APUSH- Chapter 11: Cotton, Slavery & the Old South, Terms and Review- KEY
Terms to Know: Define these terms and demonstrate why each person, event,
concept, or issue is important. Include page numbers please!
1. King Cotton = (Pg. 298 – 299) Short-staple cotton; hardier and coarser strain of cotton
that could grow successfully in a variety of climates and in a variety of soils. Harder to
get seeds out, but easy after the invention of the cotton gin. Spread rapidly in/after the
1820s, and by 1850s it was the basis for the southern economy. By the time of the Civil
War, cotton totaled nearly 2/3 of all US exports
2. Deep South = (Pg. 299) Area that had been known as the “lower south;” the new
southwestern states –Western areas of SC & GA, and then further west into AL, AK, MS,
LA, TX & AR. Many people called it “Cotton Kingdom.” Between 1820 & 1860, number of
slaves in that area dramatically increased.
a. Economy of the South = not industrial; nonfarm commercial sector. Had people
to meet the farmers’ needs: crop brokers, lawyers, doctors, small-scale
manufacturers. South remained unconnected to national railroad/ roads/ canals
in other states.
3. De Bow’s Review = (Pg.300 – 301) Published by James B. D. De Bow from New Orleans;
most prominent advocate of southern economic independence (commercial &
agricultural expansion). 1846 until 1860. Warned of the dangers of being dependent on
the north (“colonial vassalage”). Yet, the magazine itself was published in the north.
4. Colonial dependency = (Pg. 301 – 302) South’s concern that they were dependent on
the North, though little was done to try and build up an economy to challenge the
a. Why didn’t the region develop an industrial/ commercial economy of its own?
Why did it remain so different from the North? Profits of agriculture, too much
money invested in land and slaves so they didn’t have extra to spend, climate
not suitable for factories, lack of work ethic, southern values that didn’t want
cities or industry to grow.
5. Cavalier myth = (Pg. 302) Many white southerners wanted to think of themselves as
having a special way of life: one based on traditional values of chivalry, leisure and
elegance. “Cavaliers” were people happily free from the base, acquisitive instincts of the
“Yankees” to their north. Southerners were more concerned with a refined and gracious
way of life than with rapid growth and development. Concept of longstanding- landed
aristocracy was also a myth.
6. Planter aristocracy = (Pg. 302) Cotton magnates, the sugar/rice/tobacco nabobs, the
whites who owned at least 40 or 50 slaves and 800 or more acres who controlled
society; determined its political, economic & social life. Liked to compare themselves to
the upper classes of England/Europe; yet they were constantly moving to better
farmland, most lived modestly, and they had to keep a close watch on their crops,
otherwise they’d lose their investment.
7. Southern honor = (Pg. 303) Males developed an elaborate code of chivalry, which
obligated them to defend their honor, often through dueling. Valued courtesy and
respect when dealing with other white males. White wanted to portray a public
appearance of dignity and authority. Important to avenge insults, especially insults to
white southern women.
a. Preston Brooks (SC) v. Charles Sumner (MA) = Brooks was seen as a savage in
the North & a hero in the South.
8. “Genteel” Southern women = (Pg. 304 – 305) Affluent white women: lives centered in
the home caring for/ representing the family. It was very rare that they’d engage in
public activities or find a job outside the home. The “cult of honor” meant that southern
white men were even more dominant over women than in the north.
a. George Fitzhugh: “Women have but one right, the right to protection...which
involves the obligation to obey.”
b. Life depended on social status: Vast majority of women lived on farms, virtually
isolated from the outside “public” world. Women on small farms did spinning,
weaving, and agricultural tasks. On larger plantations, the “plantation mistress”
became more of a trophy wife for her husband.
c. Burdens: ¼ of women over 20 were completely illiterate with the vast majority
of the rest barely knowing how to read/write (taught how to be suitable wives).
Southern white birth rate was 20% higher than the nation & infant mortality
rate was higher as well [nearly 50% died before age 5]. Husband’s infidelity with
i. Only a few rebelled and became abolitionists or spoke out against the
southern way of life.
9. “Plain folk” = (Pg. 305 – 306) The typical southerner, who was a modest yeoman
farmer. Owned a few slaves; worked & lived closer with them than large planters. Most
(3/4) of all white families didn’t own any slaves. Most owned their own land and were
mainly subsistence farmers. Had limited educational opportunities, many were illiterate.
a. “Hill people” = backcountry, Hillbillies. Most isolated from the mainstream
southern life. Did rebel a little against plantation system. Didn’t own slaves, had
little access to money, were subsistence farmers.
b. Plain folk had close kinship/ ties to the plantation aristocracy
10. Patriarchal society = (Pg. 306) Male-dominated family structure/society. Household-
centered economies that required everyone’s participation. Men were the
unquestioned masters of their homes; women and children (family & work force) were
under the master’s control. During the 1840s-1860s, seems that an assault on one
hierarchical system (slavery) would open the way to an assault on another system
11. “Peculiar Institution” = (Pg. 307) What many of the whites called slavery. It wasn’t odd,
just distinctive/ unique. The south was the only area in the western world where slavery
still existed. Slavery isolated the South from the rest of America. Isolated blacks
(creating their culture) yet created a unique bond between blacks & whites (masters &
12. Slave codes = (Pg. 307) Forbade slaves to hold property, leave their masters’ premises
without permission, be out after dark, congregate with other slaves (except at church),
carry firearms, or strike a white person for any reason. Whites were not allowed to
teach slaves to read or write and denied slaves the right to testify in court against white
people. Slave marriages were not legal. Masters could kill a slave and it wasn’t a crime,
yet if a slave killed/ or resisted a white person he could face death. Anyone with a trace
of black blood in them was “black.”
a. Laws were not always enforced & punishment was usually up to masters. Slaves
13. House slaves & field slaves = (Pg. 308 – 309) Field slaves had a tough life. Task & Gang
Systems for the work force. Punished harshly by overseers/ head drivers. Yet,
sometimes owners used Irish/ day laborers for difficult & cheap labor to protect their
investment. House slaves had a somewhat physically easier life: nursemaids,
housemaids, cooks, butlers, and coachmen. Lived close to the master’s family yet were
isolated from other blacks. Women were very vulnerable to sexual abuse.
