-1Chapter 11 Study Guide
1. Define the Lower South.
Consisted, in 1850, of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Texas.
2. What was the advantage of upland or short-staple cotton?
It could be planted far inland, and small farmers could grow it profitable because it
required no additional costs for machinery or drainage systems.
3. Why was upland cotton well suited to slave labor?
It required fairly continuous tending throughout the year. Once the harvest was in, a time
when northern agricultural workers were laid of, the slaves cleared land, cut wood, and
made repairs. The long work year maximized the return on capital invested in slave labor.
4. Define a plantation and the planter class.
Plantations, large productive units specializing in cash crops and employing at least 20
slaves, were the leading economic institution in the Lower South. Planters were the most
prestigious social group, and though less than 5 percent of white families were in the
planter class, they controlled more than 40 percent of the slaves, cotton output, and total
agricultural wealth. Most had inherited or married into their wealth, but they could stay at
the top of the South’s class structure only by continuing to profit from slave labor.
5. What was the gang system?
A crude version of the division of labor that was being introduced in northern factories,
permitted a regimented work place.
The organization and supervision of slave field
hands into working teams on southern plantations.
6. Why did cotton prices hold steady?
Demand was so strong that prices held steady at 10 cents a pound in the 1850s, even as
southern production of cotton doubled.
7. How was the slave trade profitable?
Southern law defined slaves as chattel, the personal property of their owners, and their
market value increased along with the profitability of slavery. Prices at any given time
varied according to the age, sex, and skills of the slave, as well as overall market
conditions, but the steady rise in prices meant that slave owners could sell their human
chattel and realize a profit over and above what they had already earned from the slaves’
8. What did slave owners invest their profits into?
Most of the profits from slave labor and sales went into buying more land and slaves. As
long as slaves employed in growing cash staples returned 10 percent a year, slave owners
had little economic incentive to shift their capital resources into manufacturing or urban
9. Why did planters fear urbanization and industrialization?