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Unformatted text preview: Slavery in the Americas
Characteristics of a Slavocracy (Danish) Debates on the Harshness of Slavery Winthrop Jordon Thesis Definition of a Slave Society (Rationale) proportion of slaves is central to the structure of a particular society. Slavery thus became the centerpiece of social hierarchy (ownership of slaves), economic structure (basis of one's wealth), and the political system (laws adhered to the contours of slavery) Percentages (50% fatalities between 1500 1800) 38% to Brazil 42% to the Caribbean 15% to Spanish America 5% to British North America Definition = When a high Slave Societies Continued the Atlantic slave trade for 20 years after 1787 (1808) Set the standard for the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 (signed by Washington) Enhanced representation of slaveholders in Congress and the electoral college that elected the president Slavery and the Constitution 3/5 Clause (increased southern political power) European Rationale for Slavery (essentialisms) Justification for a Slavocracy Blacks could be held in perpetuity Runaways would be recognizable due to their dark skin color Blacks were considered "cannibals" and "pagan" Christian rules of conduct did not apply to "heathens" Blacks were lacked intellectual capacity but featured superior physical strength African people were naturally immune to disease and could tolerate warm weather Triangle Trade demand (sugar cane, tobacco, indigo, rice, coffee, cotton, wheat, corn, white and sweet potatoes, oats, hemp = cash crops) African people were geographically selected for slavery (rice) Seasoning Characteristics of a Slavocracy cont. 1. Placed new enslaved Africans with those already enslaved to learn work routines 2. Enslaved Africans were "broken in" This involved overwork, torture, whipping, disease, and death Punishment Flogging, unhealthy diet, insufficient housing, branding, rape, castration, curfews, separation from family (kinship) Task System Set the slave's daily work (so many rows to hoe or drain) Tasks also included timber and construction; gold, coal, salt, iron, and lead mines; iron furnaces and tobacco factories; cotton presses and sawmills; raised farm animals, built roads, railroad, and shipbuilding (Frederick Douglass); skilled crafts (blacksmithing and carpentry) Cash Crop example = Sugar (had to be cut & processed in 18 hours or it went bad) Life insurance was 57 years Limbs were crushed and cut off (1820 hours workdays) Sugar skirts = caused an itch (disease) Characteristics of a Slavocracy cont. Chattel Slavery and the Justification for Slavery
Rationale for maintaining slavocracy To maintain a forced labor arrangement using coercion and terror To perpetuate a caste hierarchy of slaveholders, nonslaveholders, slaves, and free blacks To regulate race and class relations, using racist ideology to justify black subordination and white deference Cotton demand (increased cultivation, declining revolutionary fervor, racism) Value of property rights (including human) and social order over liberty (gradual emancipation in North) Thomas Jefferson (inferiority quote) Chattel Slavery and the Justification for Slavery cont. Chattel slavery (compare with African slavery) Slaves could not be parties in lawsuits, except indirectly when a free person sued on their behalf Slaves were forbidden to enter capitalist enterprise with free whites Slaves could not own property Their marriages had no legal standings In some places slaves could not use the drum Slaves were denied education Slaveholders were compensated for deaths or runaways What happened first? Racism or Slavery? Jordan argues whites viewed blacks as inferior before slavery Due to their (blacks) perceived inferiority, slavery and its subsequent bellicosity (violent nature) was justified Their inferior was proven by their complexion (biblical story of Ham), religion (pagan), savage behavior (decorum) White reluctance to convert blacks to Christianity due to fear of equality Contradiction of antislavery and equality (e.g. abolitionism) Opportunity to convert heathens into civilized peoples Segregation justified in order to prevent blacks from tainting whiteness Eric Williams counterargument (Slavery fueled British Industrial Revolution) Winthrop Jordan Thesis Comparative Slavery & the Harshness Debate
