From: Jennifer Shaub
Time: 10:14:30 PM
Remote Name: 220.127.116.11
Jennifer Shaub Weekly Report 4/3/00
Slavery played an interesting role in the American economy, particularly in the South, during the 19th century. The South, especially the 'Cotton Kingdom', depended heavily on slave labor, which differd from that of the Lower South The North did not depend on forced labor for a successful economy, because they relied more on industry and hired lower class whites for cheap labor. The Upper South, which included Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky, was moving away from the one-crop plantation system. Interestingly however, such changes and improvements were financed by selling surplus slaves to the lower south states. "The economic effect was clear: the natural increase of their slaves beyond what the planters needed for their operations provided them with a crucial source of capital in a period of transition and innovation and, as a result, encouraged the export of surplus slaves from the upper South to the Deep South" (Divine 383). Some historians believe that the most important 'crop' produced in the upper South was human beings. The profit made from selling their slaves was then applied to urban and industrial development, which proved to be more profitable than the Deep South's plantation economy. The Deep South, on the other hand, had an environment suited for agriculture. By 1850 three-fourths of the world's supply of cotton came from the Deep South. Along with the rise in the Cotton Kingdom came the increase in huge plantations and forced labor. "In the seven cotton-producing states of the lower South, slaves constituted close to half of the total population and were responsible for producing 90 percent of the cotton and almost all of the rice and sugar" (Divine 382). Many planters during the nineteenth century relied heavily on slavery. Their forced labor was able to carry out the grueling tasks involved in cotton cultivation, and the wealthy plantation owners were able to live happily off the profits of the cash crop. Small farm owners were able to sell their slaves, if times got tough or sell their lands and have their slaves cultivate new lands. Southerners during the nineteenth century were not economically independent. They relied on Africans for slave labor and Northerners for capitol, marketing, manufactured goods. Without these two elements, the South would have been forced to prosper under extremely different circumstances.