outhThe American South, had a socialsystem which was distinct in many ways. There was an economy relative to theregion, where class structure and a system of racial differences which causedthe South to become unique to the rest of the nation.
Historians such as JamesHenretta have said that Capitalism was the cause of all evil within the AmericanSouth. American Capitalism defined by Max Weber is a greed for gain, andacquisition by force, … whether directly in war or in the form of exploitationof subjects. This type of lifestyle within a growing nation could not workwith the gentry class which was moving into the region unless there was peopleto do the work on the farms for them.
At first there were indentured servants,but this system of work only worked for a limited time as these servants wouldwork their time of servitude and then leave on their own. The American farmerin the south needed more control on their workers and needed to know that they( the workers ) werent going to just leaveand start up their own farm forthemselves. Thus the manipulation of slave labor became the answer for capitalism,and from the use of black slave labor, tension began to rise between the slavesbrought from Africa, and the land holders of the South. Tension betweenSlaves and land owners have been strong in the South for many years, and onemight say that the cause of it is the ways of which the Black slaves of plantationsand farms were treated.
The founders of the Carolina colonies were not onlyinterested in the use of slaves in the solution of their labor problems oftoo much work not enough workers, but they had a very big material interest.The use of slave labor, was a coerced, cash-crop system of labor from whichslavery became an economic necessity because for a person who owned land theyneeded workers, and these workers were predominantly Negro slaves brought insold from Africa. To southern colonists, slavery was first an economic institutionsolely for the purpose of solving an economic problem, that problem – workcost too much money so the colonists implemented forced labor for economicgain. So slavery provided the basis for a special Southern economic and sociallife which had continued on until the Civil war.
The special economic lifewhich the people of the South lived upon was one of greed for expansion andgain. Capitalism at its best, and the Southern colonies were very good at it.Lewis C. Gray defined the southern plantation as a capitalistic type of agriculturalorganization in which a considerable number of unfree laborers were employedunder a unified direction and control in the production of a staple crop.The plantations were mostly one crop oriented, cotton or tobacco, and thislead to cash crops rather than supplying for the colonies themselves. The plantationgentry or Masters as they were called by the slaves, never thought of the bigpicture involving cash crops, only their own well being and how much moneythey were going to make whether physical force was used or not. Slavery andthe plantation system led to agricultural methods that depleted soils and theslavery system forced the South to exploit more slave labor as a means of betterproduction rather than the realization of worn-out lands.
Such a labor systemin the South aggravated and caused very deep problems between the Master andhis slaves.Slavery established the basis of the planters position and power.It measured his affluence, marked his status, and supplied leisure for socialgraces and aristocratic duties.The road of power in the South lay throughthe plantation and the Master would see to it that his or her plantation bethe best. Great planters held enormous power in the southern colonies, theyspent much of their free time in leisure, educational pursuits, and participationin public life; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both were within thisgroup of people.
Most planters were also very active entrepreneurs, who wouldengage in quick profit type situations which would help them make more moneyon top of the plantation profits made for them by their slaves. Although theirmain means of money and profit was the forced labor unit of slavery on theplantations, these other quick scheme ideas forced planters into believingthat slave holding was more profitable. Therefore an increase in the amountof slaves doing work on plantations was evident due to its profitabilityfor planters and farmers and the control on labor. Controlling laborin the South, became an entity upon which no plantation could survive without.
The Southern Master had many slaves who he expected to do enormous amountsof work all for the Masters gain. Consequently a capitalistic lifestyle hadabsorbed and encouraged slavery. The resultant fortunes for which Plantersand Farmers had flow into their pockets, was because of slavery and slave-holding.A small commercial bourgeoisie was created from slavery and the ideology ofcapitalism was the root of construction.
Perhaps if it werent for capitalismand the expansion by British gentry slavery caused by capitalism would neverhave happened.Category: History