C16 - The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793-1860 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in C16 - The South and the Slavery Controversy 1793-1860 Deck (28):

Theodore Dwight Weld

Leading abolitionist. Wrote pamphlet: American Slavery As It Is in 1839. Greatly influenced Harriett Beecher Stowe's work: Uncle Tom's Cabin.



Means government by the few. This became the situation in the South before the Civil War. Relatively few families owned 100+ slaves (1700 families), and they held much of the power and seats in government. They had more leisure time than others for study, go to colleges like Yale, and for serving as a representative in the govt. and held much power.

Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun were examples of Southern political leaders in this category.


peculiar institution

Slavery. Called peculiar institution because slavery was rooted in both racism and economic exploitation.


David Walker

Black abolitionist who wrote "Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World" in 1829, calling for a bloody end to white supremacy.


Nat Turner

Black preacher led an uprising that killed 60 Virginians.


Lane rebels

Students, including Theodore Dwight Weld, who were expelled from Lane Theological Seminary in 1834 for staging an 18-day debate on slavery.


The Liberator

Militant antislavery newspaper first published in 1831 by abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.



Movement pushing for end to slavery.

Abolitionists had a cruel choice thrust upon them: When is evil so enormous that it has to be fought against, maybe at the cost of lives/bloodshed?

Notable white abolitionists:
Theodore Dwight Weld
William Lloyd Garrison
Wendell Phillips
Elijah P. Lovejoy

Notable black abolitionists:
David Walker
Sojourner Truth
Martin Delaney
Frederick Douglass

The movement evolved. In the North, abolitionists were hated at first (Elijah Lovejoy was murdered for his abolitionist speech). Even Abraham Lincoln kept his distance from abolitionists. But by the 1850s more minds were turned to anti-slavery ideas. Free-soilers, including Lincoln, initially didn't call for a complete end to slavery, but called for laws that made slavery illegal in western territories.


gag resolution

Law passed by Congress in 1836. Pushed through Congress by the South - it said that all antislavery appeals would be tabled (ended without discussion).

Aging ex-president and Representative in the Congress, John Quincy Adams, knew this was an attack on the constitutional right to petition the government and fought for 8 years until it was repealed.


William Lloyd Garrison

Radical abolitionist. Emotionally high-strung son of a drunken father, published the newspaper The Liberator. Continued his war of words until the Civil War.

He was a poor organizer.

He favored secession by the North rather than keeping the Union (North and South) together.


Denmark Vesey

Free black who led a rebellion in Charleston in 1822. He and 30 followers were hanged in response.


Harriet Beecher Stowe

Wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. One theme in her book covered the practice of splitting up slave families at slave auctions/sales.


Elijah P. Lovejoy

Abolitionist, minister, and journalist who had his printing press destroyed 4 times and was eventually killed by a pro-slavery mob in 1837.

He became the martyr of the Abolitionist movement.


Frederick Douglass

Former slave. Abolitionist and great orator (speaker). Escaped in 1838. In 1845, he wrote "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass".

A political abolitionist, he was much more practical and moderate than some other abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison.

Sought to use politics and gaining public support as a means to end slavery. Helped to back the Liberty party in 1840 and the Free Soil party in 1848 and eventually the Republican party of the 1850s.


Sojourner Truth

Freed black woman who fought tirelessly for black emancipation and women's rights.


Cotton Kingdom

Name given to system in the US that developed after Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin in 1793.

In the South: Cotton gin made it cheap to harvest cotton. Slaves needed to run the cotton gin. Planters had to buy slaves.

In the North: Shippers from the north benefited economically by being able to ship the cotton overseas.

Cotton accounted for 1/2 of all US exports after 1840.

The South produced more than 1/2 of all the world's cotton. Britain became heavily reliant on the US for cotton because Britain's largest product was cotton cloth - they needed US's cotton to make this.

The South began to feel very powerful due to the world's reliance on their cotton, making them say Cotton was King.