Frank Tannebaum Thesis "Friendly Master Thesis" Harshness of slavery determined by nationality, religion, laws Protestantism more brutal than Catholicism British/Dutch (harsh) French (in the middle) Spanish/Portuguese (mild) Theory doesn't consider anomalies such as Dutch Catholics, Jews Harmanus Hoetink (Hertink) Essentialist Theory/ Somatic Norm Image Theory of Phenotype Supports the Tannenbaum Thesis Because Spain and Portugal are Mediterranean peoples and cultures, they have a more cosmopolitan outlook on people of color. (increased miscegenation according to Hoetink) His study of 2 Dutch (harsh) Caribbean colonies contrast his argument (Curacao and Suriname) Curacao featured a small slave population, free blacks and whites outnumbered slaves, race relations were relatively relaxed (Dutch Jews as the majority) Debate cont. Comparative Slavery Debate cont. Eugene Genovese Created 4 tools of evaluation Scholars can't gauge severity of slavocracy by nationality and religion 1. Consider food, clothing, shelter, hourly work, warm in winter time, concerns on sweltering heat wave (US 10/10, Latin Am. 0/10) Key reasons were food, clothing, shelter, and sugar production 2. Religious Culture (U.S. 2, Latin Am. 10+) By 1830's Louisiana the only state not to prohibit drumming (Protestant Reformation reduced saints) St. Barbara = patron saint of Thunderstorms; slaves put Chango (Yoruba) in place (death of the gods v gods in exile) Genovese cont. 4 Tools of Evaluation 3. Days off, how often recess was given (cross plantation interaction) Both U.S. & Latin. Am fairly poorly 4. Manumission (access to freedom) Slaves were freed in wills, some were manumitted if the supply of slaves remained high Coartacion = Latin Am. System that allowed slaves to buy freedom over installments (if permitted by slaveholder) Las Siete Partidas = laws published (12th century) to treat slaves "fairly" (all subjective) 1789 Latin Am. Court vouched for protection of slaves' rights What comes to mind when thinking of Denmark? (Danish West India Co.) St. Thomas = 1671, St. John = 1717, St. Croix = 1733 (bought from France) Apart from two British occupations during Napoleonic wars (1801, 18071815) islands remained in Denmark's possession (became U.S. Virgin Islands in 1917) Danes stayed Despite minor status (poor army, lack of experience, forced to learn from major slave powers), Denmark created a slave society that attempted to mirror slave powers (England, France, Holland, Spain, Portugal). Needed military aid (Dutch, French1733 uprising) maritime marronage (Puerto Rico assistance) Sugar Trade and "colonization by invitation" 1685= Prussian Brandenburger 30 yr lease Denmark invited major powers to settle (outnumbered5 times as many) Dutch = 16851740, England = 17411916 Danes offered cheap land, generous loans, tax free status to planters, cultural tolerance (religious, education) Eindomsret = inherited right to own property Danish Slavery (example of slave society) Slaveholding was the symbol of success in the market culture of the Old South Domestic Slave Trade Represented ambition, achievement, diligence, hard work, and tenacity Approximately 2 million slaves sold in interstate, local, and state ordered sales during Antebellum period (gathered from Baltimore, Washington D.C., Richmond, St. Louis, and sold at Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, and especially New Orleans) Most slaves were not quickly sold at large public auctions but in extended private bargains made in slave pens maintained by slave dealers Slaves sold said to have approximately half a billion dollars in "property value" (18201860) Planter Class Domestic Slave Trade "Cuffy," "Fancy Maids" and slaves as property Conceptualized as "the objectivized form of our desire" (commodity fetishism) Act of treating humans as objects as justification of their inferior status Slavery was an internationally embraced concept Approximately 400,000 slaveholders in the South in 1860. Slaveholding class was diverse in terms of class Majority of slaveholders could not afford a plethora of slaves (5 or less was the norm) Hundreds of thousands of non elites never entered planter class (20 or more slaves) Cuffy, Fancy Maids cont. Domestic Slave Trade cont. Slaveholders referred to men, women, and children as "stock" Selling of slaves no different than selling "soup" or "lumber" as the only difference reflected the quantity of slaves shipped Some slaveholders argued that agency could be given to a young slave woman (fancy maid) by sleeping with her (film example) Prices varied from $800 into the thousands Fancy maids were regarded as unusually desirable (neither black nor white, neither field laborer nor house laborer) Slaves preferred local to long distance separation 1/3 of marriages were broken by interstate trade, 1/5 of children separated from one or both parents Cross Plantation Unions 1. The components of African (Islamic) Slavery, European interests, and the middle passage. What was a slave society, why did it exist and how was it maintained? (Mandatory) 2. Did the European slave trade underdevelop Africa? (Rodney and Thornton) 3. Debate on the Harshness of Slavery (Tannenbaum, Hoetink, Genovese) 4. What came 1st Racism or Slavery? (Jordon Thesis) 5. Examples of a slave society: Danish Slavery and the Domestic Slave Trade Slavery Summary (possible essay outline) ...
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2011 for the course AAS 271 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '10 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.
- Spring '10