Chapter

The Democratization of Slavery, 1820–1860

Watson W. Jennison

in Cultivating Race

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780813134260
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813135984 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813134260.003.0008
The Democratization of Slavery, 1820–1860

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Chapter 7 examines the expansion of slavery in the Georgia interior. The rise of the cotton kingdom transformed life for blacks and whites in the antebellum era, collapsing distinctions among the former and opening up opportunities for the latter. Slaves in Georgia's cotton belt found themselves relegated to the harshest and most menial types of labor under the gang system. At the same time, cotton cultivation provided white men opportunities for social and economic mobility that were not possible in the lowcountry. In urban areas of the upcountry, nonelite white workers used their political and demographic strength to compel politicians to enact laws that limited their competition with slave laborers. The result was the creation of slave society that deviated in fundamental ways from its lowcountry counterpart.

Keywords: slavery; cotton; gang labor; urban; white workers; government; laws; mobility

Chapter.  22029 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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