Many problems due to reliance on Cotton as the South's only product that was keeping its economy going.
-Overplanting caused the soil to deteriorate.
-Some people, including Andrew Jackson, tended to buy more land than they could afford (overspeculate) and end up bankrupt.
- Slaves were expensive to buy and keep healthy
- Dangerous dependence on one-crop economy meant that if the market went down, there was no other product for the economy to rely on.
- European immigrants (German and Irish) stopped going to the South due to these economic issues. These immigrants enriched the culture of the North instead.
- South had to buy all other goods from the North since they did not have factories or other industry besides cotton.


Arthur and Lewis Tappan

Paid for abolitionist thinker, Theodore Dwight Weld, to go to Lane Theological Seminary in 1832.


"positive good"

Southerners were defensive about all of the attention the abolitionist movement was getting.

Claimed that Slavery was a positive good because blacks were taken from their barbarous African countries to be "civilized" and "christianized" by American slave masters.

Claimed that their slaves were "happy" in comparison to the very poor workers in the North who worked tirelessly in stuffy factories for low wages and were sometimes unemployed. At least their slaves worked outside in fresh air, they argued.


American Anti-Slavery Society

Founded in 1833 by William Lloyd Garrison and other abolitionists.

Wendell Phillips of Boston was another founder. He wouldn't eat sugar or wear cotton clothing because slaves were used in production of these items.


Liberty party

Formed by black abolitionists in 1840.



People of mixed race. In many cases, the child of a white planter and his black mistress. They were usually freed or emancipated.


Sir Walter Scott

British novelist - wrote fictional books about castles, manors, medieval life. Appealed to Southern aristocratic planters who liked this feudal, undemocratic social structure.

Mark Twain called this social structure "a sham civilization" and even accused Sir Walter Scott as having a hand in the Civil War, saying his books aroused southerners to fight for this way of life that depended on enslaved people to keep the economy going.



African country where freed blacks were shipped to. Capital of Monrovia was named after President Monroe.

Most freed slaves did not want to be moved here---most stayed in the U S.


Martin Delany

Black abolitionist who took seriously the notion of mass recolonization (moving freed blacks to Africa).


Virginia Debate 1831

Debate about whether or not to abolish slavery in Virginia, following the Nat Turner rebellion. VA legislature decided instead to tighten laws related to slavery, including making it illegal to educate slaves.


John Quincy Adams

Aging ex-president led the fight to end the 1836 Gag Resolution.


Southern social ladder

Top: Large slaveholders (owned 100+ slaves) - large plantations. Most wealth concentrated here. Only 1700 families in 1853. Called "snobocracy"

Next: Small slave owners. Very different lives than large owners. Often worked in the fields as hard as their slaves. There were many more small slave owners than large ones.

Next: Whites who did not own slaves. This group was larger in number than the above 2 groups, but much poorer. Subsistence farmers (grew enough food for themselves, but not enough to sell). Other whites and even slaves called these people "white trash", "hillbillies, "crackers". They were made fun of as lazy and ugly. Many suffered from malnutrition and hookworm (a parasite). They were still in favor of the South's pro-slavery position, mostly because they were racist - thought the white race was superior. So they supported the South/Confederacy in the Civil War.

Mountain whites: lived in valleys of the Appalachian mountains in Western VA, GA and Alabama. Lived frontier lives away from the rest of civilization. They did not feel a part of or support other Southern Whites in the arguments leading up to the Civil War. They ended up playing an important role in the Civil War by backing Abraham Lincoln.

Free Blacks: They had few rights. Free Blacks also faced many hurdles in the North, where some states wouldn't allow them to move there, Irish immigrants resented them because they would take some of the menial jobs away.

Slaves: at the bottom of the ladder.


Slave life

Varied widely by region, size of plantation the slave worked on, and a particular master.

Many kept their families intact and increased their numbers through reproduction, not by importing more slaves. This is the first slave population anywhere in the world that has flourished this way, leading some to believe that the life of the American slave was better than any other in the world. Still, no matter the situation, it was still a terrible system of racism and bondage.

Slaves were beaten. Deprived of the dignity that comes from making independent decisions. Most were totally illiterate - education was not allowed because whites thought that education would bring ideas and therefore discontent.

Their own unique culture flourished in parts of the South where they raised children, practiced their own form of Christianity (responsorial style of preaching, leading the congregation to speak out with amens, etc.)

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