needed was lent with interest.
    • Over that year, interest was accrued; when the produce was sold, hoped that they could pay off their debt.
  • Often led to a system of generational and perpetual debt.
    • Some freed peoples were able to have a good year and be able to establish themselves. A majority, however, has extreme difficulty in this system.
    • Interestingly, more whites than blacks are given for sharecropping.
  • Systems of negotiating with freed peoples and attempts by slavemasters to keep them as close to slavery as possible.
    • Impacts poor whites that also face crushing debt.

Federal Reconstruction

  • Different sets of interests; compromises of doing.
  • People acted to assert their interests in the most precise way.
  • So long as the North was willing to remain in the South and retain those promises, they were developing that reconstruction apace.

Radical Republicans

  • Reconstruction becomes completely undone, and the next stage of the process politically.
  • The economic question never gets addressed fully.
  • What was the North’s aim? Why did they continue to keep troops in the South throughout Reconstruction?
    • Goes back to winning the war: goal of the North not only to restore the war, but to break the slave power (redesigning federal policy in their favor only).
  • Chose to enfranchise black people and to make sure that they could vote; ensure the 3/5 clause was no more.
    • If black people are voting, they’re not voting for white supremacist oligarchs.
  • Wanted to send federal troops into the South to ensure that black people had the right to vote.
  • Impeachment of Andrew Johnson for refusing to acknowledge rights of freed black people; was from a slave state and selected as a running mate in the 1864 election.
    • Lincoln wanted to ensure the borderland states would be comfortable with his vice president’s pro-slavery stance.
  • Johnson attempts to allow states to re-enter the Union without any guarantees to black rights, and to give back the land to slaveowners.
    • Impeached by a series of “radical Republicans” because of their commitment to black rights.
  • Thaddeus Stevens, a major figure of the Senate, able to coordinate activities of the Senate against the President to pass a series of legislative actions that sided politically with black interests in the South.

Civil Rights Act of 1866

  • Part of an understanding that Southern oligarchs could not be allmowed to reconstitute themselves.
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867 is what sends troops into the South to ensure this unfolds, includes passing a Civil Rights Act of 1865 that ensures those born in the US have a series of legislatively protected rights.
  • Enshrined in Constitutional amendments 13th, 14th, and 15th.
  • Southern states have not been admitted to the Union yet.
  • 13th banned slavery in all instances except in prisons. (ends slavery in the whole country).
  • 14th was one of the most important amendments; establishes due process and equal protection. Becomes the centerpiece of future struggles for equality before the law in the United States for every Civil Rights struggle. Becomes a legal/formal point of struggle. Prison exception still present.
  • 15th ensured voting for freed persons; made it a Constitutional right to vote if you were born in the United States and a man.
    • The first time sex is incorporated into a legal standard.

Feminist and Abolitionist Response

  • Abolitionists and women’s movement: not happy about this.
  • Politically, the abolitionist movement needed to negotiate with this: determine it as “halfway there” or oppose it?
  • Led to a significant splintering of the abolitionist and women’s rights fighting.
  • Two different women’s rights organization emerged: one supported the bill and another opposed it.
    • Frederick Douglass was one that supported it, argued that this was the “Negro’s hour”; focusing on the racial question and looking at others later.
  • Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton disagree. How can black men can be enfranchised without white women being able to vote?
    • Turned to rather racist claims. Other abolitionists support black suffrage of the fifteenth amendment.

The First Vote and Civic Participation

  • Black men have the right to vote, and leads to the transformation of half a million black men voting and beginning to have some sort of control.
  • Have a majority in some places; pass a series of reform acts, pay for public schools, set up mental health hospitals, are a leading edge of 19th century reforms around schooling and others.

Countervailing Forces

  • As blacks are becoming more enfranchised, it’s not like white supremacy disappeared, or that they understood they lost the war.
  • Continued to fight in secretive paramilitary organizations that served as a military wing of the Democratic Party.
  • Would attack and kill, intimidate or threaten black figures in the South; especially those that would win office.
  • If you were able to win office, they could kill, lynch, drive you out of town.
  • These types of terrorist organizations - KKK, Knights of Saint Crispin - had military training, usually former Confederate soldiers.
    • Formed these organizations and attempted to threaten and intimidate black people in the South.
    • Prevented economic reforms from happening.
  • Escalated not only from individual lynchings and killings to whole-sale massacres.
    • Meridian massacre; 30 blacks and 1 white Republican is killed.

Colfax Massacre and Reign of Terror

  • In Colfax County, Louisiana; two different sets of black and white officials are elected.
  • Attacked by a white mob, which have Civil War cannons and munition that are used to chase the community into the courthouse.
  • The mob sets fire to the courthouse, drives out the people taking shelter, kills them, attacks the black community, and begins to kill black people in the rest of the county.
    • Over 100 black residents were killed.
  • Rural Lousiana; no federal troops. Violence is able to stand; white electors take those positions and begin to undo things like paying for public education, or begin certifying elections in state office.
    • Have power to say that Southern Democrats will take certain seats.

Black Codes

  • A broader movement called Redemption.
  • Attempted to ‘redeem’ Southern legislation from black representation.
  • Able to impose more white legislatures and began to rewrite the laws, attempted to gain control of the legislature and veto/undo political reforms being implemented for black autonomy and education.
  • Taxes are repealed and undone, especially ones being used to pay for public schools; public schools are removed.
  • Electoral reforms on who is allowed to vote - limitations despite the 15th Amendment on who gets to vote and who gets to serve on juries.
  • Could pass requirements that would allow someone to vote; e.g. you need to pay a tax (cannot pay if you don’t have a tax) - poll tax.
  • Literacy tests could be used to filter out black votes.
  • Grandfather clause - meant that you could vote if your grandfather could vote. Used for voter suppression.
    • Came from Northern states in an attempt to restrict immigration.
    • Was adopted by the South.
  • Contested election in Lousiana between white and black votes; widespread voting across the election in 1875 and 1876. Shooting each other to claim the state legislature.
  • Because this is still a period of Reconstrution, the federal government uses troops to recognize black votes at the state level.
    • Being eroded in other states, though.

1877 and the End of Reconstruction

  • The North is blocking some attempts but getting exhausted.
  • The governor of Maine is trying to maintain presence, but Grant and the North is “tired of Southern problems”.
  • A decade after the Civil War has been fought; did not want to fight these issues in perpetuity.
  • Not that committed to black enfranchisement.
  • 1877: a contested election, not a clear win between the two parties. The two work out a famous compromise of 1877 towards inauguration day.
    • Rutherford B. Hayes (R) elected.
    • Democrats say that - through fraud, violence, electoral tinkering - we’ll let Hayes take the Presidency if federal troops are removed from the South.
    • The Republicans said yes; Hayes takes office and removes troops from the South.

1877 Great Railroad Strike

  • Part of the reason why he wanted to do that is because of increasing industrial violence in the North.
    • Unprecedented national strikes and riots in 1877 that paralyze the economy, cause millions of damage to railroad lines, factories, etc.
  • Stationing troops in major cities of the North and attempting to stop these sorts of insurrections.

Alternative Linkage