Geographys - Slavery and Plantation Agriculture Essay

The Changing ( Inland ) South: Bondage and Plantation Agriculture

The Southern portion of the United States has a alone history that includes European colonies, establishment of bondage and a bequest of Confederacy during the Civil War. The rich yesteryear of this part has helped develop a distinguishable set of imposts, beliefs and life manners. Slavery began in the United States in the early sixteenth Century shortly after the English landed in Virginia ( Birdsall et al, 2005 ) . They started out by utilizing Native Americans, nevertheless, since they were in their fatherland and knew the terrain well good they would get away easy. Therefore, they found it easier and profitable to sell them to plantations in the Caribbean. During this clip, the labour demands of the settlements were quickly increasing and to run into these demands they turned to importing African slaves. They were non introduced to the South in big sums nevertheless they finally began to play an of import function in the societal environment and organisation.

From around 1619 to 1865, people of African descent were lawfully imported by a bulk of Whites in the Southern United States ( Berlin, 1993 ) . Slavery spread quickly in the American settlements where they began go throughing Torahs that regulated slave dealingss. By 1770, about 40 % of the entire population in the South were slaves and the highest figure were found in South Carolina ( Berlin, 1993 ) . At the terminal of the seventeenth Century, there were a figure of settlements that were turning. Much of the population were in the North-Eastern and in-between settlements where the Southern settlements of Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas were rural frontier land. The economic system of the South was chiefly based on agribusiness at this clip and affluent households formed plantations since they saw great chance ( Bailey, 1994 ) . The chief ground for importing these slaves was to utilize them as labourers on the plantations, which are big farms where harvests such as cotton, baccy and rice grow. In add-on, they were used for uncluttering woods, trade workers, nurses and house retainers. Initially, most of the harvests grown in the upper South provinces of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland were baccy and the lower South provinces of Georgia and South Carolina grew rice ( Bonacich, 1975 ) .

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The baccy foliage was imported from the West Indies where it thrived in the heat of Virginian Lowlandss and changed the colony’s whole economic system ( Berlin, 1993 ) . Tobacco turning changed from little farms in an country to a settlement that was composed of big graduated table farms and plantations because baccy wasn’t profitable when it was produced in a little graduated table. Over clip the turning of baccy created a job since much of the soil’s foods were depleted rather rapidly so the husbandmans were forced to force westward. In add-on, a limited sum of slaves went to the North in wheat bring forthing provinces such as New York, nevertheless the clime and the dirt restricted the development of agribusiness and therefore the slaves were non needed in this part ( Bonacich, 1975 ) . Charleston, South Carolina was the chief town for trading in the South since it provided a port for the English ships to convey in merchandises. The Southern settlements exported rice, cotton, baccy and imported slaves and sugar ( Berlin, 1993 ) .

Another type of harvest that was cultivated in the South was rice which originated from Madagascar and was brought in by the Spanish at the beginning of the eighteenth Century ( Berlin, 1993 ) . Due to the slaves holding anterior cognition of rice civilization, many agriculturists took advantage of this by importing them to work at the many rice plantations in Georgetown, Savannah and Charleston. The plantation proprietors learned several new techniques from the slaves that included how to deluge the Fieldss and dike the fens ( Kolchin, 2007 ) . There was an addition in popularity and profitableness of rice cultivation when the rice factory, where H2O was used to power the factory, was invented by Jonathan Lucas. Rice cultivation has continued to be an of import type of agribusiness in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas since the mid nineteenth Century ( Wikipedia, 2007 ) . Following the late seventeenth century, the North and South started to diverge in economic systems. The South was stressing more on exporting their harvests whereas the North was more on nutrient production. The upper settlements of Virginia and North Carolina were established in baccy production and the lower settlements of Georgia and South Carolina were focused on rice production ( Bonacich, 1975 ) . In add-on, much of the South did non travel through the industrialisation like the North did and it remained largely rural. In 1860 there were merely five southern metropoliss that had more than 50,000 people ( Kolchin, 2007 ) .

