White Society A Southern Plantation Mansion Planters The Planters were few in

White society a southern plantation mansion planters

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White Society A Southern Plantation Mansion Planters: The Planters were few in number, but held most of the South’s wealth. They set the tone in economic and social life. A plantation differed from a farm in its size, use of a large labor force, and that its owners grew a staple crop for profit. Planters had far less leisure time than myth allows. They managed large enterprises. Similarly the plantation mistress had little idle time. She oversaw the house, food, linens, cleaning, clothing, and care-taking of her family and all the slaves. Often planters were absentee owners who left an overseer or other manager in charge of the plantation. Overall, out of a population of 8 million, only 383,637 owned slaves and there were few individuals in 1860 who qualified as planters, owning more than twenty slaves. 46,000 planters owned twenty slaves 2,200 planters owned 100 slaves 11 planters owned 500 slaves 1 planter owned 1,000 slaves
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an idealized image of the yeoman farmer Middle Class: Most southerners were in the Middle Class and were considered yeoman farmers, holding only a few acres and living in modest homes and cabins, raising hogs and chickens, and growing corn and cotton. Few yeoman farmers had any slaves and if they did own slaves, it was only one or two. Yeoman farming families owned an average of fifty acres and produced for themselves most of what they needed. These farmers traded farm produce like milk and eggs for needed services such as shoemaking and blacksmithing. Most people in this class admired the planter class and hoped to one day join those ranks. Though only a few held any slaves, almost all middle class southerners supported the slave system because they enjoyed the privileged status that a racially based society bestowed on them, and they feared that they would have to compete with the slaves for land and work if African Americans were free. Poor Whites: cartoon images of poor southern whites The Poor Whites of the South lived difficult lives as they struggled to provide for themselves in a society dominated by a few wealthy planters. This group was frequently forced onto the least desirable land or had to
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farm as tenants on the land of local wealthy planters. They were most often in debt to the planter class, either due to the renting costs of land and equipment, or because they had to charge groceries and goods on credit. Many poor whites moved several times during their lives to seek better opportunities or to escape their debts. Poor whites were often jailed because of their debt, which prevented them from working to pay off what they owed. This class did not own slaves; they relied on the labor provided by themselves and their families. Poor whites suffered from malnutrition and infection. Often called “lazy,” these whites were likely victims of hookworm, malaria, and pellagra, all of which produce intense lethargy. By the late 1930s medical advances had cured many of these diseases, and the stereotypes of poor white southerners faded.
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  • Fall '08
  • KOZLOWSKI
  • History, US History, Slavery in the United States

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