14. Urban slavery = (Pg. 309 – 310) Slaves were more “free” in the cities; able to move
about during the day with little supervision, could mingle with free blacks & whites.
Masters hired out slaves for various tasks. Eventually slavery & the city didn’t mesh:
most males were sold to country masters & women outnumbered those that remained.
City also had more white men than women, which resulted in many mulatto births.
15. Free African Americans = (Pg. 310 – 312) About 250,000 free blacks in the South before
the Civil War, more than half of them in VA & MD. Some bought their freedom due to
skill they have (Elizabeth Keckley) or freed by owner’s will. Increasing numbers of free
blacks in south scared white society, so from 1830s on state laws governing slavery
became more rigid. In some states it was nearly impossible to “manumit” (free) slaves.
Most lived in abject poverty.
16. Domestic & foreign slave trade = (Pg. 312) Traders transported slaves over long
distances to a central market (Natchez, New Orleans, Mobile). Essential to the growth
and prosperity of the whole system. Many families were broken up. Foreign trade was
worse. From 1808, importation of slaves was banned, but they were smuggled in into
17. “Sambo” stereotype = (Pg. 313) The shuffling, grinning, head-scratching, deferential
slave who acted out the role that he recognized the white world expected of him. A
charade blacks put on in front of blacks.
18. Gabriel Prosser = (Pg. 313) In 1800, he gathered 1,000 rebellious slaves outside
Richmond; but 2 blacks gave the plot away, and the VA militia stopped the uprising
before it could begin. Prosser and 35 others were executed.
19. Denmark Vesey = (Pg. 313) Freed black from Charleston. In 1822, he & his followers,
about 9,000, made preparations for revolt; but word leaked out, and suppression and
20. Nat Turner = (Pg. 313) Slave preacher. In 1831, he led a band of blacks who armed
themselves with guns and axes and went from house to house in Southampton Coutny,
VA. They killed 60 white men, women and children before being overpowered by state
and federal troops. More than 100 blacks were executed. Only large-scale slave
insurrection in the 19th century South.
Chapter Objectives: After Reading the Chapter you should be able to discuss following:
The significance of the shift of economic power from the “upper South” to the “lower
How cotton became “king” and the role it played in shaping the “Southern way of life.”
How trade and industry functioned under the Southern agricultural system.
The structure of Southern society and the role of an enslaved people in that society.
The place of the South, with its increasing reliance on King Cotton, in the nation’s
The continuing historical debate over the South, its “peculiar institution,” and the
effects of enslavement on blacks.
Discussion Questions: As a class we will discuss the following concepts
Discuss the ramifications the following quote had on the Southern woman: “Women,
like children, have but one right, and that is the right to protection. The right to
protection involves the obligation to obey.”
Why did the South do so little to develop an industrial and commercial economy of its
own? Why did it become so different from the North?
Why, when so few people owned slaves, did the entire South support the institution of
What were the differences between freed black men in the North and the South?
Free Response Questions: Choose ONE of the following and write a short response.
1. Dr. Brinkley quotes a prominent historian who wrote, “The South grew, but it did not
develop.” Assess the validity of this statement for the years between 1800 and 1860.
2. “Slavery dominated every political, social, and economic aspect of Southern life.” Assess
the validity of this statement.
3. Given the fact that ¾ of Southern whites did not own slaves, why did virtually all of
them support slavery as an institution?
Sample Multiple Choice Questions
1. The historian who wrote “The South grew, but did not develop” prior to the Civil War meant
A. the Southern population increased but new technology had bypassed the region.
B. agriculture remained the leading industry of the south but the plantation system was
C. the South had failed to move from an agrarian to an industrial economy. (Pg. 297)
D. the South had expanded as a geographic region but had developed little prosperity.
E. the South had created a prosperous plantation system but had not expanded its borders.
2. Prior to 1860, the center of economic power in the South
A. was in Charleston, S.C.
B. remained as it had been primarily within the upper South.
C. remained as it had been primarily within the lower South.
D. shifted from the lower South to the upper South.
E. shifted from the upper South to the lower South. (Pg. 298)
3. Tobacco cultivation in the antebellum South
A. was easy on the soil.
B. was gradually moving westward. (Pg. 298)
C. enjoyed a stable market.
D. was centered in the lower South.
E. never made a profit.
4. Rice and sugar production in the antebellum South
A. had short growing seasons.
B. were concentrated in a relatively small geographic area. (Pg. 298)
C. had difficulty sustaining profits for growers.
D. was in considerable decline by the 1850s.
E. threatened to overwhelm cotton production in the lower South.
5. Short-staple cotton
A. helped to keep the South a predominantly agricultural region. (Pg. 298)
B. was less coarse than long-staple cotton.
C. was easier to process than long-staple cotton.
D. was more susceptible to disease than long-grain cotton.
E. was only grown in the coastal regions of the upper South.