the added benefit of allowing the slave population to reproduce itself. No records exist of slave birth rates among the Choctaws, but the prevalence of both male and female slaves suggests the possibility of the long-term survival of slavery among the Choctaws even if the slave trade was restricted or prohibited. 62 The pattern of equal distribution of male and female slaves was not as even among those owning two slaves or fewer. Of this group, 111 slaves were male and 133 slaves were female. The higher percentage of female slaves in this group is partially deceiving in that it could be implied that Choctaws purchased slaves based less upon abilities to assist in agriculture than for other tasks. This argument loses credence when the age of the slaves from this group is examined and cultural considerations are taken into account. By percentage, the two most 61 Choctaw Intelligencer , September 11, 1850. 62 US Census, 1860, Schedule 2.
37 populous age groups were from 12 to 17 and from 18 to 30; prime age for agricultural work. The fact that a slight majority of these slaves were women is insignificant in that day to day agricultural labor was the role of women in traditional Choctaw culture. 63 Classification Number of Male Slaves Percent of Total Number of Female Slaves Percent of Total Choctaw Nation 1142 49.7% 1156 50.3% Planter Class 466 51.6% 437 48.4% Own less than 3 111 45.5% 133 54.5% Table 3: Gender Analysis of Choctaw’s Slaves 64 Age Group Number of Slaves Percent of Total Birth - 11 44 18% 12 – 17 50 20% 18 – 30 75 31% 31 – 50 44 18% 51+ 31 13% Table 4: Age Demographics for Slaveholders with Two or Less Slaves Though it seems self-evident that holding slaves would be profitable for slave owners (or slavery would have died out), the question of profitability has been questioned by some United States historians. Ulrich B. Phillips articulated the most widely used argument in favor of this viewpoint claiming that the cost of purchasing, housing, feeding, and general maintenance often cost more than could be returned from profit. 65 Revisionist historians such as Kenneth Stampp 63 See table below. Totals were tabulated by hand from US Census returns. 64 The Eighth Census of the United States: 1860, Schedule 2. 65 Phillips, American Negro Slavery , 391-392.