In that state’s Rankin County, Colonel Easterling threw a woman over a barrel and beat her, beat her “husband” to a pulp when he visited from another plantation, and killed a man by hitching him to a plow and “plowin [sic] him till one day he died.” In nearby Jones County, Bryant Craft beat his slave Jessie so severely that his shirt was embedded in his back and left him to die; when a neighbor nursed Jessie back to health and brought him back to reconcile with the master, a furious Craft killed the slave on the spot and told the “interfering” neighbor, “Let that be an example to you.”. “His portrayal of blacks as passive, inferior people, whose African origins made them uncivilized, seemed to provide historical evidence for the theories of racial inferiority that supported racial segregation. Cash stated that Southerners questioning the institution were hanged, tarred, horsewhipped, or assaulted in other ways. But [the yeoman and the 25 percent of whites who were slave-owners] have something in common, which is white skin. Southerners’ violent opposition to criticism of slavery may have betrayed their fear that the true nature of the institution would be revealed. In 1865, an Atlanta editor wrote that slaves’ position was “an enviable one” and contended that “they constitute a privileged class in the community.” He mused, “how happy we should be we the slave of some good and provident owner” because “simple daily toil would fill the measure of duty, and comfortable food and clothing would be the assured reward.”. Did racism cause slavery? Yet the founders failed to deliver the fatal blow to slavery after the war as the promise of universal emancipation implied in the war's rhetoric collapsed. In addition, the racial underpinning of slavery ensured its widespread support among whites who were not slave-owners. You have a whole population of four million people whom you consider, and your society considers, inferior to you. Some advocates of the Lost Cause have contended that Southerners, aware that slavery’s disappearance was inevitable, would not have fought a war to save the dying institution. Far from being a decrepit institution, the economic motives for the continuance of slavery from the standpoint of the employer were never so strong as in the years just preceding the Civil War. The ancients didn’t need racism to justify slavery, because they had … Yet Southern lawmakers and citizens had gone to great lengths to protect slavery from any criticism, denying freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of the mails, and, in Virginia at least, the right to say that owners had no property rights in their slaves. Southern repression of black economic, civil, voting, and other rights during the hundred years following the Civil War further demonstrated the lack of motivation to terminate the slavery or subordination of African Americans. In 1853, the Georgian Robert Toombs explained that “whenever the two races co-exist a state of slavery is best for [the African] and society. How could it have been so successful yet so likely to have been terminated within a few years? Slavery was one of the main causes of the Civil War. [W]omen working in the owner’s house were especially vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Conversely, Lincoln's careful stance on a variety of issues guided him to a meager victory in a year when the country, and its political parties, were ravaged by a maelstrom of complicated and volatile issues. They worked cheerfully upon the fortifications and earth-works in sight of the enemy, and without thought of desertion. . . Masters were supposedly benevolent patriarchs. Newspaper editors were a favorite target; five editors of the Vicksburg Journal were killed in thirteen years. “[E]ven more brave and constant” than Southern soldiers, wrote Thomas Nelson Page, “were the women who stayed at home. ‘Today we recognize slavery as a moral issue. The campaign caused a furor and led to calls for the federal government to begin censoring the mail. Slavery was the Civil War's cause despite revisionists saying otherwise. © Oxford University Press, 2018. Welfare did. B. Phillips, a Georgian, promoted this benign view of slavery in the early twentieth century. Opposing the Emancipation Proclamation, Jefferson Davis called the slaves “peaceful and contented laborers.”. “The panic of the slaveholders at the slightest hint of slave insurrection revealed what lay beneath their endless self-congratulation over the supposed docility, contentment, and loyalty of their slaves.” One of the few actual revolts was Nat Turner’s 1831 rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. . If he had no worthwhile interest at stake in slavery, if his real interest ran the other way about, he did nevertheless have that, to him, dear treasure of his superiority as a white man, which had been conferred on him by slavery; and so was as determined to keep the black man in chains, saw in the offensive of the Yankee [abolitionism] as great a danger to himself, as the angriest planter.”. The scheme was assisted by abolitionists and others sympathetic to the cause of the escapees. The argument is essentially that the war was unnecessary or could not have been about slavery because slavery was on the cusp of extinction without a war. Relevance. Two justice systems developed side by side in the South: a formal one and an extralegal system of plantation justice. Slavery in the immediate ante bellum years was, therefore, an economically viable institution in virtually all areas of the South as long as slaves could be expeditiously and economically transferred from one sector to another. The masters’ wives had to ignore the mixed-race children and dared not confront their husbands about the obvious sexual misconduct.36 Masters seemed to compensate for their sexual relations with slaves by elevating their wives onto a high pedestal honoring Pure Southern Womanhood. The fugitive slave Harriet Jacobs reported that she was constantly sexually threatened by her master and added that white men preyed on female slaves so often that “if God has bestowed beauty upon her, it will prove her greatest curse.” The ex-slave Henry Bibb observed the sexual activities of slave-owners: “I have long thought from what has fallen under my own observation while a slave, that the strongest reason why southerners stick with such tenacity to their ‘peculiar institution,’ is because licentious white men could not carry out their wicked purposes among the defenseless colored population as they now do, without being exposed and punished by law, if slavery was abolished. How did the question of slavery cause growing tensions before the Civil War? . B. Slavery allowed people of all classes to get jobs and make money. 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