By the beginning of the nineteenth century there was an enlargement of bondage that occurred all along the United States. This was because of the innovation of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1793 ( Bailey, 1994 ) . It was an efficient machine that was used to divide the fibre from the cotton seed leting the agriculturists to works a assortment of cotton that was good suited for the dirt in the South. Since the demands for cotton increased and the tools made it easier to make bring forth, many of the husbandmans were attracted to it in the South. The lone gimmick was that it was still an intensive labour procedure so the slaves were used and cotton production spread due west to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana ( Kolchin, 2007 ) . From 1790 to 1860 around one million slaves were moved to the West either with their Masterss or they were sold straight to the plantation owners by seaboard provinces. The sum of cotton that was produced till the Civil War in Southern United States was about 2,275 million dozenss ( Bailey, 1994 ) .

When bondage was abolished in the North in 1830, it began a radical epoch which divided the United States into the bondage South and the free North. Although a bulk of Southern households did non have slaves since the proportion declined from 1830 to 1860, the people still believed in the kernel of bondage ( Kolchin, 2007 ) . One of the chief grounds this war started was to stop the Southern bondage, nevertheless, the South wanted to protect bondage as they thought it would take to economic devastation if it was banned ( Bonacich, 1975 ) . President Abraham Lincoln did non set frontward federal Torahs against bondage where it was taking topographic point but alternatively he wanted to collar any farther spread of it. In the late 1850s the South feared that they would lose control of the authorities to antislavery and the North feared that the slave power was already commanding the authorities which led to a crisis. In the terminal, the American Civil War took topographic point, from 1861 to 1865, in which there was a struggle between the United States of America or the Union and the Confederate States of America ( Wikipedia, 2007 ) . As the war went on the, the North was really strong in get rid ofing bondage and on January 1st, 1863, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution ended the long conflict and bondage eventually ended. It was ratified by three-quarterss of the provinces and officially declared in consequence on December 18th, 1965 ( Kolchin, 2007 ) .

Since the South was the wealthiest portion of the United States, the part suffered a great trade during the 12 twelvemonth Reconstruction period after the war. The Confederate provinces lost around two-thirds of their wealth during the war along with the many slaves who were now free ( Kolchin, 2007 ) . Besides, more than a half of the agrarian machinery was destroyed and the farm animal were killed. During this clip, the North and South began to debate the hereafter of the black Americans ensuing in many political conflicts. Thousands of inkinesss who were landless and hapless left the South to newer districts that had been unfastened in the West. In 1879, there was a migration called Exoduster Movement in which around 20,000 inkinesss from Louisiana and Mississippi left for Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado, set uping a figure of all-black towns ( Kolchin, 2007 ) . Many found occupations as works husbandmans and mine workers. However, despite the confirmation of the Amendments to the Constitution, black Americans failed to win full equal rights and as the twentieth century began, a bulk of them stayed in the South populating a really unintegrated life. Today, the South is disadvantaged financially since after the Civil War, the full economic system of the part was ruined ( Birdsall et al, 2005 ) . There were no labourers to work in the Fieldss of the plantations which resulted in proprietors abandoning at that place farms and being sent into poorness. The South besides didn’t have many industrialized concerns therefore many Southerners had no where to work and no beginning of income. Poverty still exists in some countries such as West Virginia, Appalachia and the Black Belt ( Wikipedia, 2007 ) .

In all we can see that the South has significantly changed from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth century. The issue of importing African slaves who were used as labourers on the plantations was rather good for the economic system, nevertheless, over clip it showed how black it was to the part due to Civil War. The successful plantations allowed the South to export many agricultural merchandises such as rice, baccy and cotton. The money that was collected over the many old ages of exporting merchandises in the South was gone when the Civil War began. The consequences of the war included a division of the North and South, division in the black and Whites and poorness in the whole part.


  • Bailey, R. , 1994. “The Other Side of Slavery: Black Labor, Cotton, and Textile Industrialization in the Great Britain and the United States” . Agricultural History, 68:2, 35-50.
  • Berlin, I. ( 1993 ) . “Cultivation and Culture: Labor and the Shaping of Slave Life in the Americas” . Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
  • Birdsall, S.S. , Malinowski, J.C. , Palka, E.J. , Price M.L. ( 2005 ) .Regional Landscapes of the United States and Canada.Australia: John Wiley & A ; Sons.
  • Bonacich, E. , 1975. “Abolition, the Extension of Slavery, and the Position of Free Blacks: A survey of Split Labor Markets in the United States, 1830-1863.” The American Journal of Sociology, 81:3, 601-628.
  • Kolchin, P. ( 2007 ) . “Slavery in the United States” .Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 21, 2007, from hypertext transfer protocol: //

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