Slavery in colonial and antebellum periods

Reconstruction in Practice Slavery, the Economy, and Society At the time of the American revolution, slavery was a national institution; although the number of slaves was small, they lived and worked in every colony.

Slavery in colonial and antebellum periods

Resource Bank Contents By slavery was primarily located in the South, where it existed in many different forms. African Americans were enslaved on small farms, large plantations, in cities and towns, inside homes, out in the fields, and in industry and transportation.

Though slavery had such a wide variety of faces, the underlying concepts were always the same. Slaves were considered property, and they were property because they were black. Their status as property was enforced by violence -- actual or threatened.

People, black and white, lived together within these parameters, and their lives together took many forms. Enslaved African Americans could never forget their status as property, no matter how well their owners treated them.

But it would be too simplistic to say that all masters and slaves hated each other. Human beings who live and work together are bound to form relationships of some kind, and some masters and slaves genuinely cared for each other.

But the caring was tempered and limited by the power imbalance under which it grew. Within the narrow confines of slavery, human relationships ran the gamut from compassionate to contemptuous.

But the masters and slaves never approached equality. The standard image of Southern slavery is that of a large plantation with hundreds of slaves.

In fact, such situations were rare. Whites who did not own slaves were primarily yeoman farmers. Practically speaking, the institution of slavery did not help these people.

And yet most non-slaveholding white Southerners identified with and defended the institution of slavery.

Slavery in colonial and antebellum periods

Though many resented the wealth and power of the large slaveholders, they aspired to own slaves themselves and to join the priviledged ranks.

In addition, slavery gave the farmers a group of people to feel superior to. They may have been poor, but they were not slaves, and they were not black. They gained a sense of power simply by being white.


In the lower South the majority of slaves lived and worked on cotton plantations. Most of these plantations had fifty or fewer slaves, although the largest plantations have several hundred.

Cotton was by far the leading cash crop, but slaves also raised rice, corn, sugarcane, and tobacco. Many plantations raised several different kinds of crops. Besides planting and harvesting, there were numerous other types of labor required on plantations and farms.

Slavery in colonial and antebellum periods

Enslaved people had to clear new land, dig ditches, cut and haul wood, slaughter livestock, and make repairs to buildings and tools. In many instances, they worked as mechanics, blacksmiths, drivers, carpenters, and in other skilled trades.

Black women carried the additional burden of caring for their families by cooking and taking care of the children, as well as spinning, weaving, and sewing. Some slaves worked as domestics, providing services for the master's or overseer's families. These people were designated as "house servants," and though their work appeared to be easier than that of the "field slaves," in some ways it was not.Slaves, who made up a large part, if not the majority, of Georgia's workers before the Civil War, labored in the plantation fields and homes.

They built the region's early infrastructure, developed important farming techniques and . Questions about slavery in the Bible are completely valid, especially because the term almost always conjures up images of the type of slavery practiced in the colonial/antebellum periods of American history.

From plantation journals, estate accounts, diaries and slave lists, scholars have reconstructed black family life, religious culture, work patterns, and social structure from primary source materials from the era of slavery that were authored by those other than slaves themselves.

Free blacks in the antebellum period were quite outspoken about the injustice of slavery. The history of the Southern United States reaches back hundreds of years and includes the Mississippian people, well known for their mound building.

European history in the region began in the very earliest days of the exploration and colonization of North America.

 Antebellum Period Your Name here A research study on slavery of African American during Antebellum Era African American Studies 15 November, Antebellum (in Latin is pre-war) period () is an era of great upheaval and turbulence.

Slavery in Colonial and Antebellum Periods - New York Essays